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Progress Still Possible

Friday, December 9, 2011

TGIF: MoveOn.org guy looks a lot like —

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 11:39 AM

They're activists, but it's so dangerous out there. Behind the Scenes at MoveOn.org from Steven Weber...

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trespass case of Occupy Raleigh's Margaret Schucker pushed to January

Posted By on Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Margaret Schucker, the disabled Occupy Raleigh participant arrested at the State Capitol October 27 for sitting in her chair on the sidewalk, was in a Wake County courtroom this morning expecting her case to be heard. It wasn't. According to her lawyers, the prosecution didn't intend the case to be tried today and scheduled it instead for Jan. 10. Schucker was charged with second-degree trespass when she refused to get up from her little folding chair after the Capitol Police ordered all of the OR demonstrators to get their stuff off the sidewalk. The demonstrators were told they could stay...

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Monday, October 31, 2011

[Updated] Occupy Raleigh, Day 16: They're still there, Governor

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 1:07 PM

photo by Bob GearySunday at Occupy Raleigh: Settling in at twilight. [Update 4:25 p.m.: Joe Huberman posted a schedule for the City Council meetings tomorrow on the Occupy Raleigh legal forum. Note that meetings are at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.: Here is the latest as I understand it on tomorrow's City Council Meeting 11/1/11 1:00 P.M. Session Mayor Meeker will request a report on the Police action and our 1st amendment rights at the 1:00 session of the meeting. It is very unlikely that we will be able to speak, but we are welcome to be in the audience...

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Occupy Raleigh: Day 9 and all's well

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 8:24 PM

photo by Bob GearyThe General Assembly is in session At the General Assembly tonight — the people's assembly, not the Republicans' — we heard that plans are afoot to visit a very high-level state official's mansion for Halloween. In costume, naturally. The Direct Action working group is, uh, working on this. By the way, OccupyRaleigh now has a wiki in addition to its website and Facebook page. The wiki lists all the committees and working groups and can be accessed here. OccupyRaleigh does not have a permit to be on the State Capitol grounds, but the Capitol police force, decimated...

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Friday, October 21, 2011

(Updated) At the Capitol, Day 6: Occupation forces strike fear

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2011 at 6:34 PM

A beautiful day for an occupation [UPDATE, Friday, 10/21: Protest on the Capitol grounds? A day later, the N.C. Department of Administration says no — because regardless what the #OccupyRaleigh people may think the First Amendment means when it says "the right of the people peaceably to assemble (and) petition the Government for a redress of grievances" cannot be abridged, it doesn't mean peaceably assemble on your Capitol grounds. Why? Well, uh, because we say so. For more, there's a good writeup on the DOA's unresponsive response at N.C. Policy Watch's Progressive Pulse blog. [Below yesterday's post, I've added more...

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Raleigh: We're still occupied — @OccupyRaleigh

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 at 2:26 PM

photo by Bob GearyThe occupation continues on the sidewalk by the Capitol The occupation of Raleigh continues. Occupy Raleigh moved into its third day today, following a Saturday kickoff that brought at least 1,000 people to the State Capitol, according to organizers, and saw 19 of them arrested and quickly released without bail. I was away over the weekend and can't provide a first-hand crowd estimate. Other media estimates were in the hundreds. I can say definitively that at 2 o'clock this afternoon there were 17 people on the occupation line, not counting a few I saw on Fayetteville Street...

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Occupy Raleigh: 99% of us should be enough, and yet ...

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 1:31 PM

photo by Bob Geary#OccupyRaleigh occupies Moore Square First things first: Mark your calendars for this Saturday, October 15 from 11 am-3 pm. That's when #Occupy Raleigh will be occupying the State Capitol grounds for purposes of — well, that's a long story. The short version is, #OccupyRaleigh (like #OccupyDurham and #OccupyChapel Hill/Carrboro) is an off-shoot of #OccupyWallStreet, and if you don't know what #OccupyWallStreet is: a) Blame the mainstream media for its/their abject failure to cover it; and b) Nobody knows how important it is yet, but #OWS may be the spark that finally lights this benighted country's candle. In...

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Friday, August 5, 2011

The Republican plan to generate economic growth in two sentences

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 3:08 PM

www.usajobs.opm.gov No. 1: Especially in a recession, we don't need government jobs — cut 'em.* No. 2: Instead of paying a lot of government bureaucrats, save money by privatizing public functions — the way Stephen LaRoque does it.** Your footnotes: No. 1 — * Data for the public sector again reflected the ongoing state and local budget problems, with state government employment losing 23,000 jobs and local government employment dropping by 16,000. According to the Commissioner’s Statement, the state government decline was due almost entirely to the partial government shutdown in Minnesota. But even excluding these losses, state and local...

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bike lanes on Hillsborough Street: √

Posted By on Sun, Jul 31, 2011 at 1:04 PM

photo courtesy of Will AlphinWill Alphin, who led the effort to have bike lanes striped on the new Hillsborough Street, took the photo you see at right and sent this note to his friends on Facebook (including moi): "wo years since we first started turning the wheels to get a bike lane on the street adjacent to the highest percentage of cyclists in raleigh - they are down. watching over a hunderd motoroists drive down hillsborough street on the inaugural night of the lanes, not a single one slipped over the line into the cylce lane. this is gonna work....

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Monday, July 25, 2011

"Beat the Reaper": The game show that's not quite as ridiculous as "Deal 4 the Debt Ceiling" (UPDATED)

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 9:56 PM

illustration by Tyler Bergholz for the Independent Weekly Update, 9:45 p.m.: My reaction to Obama's speech? Once again, he confuses everyone by starting with why the deficits are so high when the subject is supposed to be the catastrophe if we don't increase the debt ceiling. Deficits and debt are not the same thing, and Obama is in this mess because he's allowed the GOP to hold the debt ceiling hostage to the unrelated subject of how to cut future deficits. As for Boehner, he responded with complete propaganda aided by total disdain for the facts. 100% B.S. From this...

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Charging to a world of electric vehicles: "It's a gold rush"

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2011 at 5:40 PM

Tuesday night is "Public Night" at the Plug-In 2011 Conference & Exposition, the event at the Raleigh Convention Center for the EV — Electric Vehicles — industry. For $10, you can say you were there when your grandchildren ask, "Whatever happened to the gasoline-powered automobile?" "Well, kids," you'll be able to say, "it was back in '11 when General Electric came out with an EV charging station in a box, and it sold at Lowe's for about $1,000. "That's right, kids, one thousand dollars — it was the same year that the Republicans defaulted on the national debt, which...

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Till Tellis. Oh, wait, it's "Tell Tillis" ... dot ... com

Posted By on Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 6:15 PM

How many reports have you read ... how many tweets ... how many emails ... about the latest outrage in the General Assembly? This bill destroys environmental protections. That bill rips apart the schools. So on. I'm guessing I've read a thousand. Really. These guys have run some seriously bad bills. So many that the S308's and the H42's all start to run together. But ask yourself, what really sticks in my mind when I consider the Republican-led legislature in action? If you're like me, it's Thom Tillis paying his House staff $150K a year (the Governor makes less) and...

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Friday, June 10, 2011

In Tata we trust? Thoughts on a Friday re: Blue vs. Green

Posted By on Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 2:36 PM

I wrote a column in this week's Indy about the challenges to public education in Wake County and North Carolina. At The News & Observer, one of their blogger-reporters picked it up, characterizing it as "firing shots" at the Blue plan for student assignment in Wake. Whereupon I heard from several people who asked, "I thought you were for the Blue plan?" The short answer is, I am. So far, anyway. I fired no "shots" at the Blue plan. I did raise questions about it because it's clear to me, as I said in the column, that the Blue...

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

At WILPF Congress (and you're invited): Friday, Rev. William Barber; Saturday, peace demo & film: "The Whistleblower"

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 5:03 PM

photo by D.L. AndersonTriangle WILPF organizers gather in Chapel Hill The 31st national congress of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom is underway in Chapel Hill on the UNC-CH campus and runs through Sunday. It hits high gear tomorrow — Friday — when the Rev. William Barber, head of the state NAACP, gives the keynote. On Saturday, The Whistleblower, a film starring Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave, will be shown in special pre-release. (it's scheduled to premiere in August.) Both events are at the Hanes Art Center and are open to the public. Also free & participatory: A...

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Pedro & Emily at the Nasher tonight, on film ... and in person

Posted By on Fri, May 20, 2011 at 10:16 AM

courtesy Emily GuzmanThe Guzman family two years agoIf you followed the dramatic story of Pedro and Emily Guzman in recent days, you know that Pedro was arrested and sent to a Georgia prison 20 months ago by federal immigration officials ... and despite Emily's fierce efforts on his behalf, he seemed on the verge of being deported when his case was finally heard by an immigration judge Monday ... ... but then the judge unexpectedly ruled in his favor, and after another day of uncertainty about whether the feds would appeal, they dropped the case! Pedro was free!* So now,...

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Let's negotiate over whether the country is worth it. Not!

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 1:39 PM

The United States Treasury I admit it, I'm weary and too blase about ridiculous Republican politics and the failure of the Democratic Party to stand for anything. Obama gives the Republicans $38 billion in spending cuts when their opening bid was $33 billion? Par for the course. Perdue says hey, we don't need that whole 1-cent sales tax to balance the state budget, how about 3/4th's of it? (And we don't need that income-tax surcharge on the rich at all because, uh, er, Obama just gave them an enormous tax cut? Right, it makes no sense whatsoever ... but I...

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Friday, April 8, 2011

(Update) Art Howard's excellent photographic adventures; PBS show on global warming premieres Sunday, Tuesday

Posted By on Fri, Apr 8, 2011 at 10:38 AM

"Earth: The Owners' Manual," Geoff Haines-Stiles ProductionsArt Howard on the fast-melting Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand Raleigh photographer-videographer Art Howard's work (we have some examples below) is at the heart of a major new project on global climate change called "Earth: The Operators' Manual." I wrote about it this week in the Indy (link coming when the story goes online, with a slideshow.). ETOM is a public television series, a book, a school curriculum and a website, all underwritten by the National Science Foundation. Its goals: 1) To show why climate change (global warming) is is real and worsening...

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Check it out: Assembly-line education is so not working

Posted By on Sun, Mar 13, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Very cool use of animation tool, courtesy of RSA Animate: Visualize our 18th century model of public education and how it's worked, and not worked, over the ages. In just 11 minutes. (!) Here's your homework: Organize a NEW system of public education for our state, pre-K to ??? using the paradigm of divergent thinking and creativity explained (with the animation overlay) by Sir Ken Robinson....

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

White House White Board: Obama for Dummies

Posted By on Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 1:26 PM

For those of you not on the White House press distribution list (and I don't think it's any mean trick to get on it), the Obama Administration has taken a digital page from Ross Perot in its efforts to sell the tax-cut cave-in — make that compromise with the Republicans — that has Democrats everywhere holding their noses. Just for my own self, I don't like the compromise. I do understand that Obama, having failed for two years to get rid of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, was pretty much stuck with them once the Republicans beat...

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

At Thanksgiving, farmworkers seek "Harvest of Dignity"

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Raul Granados GamezThanksgiving this year comes on the 50th anniversary of Edward R. Murrow's documentary, "Harvest of Shame," which exposed the wretched conditions endured by American farmworkers. "Fifty years later, very little has changed," says Fawn Patterson. "The conditions are still deplorable." Patterson heads the group Toxic Free North Carolina and also the coalition of groups called the Farmworker Advocacy Network (FAN). This week FAN launched the "Harvest of Dignity" campaign with the aim of improving the working and living conditions for agricultural workers in North Carolina and getting state agencies to enforce the laws that are supposed to protect...

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Morning after QB: Democrats have been run off the field — again

Posted By on Wed, Nov 3, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Two thoughts. One, what happened. Two, what now. [Update 11/4: Says it all.] What happened: Voters gave Barack Obama and the Democrats a chance to demonstrate that they could operate the machinery of government effectively and in the public interest. Most Americans, myself included, have a pretty healthy distrust of big government; on the other hand, after the fiscal meltdown of '07 and '08, big-government intervention seemed not only necessary but about the only thing that could save the country from a serious economic calamity. Two years later, IMHO the voters decided that, the crisis having passed — and yes,...

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Still at war in Afghanistan: For what? And at what cost?

Posted By on Mon, Oct 11, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Lib Hutchby (right) reads the name of a fallen soldier. The others in line will do the same. From N.C. Peace Action, a startling statistic: The budget gap facing North Carolina in 2011-12 is an estimated $3.2 billion. The annual cost to North Carolina taxpayers of our military operations in Afghanistan, post-surge: about $3.2 billion. That's right. The amount of money needed to maintain important social services and avoid cuts to school, community college and university budgets is considered too huge for state politicians to raise. $3.2 billion? Far beyond our means — according to both parties. (The Republicans: Far,...

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Monday, September 20, 2010

The U. S. Senate on Tuesday: DADT is 1st test, then the DREAM Act

Posted By on Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 6:17 PM

I think I have this straight. The Senate will vote Tuesday on whether to break a Republican filibuster aimed at blocking consideration of the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act. The Republicans have turned against defense spending? No, they're against a provision of the bill that would start to repeal the military's anti-gay Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. [2nd Update, later on Tuesday afternoon: ThinkProgress has an excellent summary of the Republican smackdown, including Sen. Susan Collins' tortured logic.] [Update, Tuesday afternoon: 43 senators, including all 41 Republicans, voted to filibuster the bill as long as it contains the anti-DADT provision....

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N.C. Blue Cross to refund $155 million in premiums: "It's the right thing to do."

Posted By on Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Adam Searing of the N.C. Justice Center calls it historic, and indeed it is: Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC is reaching into its well-stuffed coffers and refunding $155.8 million to 215,000 policyholders. Why? The short answer is federal health care reform. Under the new law, N.C. Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin is empowered to vet what health insurers charge in North Carolina (up to now, the Insurance Department has merely "received" insurers' rates). And, of course, Goodwin started with BCBSNC, which controls more than half of the health insurance market in North Carolina and remains — against its wishes...

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Call Hagan & Burr: The DREAM Act is heading for a vote in the Senate

Posted By on Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 1:26 PM

If you're in the mood to call your U.S. senators — they'd be Kay Hagan and Richard Burr, respectively — and urge them to cast a vote or three for progress in the world, the N.C. Council of Churches' David LaMotte issued a urgent call this morning [it's copied below] on behalf of three bills: The new START treaty, a criminal justice measure to curb prison abuses, and a favorite of ours, the DREAM Act. Indy photo by D.L. AndersonRaleigh's DREAM Act hunger strikers in June[You'll recall that, in June, three young women — the children of undocumented immigrants who...

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