First out date looms — here we go

Tomorrow is the scheduled day for the First Out for the redistricting plans submitted for North Carolina’s congressional and state legislature districts.
First Out is explained by the Justice Department thusly:

The date appearing under the heading “First Out” is the initial date by which the Attorney General must make his determination or inform the jurisdiction that the date will be modified.

It’s still possible DoJ will seek an extension, but I’m going with the idea that we’ll see something very soon. The department tends to publish its rulings on a Monday, so maybe today, maybe next Monday.
This DoJ response will begin the long process of establishing the final districts in the state.
So, here we go.

Department of Justice Section 5 info page
LA Times article on redistricting plans and DoJ
Char-O today

Rouzer’s contribution list packed with ag interests, lobbyists

Johnston County State Senator David Rouzer is running for congress in NC-7 and hopes to unseat Democratic incumbent Mike McIntyre in a district redrawn to be a little more GOP friendly.
Since he’s running for congress Rouzer is allowed to raise money for his federal campaign in ways not allowed a sitting North Carolina legislator. State legislators are forbidden to take contributions when the General Assembly is in session and are barred from ever receiving contributions from lobbyists.
Rouzer’s congressional campaign was able to do both and his first official federal campaign report shows a huge take in the first six weeks of his campaign.
Report main page
List of contributions
The report details 205,491 in contributions most of which came in September via more than 188,000 in individual contributions. So, who were those individuals?
The list in Rouzer’s filing, which covers contributions through September 30, is a who’s who in big ag in eastern NC. Hog producers like Wendel Murphy, tobacco farmers like Benson’s Lee family and the leadership of the Goldsboro Milling Company are among the farm interests on the list.
Also on the list are several lobbyists, mostly representing ag industries like the NC Pork Council’s Angela Meier and Tommy Stevens. Oh, and Rufus, too, wherever he fits in.
Although the individual contributions outpaced Rouzer’s take from PACs, there are still plenty of familiar names who jumped into with both feet, including the aforementioned NC Pork Council, NC Farm Bureau PAC, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and trial attorney PAC Ward & Smith.
Rouzer is co-chair of the NC Senate’s Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources committee.

Further reading:
Indyweek – Campaign contributions, influence and the N.C. Legislature

NC unemployment rate rises

(Click on the chart for full size)

September employment numbers are out.

The North Carolina seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.5 percent in September, an increase of 0.1 of a percentage point over the month, and 0.5 of a percentage point higher than September 2010. Over the month, the number of persons unemployed grew by 4,498 (1.0%). The civilian labor force was relatively unchanged at 4,506,313.

Government jobs show the biggest decline with a loss in the past year of about 18K jobs over the past year.
Complete report here (pdf).

RALEIGH – The number of people employed in North Carolina increased slightly in September, but the unemployment rate ticked up by one tenth of one percent. Since September 2010, private sector jobs have increased by 28,400. In that same time frame, the government sector is down 18,700.
“The private sector has added jobs since September of last year,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes. “Meanwhile, government jobs have declined, according to the seasonally adjusted data.”

We’ll see how this breaks down in the individual counties and municipalities next week when the local numbers are released.

More dismal employment numbers

Weekly unemployment claims are out this morning showing 401,000 new filers for unemployment.
Up from last week and no where near where it should be.
From MarketWatch:

Still, the economy remains weak, and hiring by historical standards is very slow at the current stage of recovery.

Yet another sign that policy is dragging down the economy.

a few suggestions

The Occupy Raleigh folks have put out a request on their FB page asking for input on their demands. That may be a little surprising to those of you who spend months developing such things before hitting the streets. Well, welcome to 21st Century organizing. This is, quite rightly, an outrage first/ figure the rest out later kind of movement. But since media people will be probably stuck on the question of what the protesters are asking for, it might be nice to have a few things spelled out.
In the spirit of Nick Kristof’s piece in the NYT, I’d like to offer a few North Carolina-centric demands. My two cents as follows:

1. Members of the General Assembly should refrain from ever using jobless benefit extensions for political leverage.
This was one of the saddest moments I’ve seen in decades of watching the NCGA. The extension was a formality that cost the state nothing. It was a true insult to the people who needed them and inflicted hardships on tens of thousands of Tar Heel families for pure political sport. Since so many legislators these days like pledges, how about one saying they’ll never pull this kind of stunt again?

2. Jump start the economy
There are public works projects waiting to go in all 100 counties. There are school principals who know exactly who they’d hire back if they had the money. The state needs some counter cyclical spending. Austerity does not create economic growth, but the NCGA seems determined to learn that lesson the hard way.

3. No fracking

4. No disenfranchisement
Demand that the House and Senate leaders pull the Voter ID bill and promise not to bring it up again. Ever.

5. Vigorous pursuit of Wall Street Fraud
Demand that NC go after the money it lost in pensions and elsewhere and the money lost by its citizens due to abusive practices in financial markets.

6. Greater representation on state boards and commissions
The dozens of governing boards and commissions in this state are stacked with industry representatives and big campaign donors. For starters, the student representatives on the UNC Board of Governors and the UNC system schools’ Board of Trustees should have full voting rights.

7. Combined reporting and tougher corporate tax enforcement
This last one is the least sexy of the bunch, but it’s every bit as important. In the past session the state loosened tax enforcement on corporations and, once again, the General Assembly failed to pass combine reporting, letting hundreds of millions in revenues slip away.