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Monday, October 29, 2012

Yes, Virginia, North Carolina is a total tossup too for president: New Elon University Poll

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 11:23 AM

The headline from the Elon University Poll is that Obama has pulled into a tie with Romney in North Carolina among likely voters, 45-45. Way down is the news that Obama leads by 2 points with registered voters. Also, the poll was conducted Oct. 21-26, meaning that the first two days preceded the final presidential debate, in which Obama dominated. So, if anything, the poll may over-estimate where Romney stands in N.C. today. Elon is one of the few live-interviewer polls, and its relatively large sample size of 1,200-plus reduces the margin of error to below 3 percent. In the...

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

(Updated w/ McCrory's passable answer) Does N.C. gov't need an auditor? A serious question for Pat McCrory

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2012 at 12:02 PM

[Update, 10-25: So yes, I did watch and McCrory was asked the Goldman question. He said he was "very concerned" at what he was reading about Debra Goldman's behavior and wondered if it was "appropriate for an elected official." Which behavior? He didn't say, and he didn't come right out and say what should be obvious, which is that Goldman, even if you give her the benefit of every doubt, isn't qualified to be state auditor. [On the other hand, McCrory did give a shout-out to Democrat Beth Wood for "a good job" as auditor, which was the political equivalent...

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

State must provide pre-K schooling for all at-risk 4-year olds: N.C. Court of Appeals upholds Judge Manning's order

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM

The three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Superior Court Judge Howard Manning's ruling. You can read the decision here. Manning found, as part of his years-long ("Leandro") analysis of what the state constitution requires in the way of elementary and secondary education, that pre-K preparation is critical if at-risk kids, i.e., poor kids, are going to have a decent chance of success in the K-12 system. So he ordered the state legislature to step up and provide enough funding so that every such child can be served. Gov. Perdue agreed. But she didn't convince the Republican-led...

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Friday, July 20, 2012

(Updated) Will Utilities Commission crack Duke for sacking Bill Johnson?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 20, 2012 at 12:35 PM

photo by Bob GearyOusted CEO Bill Johnson (right) with lawyer Wade Smith in foreground [Update, 3:50 pm: Phase one of the case is over. Chairman Finley announced that the Commission is following the evidence where it leads, and where it leads is a next phase that will be more "traditional" and "evidentiary." Meaning it's going to be long and hard-fought. Duke Energy's attorneys, up to and including former NC Supreme Court Chief Justice Burley Mitchell, have been complaining that they weren't allowed to cross-examine witnesses. Next phase, that will change. But so will the stakes. [Finley, in afternoon questioning, elicited...

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

(Update x 2) 2nd primary results: Tedesco wins; Gurley, Gardner beaten

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Watching the returns in runoff primaries. (That's right, today was the day. Were you among the 98 97 percent of registered voters who forgot?) Here's a link to the State Board of Elections' returns. [Update x 2: At 9:17 pm, with 87 percent of precincts in, on the Republican side John Tedesco is solidly ahead, Tony Gurley is far behind and Kenn Gardner looks like he's lost too. John Brooks is at 54% and looks to the the Democratic nominee for labor commissioner. Results here. [With three GOP runoffs for congressional seats out west, the Wake candidates needed to pile...

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Gov. Perdue on Andy Griffith's death: We've lost our favorite son. [The President offers his tribute too.]

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2012 at 1:54 PM

Gov. Perdue’s statement on Andy Griffith’s death at 86: “North Carolina has lost its favorite son. Andy Griffith graciously stepped into the living rooms of generations of Americans, always with the playful charm that made him the standard by which entertainers would be measured for decades. Throughout his career, he represented everything that was good about North Carolina: a small town boy and UNC graduate who took a light-hearted approach to some of the attributes he grew up with and turned them into a spectacularly successful career. And regardless of where that career took him, he always came back to...

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Virtually dead: Judge rejects company's bid for online NC charter school

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 3:54 PM

If you've been following the efforts of the very profitable K12 Inc. (we talked about them in this story) to open a virtual charter school for students in North Carolina — ostensibly it would be a school "based" in Cabarrus County, but in (virtual) reality the school would've consisted of online courses only, plus some tellers to cash the checks — it's been blocked by Superior Court Judge Abe Jones: Judge rules that state edu board doesn't have to review #ncvirtual charter - its silence earlier was in effect a denial #ncga— Sarah Ovaska(@SarahOvaska) June 29, 2012 Sarah Ovaska's been...

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Bad budget: Perdue will give GOP's work the old veto — for 20 reasons

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Gov. Perdue held a press conference this morning and announced that she will indeed send the General Assembly's budget back at them. The Republican-led G.A. has the option of: 1) Negotiating with the governor — and truly, her requests have been on the very small side in terms of dollars (but, as in the eugenics issue, sometimes the point isn't the sheer dollars) — or, 2) Taking their ball and going home — because, remember, the budget enacted a year ago is for two years, and what's before the body now is a bill to amend that two-year plan. If...

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Perdue vetoes GOP bill gutting Racial Justice Act

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Gov. Bev Perdue acted today to protect the Racial Justice Act from the GOP-led General Assembly's effort to gut it. The ACLU of NC is out with a reminder that the fate of the veto hangs on whether three House Democrats (Brisson, Hill and Owens — see below) will stand with her or — as they did when the measure was on the floor — with the Republicans. First, from the Governor's Office: Governor Vetoes Senate Bill 416Senate Bill 416, “An Act To Amend Death Penalty Procedures” “As long as I am Governor, I will fight to make sure the...

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No school vouchers bill this year: Advocates throw in the towel

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 12:28 PM

House Majority Leader Paul Stam's bill to support private schools with public funds — a.k.a. vouchers — won't be law any time soon. Despite his high status in the Republican Party, Stam couldn't get his plan funded in the state budget, and his efforts to get the bill enacted separately are apparently at an end today as the current "short" legislative session heads to a close. Stam's bill failed, on an 11-11 vote, to win the House Finance Committee's approval this morning. I read that he filed a minority report and might try to bring the report to the House...

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fate of Racial Justice Act likely hangs on three House Democrats

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Gov. Bev Perdue is expected to veto Senate Bill 416, which essentially guts the historic Racial Justice Act. According to the ACLU of North Carolina: The North Carolina House and Senate have approved a bill that would effectively repeal the Racial Justice Act, which allows death-row inmates to appeal their sentences and receive life without parole if they can prove that race was a significant factor in their sentence. Whether Perdue's veto will be upheld in the House (it won't be in the Senate, apparently) seems to depend on getting three House Democrats who voted for SB-416 to turn around...

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Public $$$ for private and Christian schools, and the billionaires who want your money spent on them: Facing South

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Last week we reported on the Republican General Assembly's plans to send big chunks of public funding to private and Christian schools. [Inventively headlined: "GOP plan would send public funds to private schools"] Since then, the Republican scheme's been steaming along. The House budget contains money for it, and various reports suggest that the Senate will go along. Expect a budget veto from Gov. Bev Perdue. But last year, five Democrats in the House deserted her, and with their aid and comfort the Republicans overrode her veto in both houses. Today, Facing South is out with a detailed report on...

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Colbert's wet kiss for NCGOP's ban on rising seas

Posted By on Tue, Jun 5, 2012 at 2:45 PM

h/t BlueNC ("North Carolina becoming a national joke"): Sea-level rise of one meter or more? There's no way to know what that would mean. Because it's metric. And other Stephen Colbert gems about what our NC Republicans are up to that, unfortunately, are both funny and true. The Colbert ReportGet More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive...

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Edwards verdict: He should be guilty. (Update x 2: But he isn't.)

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 5:07 PM

[Update 4: From WRAL: Edwards is acquitted of one count; mistrial is declared on the remaining five.] [Update 3: CNN has a succinct report. The jury remains deadlocked on five of the six charges against Edwards, including the conspiracy charge. It reached agreement only on Count 3, which involved Bunny Mellon's money. The defense moved for the judge to announce the verdict on Count 3, obviously in the belief that it was the weakest charge and most likely to be the one they'd acquit on; it wanted the judge to declare a mistrial on the remaining five charges. The judge...

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Perdue: I'll be in charge on fracking, thank you

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Gov. Bev Perdue issued an executive order telling DENR and Commerce to study how fracking can be undertaken safely in North Carolina. The two departments are to form a working group and reach out to the General Assembly, which is considering a couple of different Republican bills aimed at allowing fracking. The order is open-ended — no time limit is set. Here's the order: Perduefrackingorder.pdf Perdue's statement: “North Carolina needs a strong set of standards in place before we allow fracking here. If done safely, fracking can be part of a larger energy solution to create jobs and help lower...

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Too scary? Efforts to curb N.C. voting in 2012 recall state's 1898 coup

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Democracy NC Democracy North Carolina is, as its slogan says, of, by and for the people. Above all, it's for the people's right to vote — and to cast an informed vote about who's on their side and who isn't. For that reason, Democracy NC is fighting efforts to curb early voting, put an end to same-day registration and voting (on early-voting days) and throw roadblocks in the way of people being able to cast a vote. Roadblocks like the nefarious Voter ID bills pushed by Republican leaders here and in many other states that are aimed at reducing voter...

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

President Obama backs same-sex marriages: Let the Amendment 1 repeal campaign begin

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2012 at 4:04 PM

President Obama finally declared himself: He thinks same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. He said he once favored civil unions as a way to recognize same-sex relationships without running into the "that's not a marriage" buzz saw. But you know what, civil unions — if properly defined in a statute — are the same as a marriage in the eyes of the law. And the law is all that politicians should care about. Leave the sacred trappings outside government's door. It's obvious that the President waited until North Carolina voted to put himself on the record. Had he spoken...

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(Updated x 2) Amendment 1 passes easily, and other primary results

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2012 at 12:23 AM

You can follow the returns with me as they come in on the State Board of Elections website. [Update No. 2. It's midnight, and I've made one final pass at the numbers. With all the votes counted, the outcomes are the same as two hours ago. So again, I'll make a very few changes as needed and call it quits for the night.] [Update: It's about 10 p.m. Roughly two-thirds of the precincts are in, and almost 2 million votes are counted statewide. Not much has changed, so I'll change the text below only as needed.} Amendment 1 was approved...

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Marriage. "Just a Word." A short film by Mimi Schiffman

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 3:35 PM

I loved this earlier short by Mimi Schiffman called "Love = Love." I just don't see how you could vote for Amendment 1 after watching it. But then I am always the optimist. So here's another Schiffman gem. (Thanks for sending it, Mimi.) It's a four-minute film about love, marriage and two guys from North Carolina who went to Washington, D.C., a few days ago because there they could have both. She calls it "Just a Word." "You know, everybody says it's just a word, but there's more to it. There's a feeling of belonging," said Jeff Enochs of Charlotte,...

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Obama for America takes a pass on Amendment 1

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Just for the record, there was some thought last night during the anti-Amendment 1 conference call that Obama for America would include a recommendation to the President's supporters to vote against Amendment 1 when OFA issued its pre-primary email blast s today. President Obama, after all, issued a statement in March opposing Amendment 1. But no. Vote for Obama in the Democratic primary, is all that OFA says. And — uh — you know, make your voice heard at the polls. Here it is: Here's a great way folks in North Carolina can show their support for President Obama: Participate...

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Amendment 1: Opponents make final appeal and hope the polls are wrong

Posted By on Mon, May 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM

photo by Bob Geary Fayetteville Street in Raleigh Saturday was out in force — OutRaleigh drew an estimated 10,000 folks, all of whom, it seemed, were loving the idea that Amendment 1 might be defeated on Tuesday, putting North Carolina in the forefront of what is undeniably a movement toward equal rights for the LGBT community. (See: Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday.) OutRaleigh, a project of the LGBT Center of Raleigh, is great evidence of the movement, come to think of it. It hasn't been so many years since a celebration of gay rights on Fayetteville Street in the...

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bill Clinton makes two presidents against Amendment 1

Posted By on Sat, May 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Former President Bill Clinton recorded a call to North Carolina voters urging them to vote against the anti-gay Amendment 1. That makes two presidents against it. President Obama issued a statement earlier. Here's the YouTube version of Clinton's call: The text, from the Coalition to Protect All NC Families: Statement from President Clinton: "Hello, this is President Bill Clinton. I’m calling to urge you to vote against Amendment One on Tuesday May 8. If it passes, it won’t change North Carolina’s law on marriage. What it will change is North Carolina’s ability to keep good businesses, attract new jobs, and...

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[Updated] Vying for NC Democrats chair: Vaughan quits ALEC, Mary-Ann Baldwin among others in pursuit

Posted By on Sat, May 5, 2012 at 9:31 AM

State Sen. Don Vaughan, D-Guilford, the only announced candidate for state Democratic Party chair, said last night he is quitting ALEC. His statement follows below. In calling around yesterday, I heard from party sources that Raleigh City Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin is among several others who's been dialing for support; Baldwin is expected to announce soon that she's in the contest against Vaughan. Baldwin didn't return my call. [Update, 2:30 p.m.: I saw Mary-Ann downtown at the OutRaleigh event, working with the "Vote Against" volunteers. Good on her. She said she's been on the phone, will decide whether to throw her...

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Friday, May 4, 2012

New NC Dems chair? It's the first decision Dalton or Etheridge should make

Posted By on Fri, May 4, 2012 at 1:55 PM

[Update, 5/5: Sen. Don Vaughan, the only announced candidate to replace David Parker, has quit ALEC following yesterday's disclosures. He sent a statement last night; I've copied it below.] Poor David Parker is out as state Democratic Party chair as of next Saturday, the victim of a sexual harassment claim by an ex-party staffer that he didn't know what to do with. So who should replace Parker? And replace him, I'd add, at a time when the Democrats are in danger of losing the Governor's office, the Lt. Governor's office and everything else that isn't nailed down in Raleigh ......

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Latest from PPP: Amendment 1 is (uh-oh) holding its lead

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 1:14 PM

It's just one poll, and a given poll can be off by the margin of error — which is 3 points in this one — or it can be wrong. (About one poll in 20 is simply incorrect, as we all learned in statistics). Still, when Public Policy Polling reported a week ago that Amendment 1's lead was down to 14 points, about half of what it was a few months ago, that was good news for the opposition. Because (and here's another polling maxim), once there's movement in a given direction, it tends to continue, even to accelerate. The...

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