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Congress Reaches a Budget Deal and Conservatives Already Hate It
The Ryan-Murray budget deal would frontload spending and spread out deficit reduction--the plan economists want and conservatives despise.
By Patrick Caldwell Dec. 10, 2013 Mother Jones
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have spent the past several weeks huddled with their staffs in budget negotiations, and Tuesday evening they emerged with the impossible: a deal to keep the government open and avoid another shutdown when current funding expires next month. Their proposal will replace part of sequestration...for the next two years....
Why were conservatives so preemptively outraged? ...Basically, the proposed deal front loads spending that ameliorates the draconian sequester while pushing much of the deficit reduction off until later... That's exactly what liberal economists have called for since the start of the recession: the government should pump more money into the economy while it is still in the doldrums and save deficit reductions for the future when the country will, presumably, be on more stable footing. read article
Demonstration targets state budget director Pope
Dec. 09, 2013 by Laura Oleniacz Herald-Sun
DURHAM — Under a light rain, about 30 people stood near a Roses store off N.C. 54 on Monday to demonstrate against the discount store company’s CEO for his role in state politics.
“We’re really concerned with Art Pope’s extremist policies; we want people to know that this guy who owns Roses and Maxway and other stores has such influence on N.C. politics,” said Adam Sotak, organizing director of Democracy North Carolina, a nonprofit group that participated in the demonstration. Organized by Democracy NC, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People of North Carolina and other groups, the picket is planned to be part of a series of demonstrations staged near Roses and Maxway locations... “The picketers are not calling for a boycott of Art Pope-owned stores... The purpose is to inform the communities surrounding these stores...about the ways that Art Pope uses his money to hurt the very people who work and shop at his stores.” read article
Organize a Picket Near You!
From Democracy NC:
Art Pope literally depends on the black community to finance his political operation; African-American shoppers at his stores supply a large share of his income, which he then uses to promote policies that keep them too poor to shop elsewhere. In reality, he’s a poverty creator more than a job creator
Contact us here
if you are interested in organizing a picket yourself and we will send you a local organizer’s kit and help with local media outreach and publicity.
Art Pope 2-page printable flyer
Handout: Overview of Art Pope & His Network
White House calls for North Carolina to expand Medicaid
By Mark Binker WRAL Dec. 9, 2013
The Obama administration is pressuring North Carolina to expand its Medicaid health insurance program for the poor and disabled... "This is actually a net budgetary benefit to those states that choose to expand Medicaid," said Josh Earnest, principal deputy press secretary for President Barack Obama....
A spokeswoman for McCrory said Monday that the governor has not changed his position. Lawmakers have shown no signs of reversing course.
Earnest pointed out that other states with Republican governors, including Arizona and Ohio, have embraced expansion. "Too often, we see partisan politics get in the way of good decision-making," Earnest said. "I'm not sure there is another explanation." read article
Tell Amazon, McDonald’s and other former ALEC funders: Don’t go back to ALEC.
Sign the Petition
Dec. 9, 2013 --The Guardian just published an explosive expose that shows the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (a.k.a. “ALEC”) is reeling from our campaign against them and now faces a funding crisis. This is a result of the mass defections of corporate sponsors who were targeted by CREDO, Daily Kos and other progressive allies... But according to documents leaked to the Guardian, ALEC is fighting back. The organization, which promotes right-wing legislation at the state level, has launched an initiative called the “Prodigal Son Project” to bring more than 40 of these corporate donors back into the fold. Join CREDO and Daily Kos to tell Amazon, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Kraft, McDonald’s and other former ALEC funders: Don’t go back to ALEC.
ALEC documents show strong ties to NC lawmakers
BY JOHN FRANK News & Observer Dec. 5, 2013
A business-backed, limited-government group that counts House Speaker Thom Tillis as a leader is exerting increasing influence in North Carolina, according to newly disclosed records.
The American Legislative Exchange Council counted 54 out of 170 North Carolina lawmakers as members through June, or roughly one-third of the General Assembly. The state is one of only seven to increase membership more than 40 percent. The numbers are highlighted in new internal ALEC documents, obtained and published by the British newspaper The Guardian, that shed new light on the organization’s presence in the state. read article
Obama's inequality speech: telling the progressive story of American history
Ian Reifowitz The Daily Kos DEC 05, 2013
Barack Obama knows how to tell a story. .. His American history narratives have long centered on two purposes. The first is to encourage Americans across every possible group line to recognize one another as being part of a single community of Americans based on our shared membership in the civic nation... The second ...is to emphasize the long-standing roots—as well as the moral superiority and greater effectiveness—of a common good-centered, progressive economic philosophy...
Obama ...noted the impact of globalization on our economy, but then specifically highlighted the crucial role of right-wing economic thinking—calling out Reaganite "trickle-down ideology" on taxes and on the lack of commitment to invest in our country's resources—in moving us away from the path on which we'd been traveling for over a century thanks to progressives in both parties. This is the kind of historical narrative that people can connect with. read article
Tell Your Legislators: Stop Funding Discriminatory Schools
12-5-2013 --Last week, we hosted a press conference in Wilmington that garnered widespread media attention around Myrtle Grove Christian School's anti-gay enrollment policies and prompted public scrutiny of a new state program that could use your taxpayer dollars to fund these types of discriminatory schools starting in 2014.
In response, over 700 North Carolinians have already answered our call to action -- contacting their legislators to demand that not one dollar of their money go to schools with exclusionary policies.
But we can't stop now. We need to turn those initial hundreds into thousands of voices.
Use this form to email your legislators today and call on the General Assembly to exclude discriminatory schools from the taxpayer-funded Opportunity Scholarships Program.
It's a basic premise: we don't want our tax dollars distributed to discriminatory schools in our state. And it's time for our legislators to take notice and take action to stop it.
‘Why Buy Health Insurance When I Can Be Whisked Into the ER and Pay Later?’
By Steven Petrow Nov 14, 2013
...As Ronald Bayer, PhD, co-director of Columbia University’s ’s Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health, recently explained to me: “One reason the healthy person has to have health insurance is that if he gets sick, ...the ER is not going to turn the freeloader away – and we end up paying for you.”
That’s the dollars and cents answer. But what’s the perspective from the manners or ethics perspective? As Dr. Bayer told me: “...The only way [the health insurance system] works is if you have a population of largely health people subsidize those who are more likely to get sick.”
In short the breach here is terribly serious – it’s the breaking of the social contract. When you are young, you help defray the medical costs of those mid-life and older, with the knowledge that one day you’ll be wizened and look to the younger folks to subsidize you. Dr. Bayer added: “Because we cannot turn our back on you, we can’t allow you to be a freeloader.” read column
So it’s that simple, huh? Robert Reich debunks every anti-living wage argument in 2 minutes (watch video)
Pope stores picketed over right-wing activism
RACHEL MADDOW 12/02/13 MSNBC
Rev. William Barber, president of the N.C. NAACP, talks with Rachel Maddow about a picketing campaign against millionaire Republican activist Art Pope’s stores.
watch video with interview of Rev. Barbar
WTVD: Republican State Budget Director Art Pope and NC NAACP President William Barber debate on sidewalk 12/2/13
WRAL: Pope, Barber exchange words over money, politics 12/2/13
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The General Assembly finished up its work for the 2013 Long Session on Friday July 26 and will reconvene for the 2014 session on May 14 at noon.
As We begin our work to turn NC blue, keep an eye on what's happening by going to our
"Taking Back North Carolina" page.
Hagan pushes to restore long-term unemployment benefits in NC
By Mark Binker Dec. 10, 2013 WRAL
North Carolina could rejoin the ranks of states that offer long-term unemployment benefits under legislative language pushed by U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan. Hagan, ...wrote to top Senate leaders asking that they change federal law to allow the U.S. Labor Department to renegotiate its long-term unemployment agreement with the state. Changes to state law triggered an end to long-term benefits for North Carolina workers effective July 1.
"This has been devastating for the individuals and families who are already struggling to make ends meet in tough economic times," Hagan wrote earlier this month to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Hagan's language was included in a bill that faced a procedural hurdle on Tuesday night...
It's unclear whether the bill extending long-term unemployment benefits will pass the Senate, much less the entire Congress before the end of the year. read article
Audit: DHHS ill-equipped to handle troubles with Medicaid billing system
By Matthew Burns Dec. 9, 1013 WRAL
The state Department of Health and Human Services doesn't have a plan to address the range of problems with its troubled Medicaid billing system, according to a state audit released Monday afternoon.
The NCTracks system has been under fire since it was launched in July. Health care providers have complained about difficulties submitting claims and tardy payments that some say have endangered the future of their businesses. Lawmakers have twice called DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and other department officials to testify in recent months about what is being done to fix the problems.
State auditors documented more than 3,200 defects in the $484 million system and said the department "has an inadequate framework for the timely resolution" of the defects. Also, the state has no comprehensive plan to address the various issues providers and others have brought up. read article
State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax
by Ed Pilkington and Suzanne Goldenberg
5 December 2013
Conservative groups across the US are planning a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers' compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal... The proposals in the grant bids contained in the Guardian documents go beyond a commitment to free enterprise... They include ...opposition to Medicaid in Georgia, North Carolina and Utah... Watchdogs that monitor the work of SPN and other conservative networks in the US said that the centralised coordination of state-level campaigns showed a significant attempt to build local activism into a nationwide movement. read in-dept article
NAACP chief, others found guilty in 'Moral Monday' protest
By Amanda Lamb Dec 4, 2013 WRAL
A Wake County judge on Wednesday found a group of people arrested in April during the first of what became months of weekly protests at the Legislative Building guilty of trespassing and violating building rules. District Judge Joy Hamilton said that, although she finds some of the rules governing public access to the Legislative Building to be "vague, overbroad and confusing," state NAACP President Rev. William Barber and 11 others acted in concert to disrupt lawmakers.
Earlier Wednesday, Hamilton said there was insufficient evidence that the 12 protesters posed a threat, so she tossed out the charge of failure to disperse against all of them... All 12 were fined $100, but Hamilton said she wouldn't bar them from returning to the Legislative Building. The convictions are being appealed. read article
Jobless claims to soon require photo ID
By Laura Leslie Dec. 4, 2013 WRAL
North Carolina voters aren't the only ones who will soon have to present photo identification. State officials said Wednesday that, as of Feb. 1, anyone seeking unemployment benefits will have to present a photo ID in a face-to-face meeting within four weeks of filing a claim. The current system lets people file for jobless benefits either online or by telephone... read article
Mistaking policy debates for personal attacks
by Rob Schofield
NC Policy Watch
...The heat of a spring and summer filled with national attention-grabbing legislation and passionate protests has cooled somewhat. State legislators will not return to Raleigh in earnest until May and, for now, the Governor occupies the stage with enormous latitude to dominate the discussion and stamp his imprint on state policy.
If ever there was a time for McCrory to bust out of the shadow cast by ambitious legislative leaders (and even his own budget director)...now would seem like the perfect time to start...
Sadly, however, the Governor seems to have no interest in charting such a course. read article
The source of all McCrory’s troubles?
By Taylor Batten Dec. 01, 2013
Moderate voters in Charlotte and across the state are kicking themselves for supporting consensus-building “Mayor Pat” only to find that Gov. Pat McCrory can be quite different. But my interview with him last week and a breakfast with him a couple weeks earlier make clear he hasn’t changed a bit in one respect: This is a man obsessed with his image and how he’s portrayed. It’s clear he doesn’t go a day without being deeply frustrated by what he sees as unfair attacks on his good name. read editorial
In North Carolina, a hard-right shift hits a roadblock
11/29/13 and 11/30/13 MSNBC
By Zachary Roth
During an appearance at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C, a key center of power for the conservative movement, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory portrayed himself as a business-minded policy wonk, earnestly extolling the benefits of infrastructure development and government-efficiency measures. He might as well have been describing someone else. read article
Clergy ask McCrory to call special session expanding Medicaid in N.C.
November 26, 2013 by Bryan Warner
The Voter Update
About three dozen clergy members and citizens paid a visit to the N.C. Capitol Building on Tuesday, carrying with them a petition bearing some 3,000 names and asking Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to call a special legislative session to expand Medicaid coverage and extend unemployment benefits in North Carolina...
Joining Barber in delivering the petition was Rabbi Fred Guttman of Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, who cited the several Republican governors in other states, including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who “for economic reasons have accepted the Medicaid expansion.”
“Wouldn’t it be a great Christmas present to our state if in the next month we could take care of this humanitarian and economic issue, which would benefit close to half a million people?” Guttman asked Genardo... read article/watch video
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Congratulations to Kay Hagan! First time Grandma with baby boy Harrison
posted Dec 3, 2013
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Sojourner Truth—influential abolitionist and women’s rights advocate—died Nov. 26, 1883. She is often recognized for her “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech at the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.
See more at:
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Monster Law: More Money, Less Voting (provisions of the new voting law)
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Voting in 2013--Voting Rights Wallet Card
NC HEALTH REPORT: Health care for kids, grandparents on Medicaid is not a "runaway entitlement"
Christensen: 5 troubling ideas for NC democracy
NARAL: Legislation to Watch
Holding Gov. McCrory to His Campaign Promise
Post Card Ideas For McCrory
Things We Can Do Now To Turn NC Blue
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McCrory gives protesters cookies
N&O July 30, 2013
THIS AND THAT
Video Selects from North Carolina
About the Project… Story of America is a web series and feature documentary that explores the polarization that exists in America today along political, economic and cultural lines.
Unfinished business for the constitution:
"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex."
A Bill of Rights for North Carolina workers
by Clermont Fraser and Sabine Schoenbach NC Policy Watch
Workers are the driving force behind economic growth, so what’s good for North Carolina’s workers is also good for North Carolina’s businesses.
Recently, attorneys and advocates of the North Carolina Justice Center’s Workers’ Rights Project asked workers across the state to imagine what laws they would enact to make North Carolina better for workers and, by extension, businesses. Their ideas form the basis of a “Workers’ Bill of Rights.”
Click here to see the key components of what such a Workers’ Bill of Rights would include
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