Weekend Wound-Up

MADISON "KINKY" CAWTHORN TRIES TO DOWNPLAY LINGERIE PHOTOS: U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn has defended photos published of him wearing women’s lingerie, saying they were taken while he was playing a game on a cruise ship before he ran for office. “I guess the left thinks goofy vacation photos during a game on a cruise (taken waaay before I ran for Congress) is going to somehow hurt me?,” Cawthorn, 26, tweeted Friday. Charlotte Clymer, an LGBTQ rights activist, tweeted Friday night: “I don’t care that Madison Cawthorn likes to wear lingerie in his free time. It doesn’t bother me, and it doesn’t affect me. If he wants to be playful with gender expression, it’s his life. I do care that Madison Cawthorn attacks trans people and shames us for living our lives.” Also, when you're 26, nothing could have happened "Waaay before" anything, in your adult life, anyway. But as Charlotte alluded to, it's the hypocrisy, not the attire, that is at issue here.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article260682662.html

AG Stein should steer clear of Texas AG Paxton

Today’s headlines paint a dismal picture of American politics. Divisions are apparent across the country, including here in North Carolina. But candidly, for those of us who truly care about preserving civil liberties, that response is justified. Partisan officials across the country, particularly in Texas, are driving an anti-trans, anti-choice, and anti-education agenda that only services to drive us further apart.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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END THE COURTROOM DELAY TACTICS. FUND EDUCATION EQUITY ORDER NOW: Twenty-eight years. Countless hours of courtroom hearings and debates. Thousands of pages of legal pleadings. Mounds of data. Two landmark North Carolina Supreme Court decisions. What does it take to get a government -- that is supposed to represent the people; one where elected officials in the three branches of government take oaths to uphold the State Constitution -- to fulfill that Constitution’s promise of access to a sound, quality education for every child? Significant pluralities agree with the courts determination that the state isn’t living up to its Constitutional duty according to the latest WRAL-TV poll – 50% of those who say they voted for Donald Trump; 51% of rural voters and even 45% of Republicans. Sixty-two percent of North Carolinians say public schools are under funded including 59% of Republicans and 63% of rural voters. Additionally, 66% of North Carolinians say teachers are underpaid – including 66% of Republicans. For too long, access to a quality education had depended on where you lived and who your parents were. That is NOT what North Carolina’s Constitution intended. If state revenues were suffering or even stagnant Republicans might have an excuse for delays, but it's just the opposite. They're sitting on billions in surplus, revenues already collected. They could fully fund Leandro and *still* have a healthy rainy-day fund, but children don't make campaign contributions. That's the problem in a nutshell.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-end-the-courtroom-delay-tactics-fund-education-equity-order-now/20236...

Biden administration to tighten rules on grants to charter schools

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Choice goes both ways, especially where taxpayer dollars are concerned:

New grant rules proposed by the Biden Administration would require applicants to show that the number of charter schools “does not exceed the number of public schools needed to accommodate the demand in the community.” Other proposed changes to the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) include no longer giving grants to charters run by for-profit companies.

Charter schools are taxpayer-funded schools that are exempt from some of the rules that traditional public schools must follow, such as having 100% licensed teachers and participating in the National School Lunch program. There are more than 200 charter schools in North Carolina. More than 60 charter schools have received a share of the $36.6 million in CSP grant funds given to the state.

Since the cap on charter schools was removed when Republicans took over the NC General Assembly, the number of these schools in the state has doubled. There are also currently 783 private schools in NC, 2/3 of them religious in nature. Combined that's approaching the 1,000 mark. If that were 10 per county, wouldn't be such a big deal. But it isn't. Wake County has 24 charter schools and 87 private schools, pulling students and resources from the 171 traditional public schools. 8 of the 41 new private schools NC added in 2021 are in Wake County. Suffice it to say the "school choice" movement is out of control in North Carolina. Back to the Biden rule change, and the GOP's predictable reaction:

Fund Leandro now

From WRAL:

Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore need to tell Judge Robinson now that they intend, when the legislature reconvenes May 4, to introduce and move legislation to assure implementation of the Comprehensive Remedial Plan, as Judge David Lee ordered and provide all the funding necessary to do it. There’s enough money in the state coffers to do that – and more.

This will put the legislature on the side of the law – obeying a proper court order.

This will put the legislature on the side of the people it represents – supporting quality public schools.

Again.

Next week, on April 20, North Carolina will once again have the chance to confront its breathtaking hypocrisy. Our state has not yet made cannabis legal, either for medical or recreational use. Instead of bringing in millions of dollars of tax benefits from the sale of pot, instead of reinvigorating our agricultural economy, we'll continue to spend millions to bolster discriminatory policies, including the spectacular failure known as the War on Drugs. Our legislature, who so often touts "freedom" as a core value, continues to ignore science, economics, and personal liberty in favor of "father knows best." It's a sickening display.

To kick off a week focusing on the urgency of legalizing marijuana, here's some of my personal story:

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