Daily dose

Daily dose: Racism 101 edition

UNC discusses renaming hall named for purported KKK leader (AP) — Trustees at the University of North Carolina are hearing opinions on whether to change the name of Saunders Hall - a building named for a confederate colonel who purportedly was an organizer of the Ku Klux Klan in the state.

Duke University investigates report of racist comments (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Duke University is investigating a report that a person on campus, in the presence of a black female student, last weekend sang a racist chant that was the same as the one recited on a video that resulted in the recent closing of a fraternity chapter at University of Oklahoma.

Daily dose: McCrory inks up Veto stamp version


McCrory slams Senate sales tax bill (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory came out strongly opposed to the Senate’s sales tax redistribution plan on Wednesday, saying it “will cause great harm to the economic engines of this state.” “It will raise taxes on millions of citizens and job-creators throughout the state. We cannot afford to have this bill passed in North Carolina. It will cause harm. It will also decimate the travel and tourism industry in the west, in our cities, and on the coastal beach areas that are dependent upon sales tax revenue, because they’ve made the investment in the infrastructure to bring travel and tourism to their towns.”

Daily dose: McHenry's S&M fetish edition

McHenry, Scalise Go Forward, Move Ahead With ‘Whip It Good’ PAC (Roll Call) -- When the House Freedom Caucus comes along, you must whip it. When a close vote’s held open on the floor too long, you must whip it. Whip it good. These might not be the actual words to the infamous 1980 masterpiece by Devo, but GOP Reps. Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina and Steve Scalise are welcome to borrow from HOH’s mediocre parody lyrics when touting their new fundraising operation, which is named for the song’s seminal refrain. Over the weekend, the majority whip and chief deputy whip launched a joint political action committee called “Whip It Good,” which will raise money for their respective congressional campaigns and leadership PACs.

Daily dose: Taking Tata to the woodshed edition


Fox's Gen. Tony Tata (Raleigh News & Observer) -- N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata has cashed in trading on his status as a retired Army brigadier general. Despite no significant experience in education, Tata was hired as superintendent of Wake County schools. That didn’t end well. Tata gained a reputation for bullying staff and couldn’t get the buses to run on time and left with $250,000 in severance pay. Soon after he landed his current post. Upon announcing Tata’s appointment, Gov. Pat McCrory said that despite Tata’s lack of experience with state transportation issues, he had run complex operations as a general. Tata is working his one-star again on FOX News. The public learned all it needed to know about Tata’s judgment of military leadership when he publicly declared that Sarah Palin would be a better commander-in-chief than Barack Obama.

Daily dose: Pledging racism and misogyny edition

N.C. State Suspends Fraternity for Offensive Notebook (Inside Higher Ed) – N.C. State University has suspended the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and banned alcohol at fraternity events (except those of historically black fraternities) after the discovery of what appears to be a "pledge notebook" with offensive statements. Among the quotations in the notebook: “if she’s hot enough, she doesn’t need a pulse” and “that tree is so perfect for lynching.” A man who answered the phone at the fraternity house referred questions to the national fraternity office, which issued this statement: “These statements are inconsistent with the values of Pi Kappa Phi and will not be tolerated.”

Daily dose: Part-time Tata strikes again edition

NC Transportation Secretary blasts Iran talks (Raleigh News & Observer) -- N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata, who recently faced criticism for taking to the book tour trail outside of the state while North Carolina was facing major snow and ice storms, is back on national TV – this time Fox News -- criticizing President Barack Obama’s nuclear talks with Iran. Tata, who’s become a regular commentator on Sean Hannity’s show, said he doesn’t think the United States should be in negotiations with Iran. When Perry Woods – who’s worked on campaigns for Raleigh city councilors and Wake County school board members offered up an opinion and told him to “focus on your day job,” Tata, who has benefitted from a series of GOP political appointments since retiring from the U.S. Army, called Woods a “radical left pol hack” who “hates freedom of speech.”

Daily dose: GOP fishing expedition version


GOP requests 14 years of records from Attorney General Roy (Raleigh News & Observer) -- In five detailed requests, one for each day of “Sunshine Week,” the N.C. Republican Party asked for every email, Twitter, Facebook post, and correspondence Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper and his senior staff sent or received in the past 14 years. It also asked for every Twitter and Facebook message, official appointment, expense report, official opinion and internal memo from the attorney general’s office since 2001. “We routinely get public records requests, including large ones, and consider fulfilling them to be a part of our jobs,” spokeswoman Noelle Talley said.

Daily dose: Art Pope shrugged edition

Ayn Rand comes to U.N.C. (The New Yorker) -- Republican politics in North Carolina are characterized by a tight interweaving of elected officials with think tanks and advocacy groups. At the center of this network is Art Pope, who funds the Pope Center for Higher Education as well as several other conservative think tanks. Pope, a discount-store magnate, with his family reportedly gave almost a quarter of a million dollars in support of N.C. Republican candidates in the 2010 election; advocacy groups with close ties to Pope gave more than $2 million to those candidates. (Jane Mayer wrote about Pope’s political activism for the magazine in 2011.) After Pope’s family donated a reported $219.000 to Republican candidates and political groups in 2012, and his companies gave a reported $450,000, contributing to the party’s takeover of the governorship and the state legislature, Pope served as co-chair of Gov. Pat McCrory’s transition team and then as his budget director. Pope, who has served as a board member of Americans for Prosperity, is also a link between North Carolina’s Republican Party and leading national conservatives

Daily dose: By the numbers edition

# 6 – Percent population change, 2002-2012
# 4 – (+34%) Change in number of high school graduates (2003-2013)
# 10 – Total population
# 12 -- Total personal income
# 39 -- Per capita personal income
# 28 -- Per capita state and local spending for prisons
# 34 -- Per capita state and local government income
# 10 – Public school enrollment
# 10 – Number of high school graduates
# 11 – Total public school teachers
# 23 – Teachers per public school students
# 43 -- Average school teacher salary (2012-2013)
# 47 -- Average school teacher salary (2013-2014)
# 41 -- Public school per-student spending (2012-2013)
# 47 -- Public school per-student spending (2013-2014)
# 51 -- Percent change in average teacher salary (2003-2013)
Adjusting for inflation, thirty-four states saw real declines in average teacher salaries over 2003-04 to 2013-14. States with average salaries declining 6.5 percent or more: North Carolina (-17.4%)
SOURCE: Ranking the States

Daily dose: Stuck between a landscaped rock and a hard drive edition

SEANC whistleblowers allege hard drive, files destroyed at agency (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Betty Jones and Art Anthony unloaded a few more allegations about financial activity at the State Employees Association of North Carolina. The two state employees who blew the whistle on financial improprieties at SEANC want the organization and its leaders to apologize for their attacks on the whistleblowers.


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