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Reposted from pdc by poopdogcomedy
Former Bush Trade Representative & U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R. OH) took the most pro-TPP corporate cash.
The Guardian has a great article out about which U.S. Senators took the most corporate cash to help fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Three of them are Democratic U.S. Senators up for re-election, (Patty Murray (D. WA), Michael Bennet (D. CO) and Ron Wyden (D. OR)) and they took in a combined $105,900. That's pretty bad but the list of GOP U.S. Senators up for re-election next year is much linger and took a lot more corporate cash. Here they are:

Almost 100% of the Republicans in the US Senate voted for fast-track – the only two non-votes on TPA were a Republican from Louisiana and a Republican from Alaska.

Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, who is the former US trade representative, has been one of the loudest proponents of the TPP. He received $119,700 from 14 different corporations between January and March, most of which comes from donations from Goldman Sachs ($70,600), Pfizer ($15,700), and Procter & Gamble ($12,900). Portman is expected to run against former Ohio governor Ted Strickland in 2016 in one of the most politically competitive states in the country.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R. Monsanto)
Seven Republicans who voted “yea” to fast-track and are also running for re-election next year cleaned up between January and March. Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia received $102,500 in corporate contributions. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, best known for proposing a Monsanto-written bill in 2013 that became known as the Monsanto Protection Act, received $77,900 – $13,500 of which came from Monsanto.
UNITED STATES - JUNE 3: Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Richard Burr, R-N.C., conduct a news conference in the Capitol on the Veterans Choice Act, which would provide veterans
Senators John McCain (R. AZ) & Richard Burr (R. NC)
Arizona senator and former presidential candidate John McCain received $51,700 in the first quarter of 2015. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina received $60,000 in corporate donations. Eighty-one-year-old senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who is running for his seventh Senate term, received $35,000. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who will be running for his first full six-year term in 2016, received $67,500 from pro-TPP corporations. - The Guardian, 5/27/15
While Senators Isakson, Scott and Grassley all look safe for re-election, Senators Portman, McCain and Burr are top targets next year and Senator Blunt has a potentially stronger challenger in Secretary of State Jason Kander (D. MO) who is heavily against the TPP. Former Governor Ted Strickland (D. OH) has been making the TPP a campaign issue and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D. AZ) is against fast tracking the TPP. We don't have a challenger to go up against Burr yet but hopefully soon. But if you want to donate and get involved with Strickland, Kander and Kirkpatrick's campaigns, you can do so here:
Reposted from LamontCranston by highacidity


I guess the North Carolina Board of Governors educational planning committee for the University educational system didn't think these programs were important to our education of our young adults, or warranted due to "market forces"...

“We’re capitalists, and we have to look at what the demand is, and we have to respond to the demand.”

 - Board member Steven Long.

So now our college educational system, of which North Carolin's had been the example and envy of most of the state systems in this country, is under the scrutiny of "market forces".  

Want to see which one they eliminated from the main univesity campus of UNC in Chapel Hill?

Thursday morning, the Board of Governors educational planning committee voted to discontinue 46 degree programs across the UNC-System, including one at UNC-Chapel Hill: human biology
"Human Biology"????


Follow me below to view the degree programs to be eliminated, and from which campuses....


"Market Forces" should always decide everything at the end of the day.

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Sun May 24, 2015 at 01:46 PM PDT

North Carolina Open Thread

by randallt

North Carolina Outer Banks

Welcome to North Carolina Open Thread, a new weekly feature of North Carolina Blue. We hope this regular platform will give readers interested in North Carolina politics a place to share their knowledge, insight, inspiration and connections as we work on taking back our state from the extreme, money blinded powers that pull the levers here.

Please join us below and every week as we try to Connect, Unite and Act with our community of North Carolina Daily Kos members. Listed below are NC issue diaries from the previous week and they include block buster news stories about fracking, coal plants, Obama Care and news about creating a North Carolina Kossack Google group as an organizational base for communicating and organizing.

Next week I will try to include other news that our bloggers might have missed, but for now, please stop in and say hello. This is the first Daily Kos weekly open thread for a state. For those in other states, please join us as we strive to establish state open threads in all fifty.

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Reposted from DKos Asheville by randallt

Good day and welcome to DKos Asheville. This is the weekly DKos Asheville open thread for Saturday, May 23rd. We try to get together every weekend to share with everyone what we're all up to in Western North Carolina and beyond. We hope this group and others serve to invigorate us locally and regionally here on Daily Kos, building on the sense of community that's grown through our online engagement. DKos Asheville and other local and state groups can give us all a better sense of connection, a better understanding of who we stand with, work with, and share with. We hope this local and wider community can help leverage our orange passion for progressive politics to elect more and better Democrats.

Tip of the week:
1- Find your precinct.
2- Contact the precinct Captain.
3- Ask how you can help.
4- Follow up with what you can and want to do.
5- Feel good, make a difference.
At this website, Buncombe County provides easy one stop shopping to get information about your precinct and district. I'm sure all counties have something similar that provides potential activists a great starting point from which to make connections and get involved. The first screen lists all precincts and when you click on one it shows you the map on the screen below. It's pretty slick, give it try.



Please follow us below the fold. This week's edition is another opportunity to talk about North Carolina politics and discuss what we can do to support each other and build networks.

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Reposted from Max's Home for Inconvenient Facts and Impertinent Opinions by highacidity Editor's Note: Can't belive someone didn't put this here yet... -- highacidity

Honest answer to a reader's question

No snark, no smartassery. This is one of the finest responses I've ever seen to this kind of question.

Setup: The Charlotte Observer's Taylor Batten wrote a piece about "Honesty Day," which "requires" you to honestly answer a question if it is posed to you. (Sidebar: The Observer is a McClatchy newspaper.) He was asked: "Question? Why do you support such a liberal agenda? Remember you’re supposed to answer honestly."

It would have been easy to respond defensively ("We're not liberal!") or with much snark and smartass ("Here's why we're not conservative...") or, easiest of all, to just ignore it -- with or without the high drama and pearl-clutching. Instead, Batten and the Observer chose to respond with a simple, elegant, and perfectly thought-out response. I'm not easily impressed by this kind of thing. Batten's words did so. This will resonate with me for, quite probably, the rest of my days.

Let's go see what he wrote.

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Reposted from DocDawg by DocDawg
North Carolina activist Kossacks on Doc's List, as of May 18, 2015
It's a start: geographic distribution of North Carolina activist Kossacks on Doc's List, as of May 17, 2015
Life is like a box of chocolates.

Last week, when I started issuing the call for North Carolina activist Kossacks to KosMail me their first names, ZIP codes, and email addresses, I figured the resulting list would take quite some time to grow to useful size, and that sooner or later the result would come in handy...although I really wasn't quite sure how.

I was completely wrong on the first count, and I've already been pleasantly surprised on the second.

Organizing Kossacks locally is an important and powerful tool...especially here in reddish-purple North Carolina, where we are struggling to take back our state. Meet me below the orange gerrymander to learn more about why, and how.


If something like Doc's List was happening in MY state, I would be:

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Reposted from Leslie Salzillo by DocDawg
Rev. Dr. William Barber II, former Netroots speaker and founder of Moral Mondays, along with Forward Together and the NC NAACP, released a new date for the NC NAACP v. McCrory trial. The lawsuit alleges voter suppression in North Carolina, and the trial is now slated for July 13, 2015, in Winston Salem. There is also a massive 'North Carolina Is Our Selma' march scheduled on that same day that will most likely become historic. So if you're in the neighborhood…

Here is an excerpt from the latest email from Rev. Barber, followed by a timeline of informative past events leading up to the pending trial.

From Rev. Barber and Forward Together/NC NAACP:
May 16, 2015
NC NAACP v. McCrory (New) Trial Date Set for July 13

The historic trial of our lawsuit against the McCrory-Tillis-Berger law designed to disenfranchise African American and other anti-racism voters has been postponed a week. The federal judge notified us that he wants the trial to begin on on July 13 in his court in Winston-Salem. "It gives us a week more to spread the word," Rev. Dr. Barber said. "Tell everyone. Monday, July 13, Winston-Salem! We march across our Edmund Pettus Bridge in Winston-Salem to expose and reverse the Tea Party's unconstitutional attack on the voting rights our parents and grandparents won with their lives and blood. North Carolina is our Selma!"

This Week We Called on Gov. McCrory to Explain the Substantial Drop in Voter Registrations at Public Assistance Agencies

The NC NAACP and Forward Together Moral Movement handed a request for e-mails between the Governor, Dr. Wos, who runs the Department of Health and Human Services, and the 100 county DSS Directors, trying to get evidence about why the voter registrations of people applying for public assistance had dropped 66% from the day Gov. McCrory took office in January 2013. We asked Gov. McCrory for an immediate public statement about this suspicious drop off in registration of welfare recipients, which is required by the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. Dr. Wos' staff has said we can get some e-mails, but we have to pay for them. Stay tuned.

On Thursday, May 7, the Daily Kos published a troubling report that showed a substantial drop in voter registrations submitted from public assistance agencies since the beginning of 2013. According to the State Board of Elections, in 2012, 41,162 registration applications were submitted from pubic assistance agencies . In 2013, this number dropped to 18,758 and in 2014, it dropped even further to 13,340.

You can watch the news conference by clicking HERE or on the image below. You can also read our letter to Governor McCrory by clicking HERE.

For those still learning about Moral Mondays and the North Carolina citizen protest, I have compiled a timeline of events, including links to various mainstream and social media articles:

Here are some of the events from 2013:

January 2013
Republican Governor Pat McCrory takes office along with Republicans who won the House and Senate seats in 2012. The election gave Republicans control of both the legislative and executive branch for the first time since 1870. The Republicans began passing bills that many believe negatively affect education, voting rights, women's rights, the environment, racial justice and many social programs.

April 2013
A weekly grassroots protest led by Rev. Dr. William Barber II begins in Raleigh, North Carolina, called, Moral Mondays. It's reported that 924 protestors were arrested for peaceful 'civil disobedience' in 2013.

June 2013
The Supreme Court decision for Shelby v. Holder includes gutting a major part of the of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, giving states and many counties/municipalities, with the propensity for voter suppression, to have the right to change their election laws - without federal approval.

August 2013 
Governor McCrory signs new voting laws allegedly meant to suppress and discourage the votes of blacks, minorities, the elderly, the poor, many whom are known to vote Democrat.  

August 2013
NC NAAP and ACLU file lawsuit against Governor McCrory (NC NAACP v. McCrory).

September 2013
Attorney General Eric Holder with the Department of Justice files a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina over the new voting laws.

Here are some of the events from 2014:
February 2014
Tens of thousands show up for Moral March (aka Moral Mondays/Forward Together - Not One Step Back) in Raleigh.

June 2014
After watching the NC Moral Mondays/Forward Together grow by the thousands, NC Senator Thom Goolsby writes op-ed calling the Moral Monday citizens, 'Moral Morons.'

September 2014
 Over 100,000 erroneous voter packages are sent out by Koch brothers' Americans For Prosperity reportedly to mislead and misinform NC voters.

October 2014
After the League of Women Voters and others file a lawsuit against Governor McCrory and members of the NC Board of Elections leading to an Appeals court panel to blocks two key voter suppression provisions of new North Carolina voting laws

October 8, 2014
Supreme Court overrides the Appeals Court decision.

November  2014
Midterms lead to overwhelming Republican victories causing Republicans to maintain majority in the House, Senate, NC Supreme Court, and Governor's Office.

Here are some of the events from 2015, as well as some important upcoming events:
February 2015
Once again, tens of thousands show up for a 2015 Forward Together Moral March in downtown Raleigh.

May 7, 2015
Daily Kos writer, DocDawg, reveals large drop in voter registration drops and discrepancies in a Daily Kos breaking story.

May 11, 2015
Rev Barber calls emergency press conference where Rev. Barber discusses the disturbing evidence from the aforementioned Daily Kos breaking story and the NC NAACP demand official records from Governor McCrory. Here is the youtube video of the May 11th press conference.

May 12, 2015
Daily Kos diarist, DocDawg, updates the North Carolina voter registration meltdown.

May 16, 2015
Rev. Barber announces new court date for lawsuit, NC NAACP v. McCrory against Governor Pat McCrory, Senator Thom Tillis, and Senator Philip Berger is now July 13, 2015 in Winston Salem.


July 13, 2015
Court date scheduled for the NC NAAP v. McCrory trial, and a historic march in Winston-Salem, NC.

The results of this North Carolina lawsuit may be an incredible game changer for this country. At minimum, we hope to see these messages resonate to other states that are accused of voter suppression. Cheers to the Rev. Barber, the NC NAACP, and most of all to the thousands of Moral Monday protestors and supporters of 'justice for all.' Stay tuned for more updates.

This movement is amazing. Here are some photos I took on my iPhone while participating in Moral Monday rallies last summer. The photos don't show the huge crowds, but show the beauty of everyday Americans, both genders, all ages, colors, religions, economic statuses, political parties, and all walks of life coming together in joyful and peaceful spirit to protest injustice. It was life-changing for me. These images were also published in a Daily Kos diary from last September. See more photos below the fold.

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Reposted from Daily Kos by DocDawg Editor's Note: Interesting data on racial profiling in Charlotte-Mecklenburg -- DocDawg
Young African-American male driving, smiling
Most people have heard or read the acronym "DWB," which stands for "Driving While Black," or in many cases "Brown," derived from DWI—Driving While Intoxicated. In certain parts of the country, "DWI" can also mean "Driving While Indian," which this story, Driving While Indian: A Refresher Course by Mary Annette Pember, illustrates:
On a dark country road in Indian Country, the lessons of childhood come back quickly when the police pull you over. As a nation debates police violence, we should know that Native people are the ethnicity most likely to be killed by law enforcement.

When the officer rapped loudly with a flashlight on the passenger-side window of my car, my 16-year-old, special-needs daughter flung her arms around me like a frightened kitten climbing up my pants leg.

I tried to calm her as I rolled the window down. I could make out no details of the officer because he shined the flashlight in our eyes. The squad car's flashing lights were blinding.

This story did not end in tragedy—meaning death—but the scars that are left by the experience of racial profiling of drivers who are not-white are indelible.  

Follow me below the fold for more on the perils for people of color behind the wheel.

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Reposted from Kalisiin by DocDawg

Efland-Cheecks elementary school, in western Orange County, NC was the center of some controversy after third-grade teacher Omar Currie stood before 200 parents at a meeting at the school after the incident.  While some opposed what Currie did, many were there as supporters.  (Editor's Comment: I would propose that those opposed were probably the ones who needed to hear the fable most, but I digress.)

Currie made an impassioned speech before two hundred faculty and parents before the review commitee, after the meeting was scheduled in response to complaints made by some parents.  School policy requires a public meeting whenever they recieve such complaints about curriculum.

Omar Currie read the gay fable "King and King" in response to a bullying incident in his class where a boy who acts "a little feminine" was being called a girl, and the word "gay" was used in a dirogatory manner.  The committee ultimately upheld the use of the book, however, also instituted policies that require teachers to notify parents of all books they plan to read in class, and to fill out a form for every bullying incident.

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Reposted from weinenkel by DocDawg
A worker looks toward the Dan River at the  Duke Energy coal-fired power plant in Eden, North Carolina February 19, 2014. North Carolina state officials defended their oversight of coal ash ponds on Wednesday, a day after a second leak was found to be thr
Stop watching us! We're trying to make money here
It's been a rough time for Duke Energy. That's been making hundreds of millions of dollars pulling natural resources from the grounds of North Carolina for years. And just because of one little mistake that's forced numerous environmental violations into the light, suddenly Duke Energy finds itself having to cut plea deal after plea deal.
Duke, the country’s largest energy company, pleaded guilty to nine violations of the Clean Water Act and agreed to pay $102 million in fines, including $68 million in criminal fines and $34 million that will go toward environmental projects and land conservation.

The plea entered in federal court in Greenville, North Carolina was expected as part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice announced in February.

Lest you feel bad for Duke Energy don't worry, they're getting off pretty easy considering that they've seemingly poisoned most of the water they come into contact with in North Carolina. While the money involved is a pittance of what Duke Energy makes for contaminating our waterways, there are other aspects of the various deals they have had to strike to wiggle out of courts.
Duke has separately agreed to close and clean up coal ash sites at 14 coal plants in North Carolina, though their methods have been disputed.

"Our highest priority is to operate our system as safely as possible for the customers and communities we serve," Duke said in a statement.

Hard to believe that that's been your highest priority when you're pleading guilty to the exact opposite set of facts.
Reposted from Joan McCarter by highacidity
Richard Burr, speaking on federal issues at NC State University, 2012.
Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) has rejected the House USA Freedom Act which passed on Wednesday, imposing some limits on the NSA's bulk collection of all of our cellphone metadata. Burr continues to insist that the Senate will take up a clean reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act, and the only concession he's giving now will be a shorter extension than the five-and-a-half years in the current proposal.
[H]e reiterated that the base bill on the Senate floor will be a clean extension of existing authorities, not the bipartisan compromise known as the USA Freedom Act that passed the House with 338 yes votes and lines up with a Senate proposal spearheaded by Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt.

"I think it's clear to say that the program as designed is effective, and members are reluctant to change things that are effective just because of public opinion," Burr said. "We've got a program that has never had one breach of personal privacy, and there's really no compelling reason to change the structure of the program other than that the public is uncomfortable with it."

Apparently, Burr doesn't believe that a federal appeals court ruling saying that the program is not authorized by the current law is a compelling reason to change it. What does the lawyer who argued the case challenging bulk collection say about what that ruling means to the program?
The ruling means that even if Congress reauthorizes Section 215 by June 1, the government will have to discontinue bulk collection under that provision unless Congress adds language expressly authorizing bulk collection or the government prevails on the Supreme Court to vacate the ruling. That the Second Circuit declined to enjoin the call records program is immaterial. If Congress reauthorizes Section 215 in its current form, the district court will likely issue an injunction. Even without an injunction, telecommunications providers may begin to resist compliance with production demands.

The ruling means that the government will have to reconsider other bulk collection programs that are operated under other authorities but predicated on the same now-discredited theory of “relevance.” We know the DEA had a bulk call records program until 2013. We know the NSA was collecting Internet metadata in bulk until 2011. In what contexts the government is engaging in bulk collection now is not entirely clear, but news reports indicate that there are other bulk collection programs that haven’t yet been officially acknowledged. If the government is operating other bulk collection programs — or even “bulky” collection programs — it will now have to reconsider them.

There is not support in the Senate or in the House to add language that would authorize bulk collection. But the court had a warning about that eventuality too, by its discomfort with the constitutionality of the whole idea of bulk collection. Remember, this decision was decided on statutory grounds—the law as written doesn't authorize bulk collection—but the court made it very clear that it expects Congress to respect the Constitution in addressing the law and left the possibility of a constitutional ruling wide open. Burr's position is simply not tenable.

Tell Congress to let bulk collection of our metadata and other PATRIOT Act provisions expire.

Reposted from DocDawg by DocDawg

Last Thursday (May 7) here at Daily Kos, I published the first public disclosure of a shocking collapse of the state's voter registration system here in North Carolina under Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. Our analysis of State Board of Elections data revealed that, beginning on or about the time of McCrory's inauguration in January 2013, new voter registrations originating via the state's public assistance (welfare) offices had suddenly and inexplicably collapsed by 66%.

Federal law - specifically the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 - requires states to actively encourage and enable every patron of state offices, including public assistance and motor vehicles offices, to register to vote on the spot. The sudden meltdown in North Carolina's effort to do so, and its continuing failure for more than two years, right up to today, has been responsible for the possible disenfranchisement of up to 40,000 poverty-level citizens (and still counting).

In the four days since this story first broke here at Daily Kos, public awareness and media coverage of the scandal have both begun to snowball rapidly - thanks in no small measure to the many readers who shared it widely via Twitter, Facebook, email, and face-to-face, and legal actions to investigate and hold the perpetrators responsible have already begun. These fast-breaking reactions are summarized below.

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