teddyrooseveltprogressive's blog

Hey, NC media outlets, what's going at in the NC DOT?

While no one was noticing, McCrory's hand-picked leader for the NC Department of Transportation, the controversial Tony Tata, reworked the formula for distributing funds for transportation projects around the state, shifting monies away from rural areas and guaranteed support for secondary roads.

Tata was profiled this month with kid gloves in the industry publication Government Technology, the only media outlet that's mentioned Tata's tenure in the job in much detail. There have been a couple of boneheaded goofs (here and here) by the NC DOT noted by BlueNC.

Lawsuit against state on tenure law; Teachers leaving Wake in "alarming numbers"

The Greensboro News and Record reports that a Superior Court Judge should be ruling early next week on whether the Guilford and Durham school districts can sue the State of NC over NC's teacher tenure law to exempt themselves from the provisions. The districts say the law violates the NC and US constitutions and implementing the law would leave the districts open to litigation.

Meanwhile, WRAL has a story on the release of "alarming" numbers of teachers leaving their jobs mid-year in Wake County - an increase of 40%. The story also looks at a teacher who has to work two part-time jobs - one as a custodian - just to make ends meet. "I don't wanna leave this profession, but there is not much motivation to stay," the teacher is quoted as saying.

Art Pope celebrates Tax Day

Art Pope, NC's Budget Director and purchaser of elections, editorializes in the latest News and Observer on how NC's tax reforms are a "benefit to working families".

We'll make a few observations and, first off, thank the News and Observer for publishing an editorial from the "horse's mouth", rather than one of the usual surrogates from Pope's Civitas or Locke Foundation stinktanks. However, we did notice this little tagline at the end of the PopeEd:

Art Pope is the state budget director and a former member of the N.C. House of Representatives.

Funny ... I didn't notice any disclaimer on Pope's piece, noting that he didn't speak for our state government, like other state employees have to do. Did Pope have to clear the op-ed with his boss like these other employees?

Well, let's see what the Popester has to say about tax reform:

Still think guns in bars are a good idea?

BlueNC readers might recall that our extremist legislature, always on the lookout to appease gun manufacturers, passed a law this past July allowing concealed handguns in bars and restaurants where alcohol is served and college campuses.

Apparently upset that he was unable to grope a stripper, a customer at Gaston's Leather and Lace strip club decided to exercise his 2nd amendment rights.

NC joined voter fraud program as other states were leaving it

Republicans generated headlines recently by declaring that "Interstate Crosscheck", a controversial voter data checking program run by conservative activist and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, had discovered massive voter fraud in NC's last election. Of course, it was all a bunch of bunk.

It turns out that two states - Florida and Oregon - left the program just about the time that the TeaBagger Republicans in the NC state legislature and Board of Elections signed us up. Oregon signed up to participate in ERIC instead, citing concerns over data from Interstate Crosscheck that was "unreliable".

Homeless Jesus statue in Davidson

A statue depicting Jesus as a homeless person sleeping on a bench recently installed at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, NC prompted a call to police, with a woman in the upscale neighborhood concerned for the safety of her neighbors.

The statue was purchased by a church member for $22,000 as a memorial to a former parishioner, Kate McIntyre, who had loved public art.

The statue had previously been turned down by St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.

Not everyone in the neighborhood is enamored with the work of art, with Swannock saying, “Jesus is not a vagrant, Jesus is not a helpless person who needs our help. We need someone who is capable of meeting our needs, not someone who is also needy.”

Others, such as Ellen Donaldson, say that the statue gives her peace.

Robot Pat McCrory to unspool software tapes on wiring the mountains at Moogfest

Governor McCrory will have an opportunity to look remarkably unhip and out of touch when he kicks off this year's Moogfest in Asheville.

No, this isn't a joke.

Moogfest, a multi-day festival that includes workshops and panels on experimental electronic music and concerts by headliners such as Kraftwerk and the Pet Shop Boys, will kick off April 23rd with a panel discussion on "Wiring Silicon Mountain: Nurturing Innovation Through Technology in Western North Carolina". The panelists will include McCrory, Asheville mayor Esther Mannheimer, Hickory mayor Rudy White and others.

ACLU suing for immediate action to end Amendment One; Cooper has no immediate comment

Several news outlets are reporting that the North Carolina ACLU is suing to for immediate action to overturn Amendment One. The action is being taken on behalf of gay couples in ill health and is similar to ruling last week in Ohio.

Given the health issues affecting the North Carolina couples, that’s too long to wait, said Chris Brook, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, which helped file a motion Wednesday calling for quick court action.

“While we are exceptionally encouraged and heartened by the Virginia case, there’s no set timeline on when the Fourth Circuit could rule,” Brook said.

“These couples are being harmed now. That’s why we’re filing. We believe their marriages should be recognized today. Not in a few months. Not in a few years. That may be too late.”

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