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North Carolina
  • Mitt Romney Losing Ground in Swing States

    With the general election just a few short months away, it's critical for Mitt Romney to reach out to the important swing states, focus on talking to the people who live there and allow the voters there to get to know him.

    Unfortunately, that carries with it certain dangers. Such as the danger that the voters there might get to know him

    Among the voters in our poll living in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, Obama's lead over Romney increases to 50%-42%.

    Also in these swing states, Romney's favorability numbers have dropped: A month ago, Romney's fav/unfav score stood at 34%/38% nationally and 36%-36% in these 12 swing states. But in this latest survey, his national fav/unfav score is 33%-39% (that 39% unfav is tied with his all-time high) and 30%-41% in the swing states.

    It's probably for the best to keep him away from swing staters for a little while longer. Like maybe just four or five months. After that, definitely get him out there.

    Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Mitt Romney, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Polls, Virginia, Wisconsin
  • North Carolina Senate Blocks Compensation for Victims of Forced Sterilization

    Until its abolition in 1977, the Eugenics Board of North Carolina was responsible for thousands of forced sterilizations of thousands of persons found to be "mentally defective." Just to be clear, that's 1977, not 1937 and North Carolina, not Nazi Germany.

    The laws that authorized involuntary sterilization of the mentally ill were only formally repealed in 2003, but North Carolina was close to adopting a compensation scheme for the surviving victims

    North Carolina's attempt to become the first state to compensate people sterilized in a decades-long program ended Wednesday after Senate Republicans refused to support a bipartisan plan to give victims $50,000 each.

    The House put $10 million in the state budget to pay eugenics victims. But it didn't survive negotiations with the Senate, where conservative lawmakers disagreed on whether to compensate victims.

    "I'm sorry it happened," said Sen. Don East, a chief critic. "I just don't think money fixes it."

    Because nothing says "I'm sorry" like blocking modest compensation for a violation inflicted on citizens by their own government.

    Look on the bright side: just three decades ago, North Carolina locked away its most feeble-minded citizens in mental institutions and violated their basic human right to reproduction. Now its most feeble-minded citizens are serving in the state legislature. Progress!

    Tags: Civil Rights, Money, North Carolina
  • North Carolina GOP Adds Discrimination Against Gays to Party Platform

    Fresh off a successful campaign for a referendum that eliminated civil unions for straight and gay couples alike, the North Carolina Republican party convened to draft a special message for the most put-upon segment of the Tar Heel state.

    The It Gets Better message is right there in the party's platform, adopted over the weekend…

    Government should treat all citizens impartially, without regard to wealth, race, ethnicity, disability, religion, sex, political affiliation or national origin. We oppose all forms of invidious discrimination. Sexual orientation is not an appropriate category.

    Congratulations, wealthy people. How long must you wait to throw off the shackles of North Carolina's mildly progressive state income tax? Not long! How long must you wait for an education funding formula that funnels funds to affluent districts? Since that's the way education money is already allocated — Not long!

    Unfortunately for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangendered individuals, it does not appear to be getting better, despite the state's recently acquired purplish tinge in national elections. It's one thing to omit protections for LGBT individuals, another to explicitly deny that such protections are worth considering.

    In addition to raising difficult questions — is it okay to discriminate against a rich gay person? What if they're really rich? — this kind of bullying formulation brings to mind a recent study purporting to show  that "homophobia is more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex." The research fits with casual observations indicating that the virulence of anti-gay sentiment is ironically correlated with the diameter of the stick up one's ass. In which case, North Carolina Republicans are all sporting Romney plugs.

    Related: North Carolina Takes Stand Against Liberal Bias of Water

    Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: LGBT, Marriage Equality, North Carolina, Republicans
  • North Carolina Takes Stand Against Liberal Bias of Water

    Bad news and good news. First, the bad: Sea levels along the coast of North Carolina are expected to rise by about a meter by the end of the century, according to a report issued  by a state-appointed science panel. Sadly, the study could make it difficult for developers to build along the shore, thanks to increased flood insurance premiums and a reluctance on the part of Americans to live underwater.

    Now, the good news: North Carolina politicians are ON IT. Republican lawmakers are introducing legislation that would require estimates of sea level rise to be based only on historical data, rather than newer data and models that suggest the change in sea levels is accelerating. The measure reads in part

    The Division of Coastal Management shall be the only State agency authorized to develop rates of sea-level rise and shall do so only at the request of the Commission. These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise.

    Politicians at other levels of government should take heed. Yes, the jobs numbers in the latest Labor Department report are dismal, but the unemployment rate in 1966 was a mere 3.8%. Why doesn't our president exercise some leadership and tell the Bureau of Labor Statistics to give him some historical numbers that can be "extrapolated linearly." If the decline in unemployment from 1961 to 1969 is any indication (and it isn't), the current unemployment rate is actually negative 70%.

    Everyone can join the fun. Are you a big city mayor experiencing an unpleasant uptick in the homicide rate? Looking at you, Rahm Emanuel! No worries, if we just ignore the real-time data and focus on the historical decline in the murder rate from the '90s to the last few years and extrapolate accordingly, the numbers will show that people are actually coming back to life in the Windy City. Thanks, North Carolina!

    Tags: Climate Change, North Carolina, Republicans, Science & Technology
  • Mitt Romney Emits Tear-Like Substance from His Eyes

    Mitt Romney traveled to North Carolina today to speak to supporters in Charlotte, and not, strangely, to tackle a gay couple trying to get married.

    But something unusual did happen. Romney's eyes appeared to well with what scientists might call "tears" while talking about how a local community helped his niece

    There are scenes that come to my mind when I think of America and there are scenes of people coming together. Sometimes when there's a crisis; sometimes when there’s just someone in trouble.

    My niece– my niece and her husband, he's a lawyer, they bought a starter home. Young married couple. Their first daughter is completely deaf, stone deaf. And at about age one or one in a half they installed one of these cochlear implants invented in this country to help her hear a little bit. And then she goes to get special classes to help her learn how to speak…but just as this was happening in their lives…her husband was called up by the national guard to go off to Iraq and serve he did…

    One morning, she comes outside and there are her neighbors all picking up the rocks out of her yard, raking the dirt. They put in a sprinkler system. They laid down sod. They even build a swing set for her daughter. This is the America that I love.

    Apart from calling his little niece "stone deaf,"  it's kind of a heartwarming anecdote. No wonder he started to get a little teary. Hopefully, the moisture didn't smudge any of that bronzer on his face.

    Of course, it seems unlikely that Romney would ever admit to getting over-emotional. He'd have to cut off his own hair. He probably just said he had some leftover droplets on his face from waterskiing all day.

    Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Mitt Romney, North Carolina, Republicans