The Reward of Having Respect

In a recent report from the Lumberton NC paper The Robesonian (“McCrory: Former teacher inspired pat proposal”), Sarah Willets quoted Gov. McCrory as being inspired by a former teacher to suggest a pay hike for teachers in this election year. He said:

“Ruth Revels was one of those teachers who had a lasting impact and influence on me. I will always remember her passion and strong belief in each one of her students. In honor of Mrs. Revels who recently passed away, I announced a plan to reward teachers for their hard work and raise average pay to over $50,000 plus benefits.”

When someone remembers a teacher’s impact on his life, that teacher must have been special. In fact, there are many Mrs. Revels in this state and many more are still embarking on the teaching profession.

But I am stuck on one word – “reward”.

A reward is something that is given in recognition of someone’s service, effort, and/or achievement. One could get a reward for doing well on a project or completing a task. Some could look at a bonus check as a reward for accomplishing a goal.

However, this teacher wants more than a reward from my governor and his General Assembly. This teacher wants respect for all of our public school teachers

To have respect is to have a deep feeling of admiration for someone because of his abilities, qualities, and value. It is understanding that someone is important and should be taken seriously.

I was very glad to see that NCAE called on NC lawmakers to “Restore Respect” during Teacher Appreciation Week because it brought to mind that there are many stark differences between rewards and respect.

  • A reward sounds like something that can be used as a political ploy. Respect needs no political prompt.
  • A reward could be a one-time gift. Respect is continuous and grows.
  • A reward is a reaction to something. Respect guides your actions.
  • A reward is giving teachers a small bonus that gets taxed by the state and has no effect on retirement. Respect would be to bring salaries for teachers at least to the national average.
  • A reward would be to give a school some sort of distinction because it met a measurement achievement. Respect would be honoring teachers because of actual student growth in the face of factors out of the schools’ control.
  • A reward would be providing more textbooks. Respect would be to keep growing per-pupil expenditures to ensure that all students got the resources they need.
  • A reward would be giving a one-time pay hike to teachers. Respect would be to make sure they kept getting raises throughout their careers on a fair salary schedule and restoring longevity pay.
  • A reward may be speaking highly of principals. Respect would be not ever allowing our average principal salary to rank next to last in the nation.
  • A reward may be to alter the teacher evaluation system. Respect would be to restore due-process rights for all teachers.
  • A reward may be to give more professional development for teachers. Respect would be restoring pay bumps for graduate degrees.

We have seen what a lack of respect for teachers has done to our state in a short amount of time. Where we once were considered a flagship state system, we are now in a state of regression. So while I will not decline a “reward” of a pay raise, I will tell my lawmakers that affording more respect to teachers, administrators, and teacher assistants could go a long in helping stop the attrition of teaching talent in North Carolina.

Why? Because if you respect something you will show it through your actions, not just your campaign speeches and vague promises.

And respect can work both ways. For those lawmakers who view public education as a priority and view teachers with respect, I will not only reward them with my vote, I would show my respect by supporting them throughout their terms.

But most importantly, don’t reward me for teaching. Respect me for being a teacher.

Mi Casa Will Sue Su Casa!

Sue you. Sue Me.” – almost a Lionel Ritchie song

Mi casa will sue su casa.” – Gov. Pat McCrory. Actually he didn’t say that, but it’s what he kind of he said.

In a move that only NC’s GOP powers could play in this chess game of legality, the state is taking the feds to court over the HB2 law that the Department of Justice declared a violation of civil rights.

And it’s McCrory who is having to defend it in the national spotlight, whether he wants to or not. In his press conference on May 9th (where he did not entertain questions), McCrory made some rather interesting comments concerning the actions of North Carolina’s government.

One was when he blamed Charlotte for causing “major privacy concerns about males entering female facilities and females entering male facilities.” Before we start on the slippery slope that McCrory so much likes to skid down, it was another quote the day before that garnered more of my attention.

He said on a FOX News interview on Sunday, May 8th, “This is no longer just a North Carolina issue. This is a basic change of norms that we’ve used for decades throughout the United States of America and the Obama administration is now trying to change that norm — again not just in North Carolina, but they’re ordering this to every company in the United States of America — starting tomorrow I assume, or Tuesday.”

I would like to know what “norms” the governor is referring to. Because when we talk about “norms” in the United States, the biggest norm that exists now is that change inevitably comes, especially when more and more people fight for the rights guaranteed by their Constitution.

When actions are based on assumptions, there will come a time when reality and knowledge will require a change.

When the governor talked about norms did he remember:

  • It was normal at one time when sodomy laws existed in almost all states.
  • It was normal at one time to own slaves.
  • It was normal at one time when women were not allowed to vote.
  • It was normal at one time to discriminate against people of other races, creeds, and religions. provided an introspective video narrative entitled “Us + public bathrooms? It’s complicated” when talking of NC’s reaction to the DOJ. It traced the nature of society’s view of public facilities in the past 150 years. From the cholera outbreaks of the 1800’s to  issues of gender to the Jim Crow laws through the HIV scare and then culminating in the 1990 law that made public restrooms handicapped accessible, the video shows something that McCrory seems to misunderstand.

And that is that the “norm” in America is that things change when we get over assumptions and baseless fears.

Ironically, the Department of Justice announced a lawsuit in return and since Roy Cooper has already provided legal counsel when he said that HB2 was not defensible, the governor is using tax payer money to fund a private attorney’s office based in South Carolina, specifically Butch Bowers from Columbia.

Yep, Columbia. That Columbia. In South Carolina. The same city that already has in place the very ordinance to protect the LGBT community that Charlotte supposedly modeled their ordinance after.

So, if I get this correct, Gov. McCrory is spending tax payer money to fund an out-of-state lawyer who will defend a law that targets LGBT people when he himself is living in a town that actively does not discriminate the very people he will litigate against?


Mommy! There’s a Strawman in the Girls’ Bathroom!

We can debate HB2 all we want, but this bill will soon be struck down. There are lawsuits waiting. There’s a precedent set in the case in Virginia. The Department of Justice has already told the NC General Assembly it is a violation of civil rights.

Some people may say that the feds have no business telling the state of North Carolina what to do. That was said years ago when Jim Crow laws were in effect. But the truth is that the Dept. of Justice has the authority to say that NC is violating people’s civil rights and that they will withhold federal monies from North Carolina. And we are dependent on the feds.

But I digress. We are here to talk about keeping kids safe in NC.

Take a look at this site –

Go ahead.

Scroll down to the bottom part of the screen and watch the video entitled “North Carolina’s Common Sense Bathroom Law Protects Our Kids”.

It lasts about one minute.

It has a sexual predator dressed as a biker with an AC/DC-type shirt in animated form exhibited like a business presentation or a commercial for a moral cleanser.

But it’s really a logical fallacy smorgasbord.  If I mixed some “common sense fallacy” with a little “reductio ad absurdum”, then added a dash of dried “red herring” and a smidge of “appeal to fear” and finally dropped  three strands of hair from a “strawman”, then I would get this paid advertisement from the NC Republican Party.

But I digress even more. Because I am still stuck on the high and pompous name of the website – Keep NC Kids Safe.

In a classic “name it and claim it” maneuver, the GOP party in this state claims to be the ones who are keeping kids safe. And that makes me furious because if now is the time to keep kids safe, then the GOP has a distorted view of what can keep kids safe and what has been threatening them in the past.

  • Did they ever present a plan to keep kids safe from poverty when over 20% of our state’s children live in poverty?
  • Did they ever think of keeping kids safe from unhealthy sicknesses when they decided to not expand Medicaid? Do they support the State Children’s Health Insurance Program? Do they support The Child Care Association of NC? Do they support the NC Early Childhood Foundation? Shouldn’t that be on this website?
  • Did they keep kids safe from guns by taking a stand against lax gun control laws?
  • Did they keep kids safe academically and intellectually when they slowed money allocation to the public education system, especially pre-k programs? Smart Start?
  • Did they keep kids safe from unemployment when they reduced benefits for unemployed parents or guardians?
  • Did they keep kids safe by speaking up about child abuse or addressing lack of support in social services?


Those each need a page on the website.

It sounds like if the GOP wanted to keep kids safe, then the website would have been put up years ago for the very issues that plague the health and safety of our kids.

There is a lot to be learned here from double-speak and political spin, but one has to wonder why something that has been called “unconstitutional” by many is still “common sense” to some who constantly blame the media for misrepresentation.

When there are so many issues that really affect the safety of our kids, why is there so much focus on a bathroom?

Week in Review for May 2 – 8 : Lucifer, Eisenhower, Harlequin Romances, License Plates, and Hamlet’s Deadbeat Friends

First THANKS FOR READING MY STUFF! Please share if you care to.

In case you missed anything or want to read again for the first time, I present:


And a nice surprise from the Washington Post complete with MY BEST TROLL IN THE COMMENTS EVER!! Thanks to Valerie Strauss from The Answer Sheet for posting one of my blog postings.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Aren’t Dead! They Live in Eden – An Open Letter to People Who Will Vote in Sen. Berger’s District

Dear Rockinghamcrantz and Guilfordstern (A Shakespearean way of saying “Citizens of Rockingham and Guilford Counties),

If Shakespeare has taught us anything about human nature and our lives (actually he has taught us much), then we would certainly know that the state of the king’s palace usually dictates the state of the kingdom. Just review perhaps his most famous play, Hamlet, where the greed of one man for power (Claudius) causes a chain of events that literally bring down a kingdom, takes innocent lives, and even makes the dead come back.

Consequently, the state of the General Assembly and the actions of its players has direct effects on the state of North Carolina as a whole. But one of these players has had the leading role for a while in Raleigh, Sen. Phil Berger.

In this drama of an election year, it is worth beseeching our fellow North Carolinians who live in Rockingham and Guilford counties who also have Sen. Phil Berger as their state senator to seriously contemplate his actions as a legislator and the effects they have had on the rest of the state. Why? Because…

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (Marcellus, I,iv).


Something is rotten in the state of North Carolina. The list of offending actions causing this state of decay is long and well-documented. And Sen. Berger has been the chief architect in most all of them.

There was the religious freedom bill. There was the Voter ID law. There was HB2. There were the countless attacks on public education. There was the tax “reform” that has placed more burden on the middle class of the state. There was the marriage amendment. There was a reduction of benefits for the unemployed. There was the refusal of Medicaid expansion.

All of it has been poison poured into the ears of North Carolinians. It adds to the madness of North Carolina.

“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t” (Polonius, II,ii). 


While many of our constituents may debate the merits of who should go into what bathroom or who should be able to marry whom, there have been deliberate, calculated attempts at consolidating power on a state level by this man at the expense of others. Sen. Berger has thrown out so many red herrings to take attention away from what has really happened in legislative sessions that many are convinced it is madness to go against his policies.

But there is a method to it. The thought that some would want grown men to go into girls’ locker rooms at a public school is madness. But that is the deception – a method to extend power over local municipalities about how people can sue in state courts or how local municipalities can contract work.

“One may smile, and smile, and be a villain” (Hamlet, I, v). 


Shakespeare was often very wary of how villains presented themselves. Iago was “two-faced” showing a public side to hide private motives. Edmund people-pleased in order to destroy them. Richard III smiled constantly in the very faces of people he eliminated.

The public facade can often be a mask for other motives. Rather than focus on the smiling visage of a politician, listen to his words, read his explanations, and then compare them to his actions. And why? Because…

“The Devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape” (Hamlet, II,ii).


No, Sen. Berger is not the Devil. But I do think he will have a lot to answer for when he greets his maker as he is asked what he did for those who needed the most help. So, I beseech you to…

“Listen to many, speak to a few” (Polonius, I,iii). 


Yes, he is an incumbent for your district. He supposedly represents your ideals. But consider that his actions have had deleterious effects on all North Carolinians. In his efforts at gerrymandering districts, he has shown us all his conscious efforts at squashing voices who disagree with him.

Ask any public school teacher outside of your district and nine times out of ten, that teacher will be able to directly name Sen. Berger as an adversarial presence in public education.

Ask any person in the LBGT community who has faced discrimination.

Ask any parent who needs Medicaid to help with healthcare coverage for his/her child.

Ask any of the almost one in four kids in our state who live in poverty.

Ask any small municipality (even Hamlet, NC) about having Raleigh overrule their own local ordinances.

 “This above all: to thine own self be true” (Polonius, I,iii).  


The operative words here are “true” and “truth”. Don’t allow political double-speak and platitudes to cover up what is the truth. And the truth is what affects lives. Sen. Berger has affected a lot of lives – negatively.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question” (Hamlet, III,i).


Maybe the question should be, “To vote, or not to vote.” The answer is yes, you should. But please consider who you vote for, because if life is a stage, then the rest of the state and even the country is watching the play.

Don’t let this end tragically. Don’t let us be haunted by ghosts of actions past. We can have a new script.



The Groundlings of North Carolina.

“License Plates For Lawmakers” or “Why I Live at the DMV”


As in most states, North Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles allows car owners to purchase a customized license plate and personalize it with individual text and numbers – as long as it is not already taken by another motorist or it is too inappropriate. Monies collected go to the state with a donation made to the entity honored with the plate.

License plates can reflect so much of the owner’s personality, allegiance to college/pro teams or causes, and hobbies. Simply look at the DMV’s site and begin to imagine the possibilities (

However, with all of the different plates available, I did not see one that honors educators and public schools. Odd that my childhood state of Georgia does this as well as other states, but the fact that my home state North Carolina does not is a little disheartening. I think has a great template for a license plate that clearly embodies the state legislature’s sentiments on public education.

first in flight

Appropriate, right? Maybe a special session of the General Assembly could make this a reality.

But for right now, I just want to concentrate on the two basic plates that the state offers – the classic FIRST in FLIGHT and the newer FIRST in FREEDOM.

Imagine if you had the ability to “test” drive license plates for those people who would be best reflected by the personalization. The irony would not only be humorous, but actually sadistic as well.



Note: If the plate is green, then it actually is available in the system.



Don’t think so. FIRST in FREEDOM and LGBT are not allowed in the same sentence in NC. But it would be a great tag when HB2 gets repealed.



Again, don’t think so. That HB2 thing.



I like this one. I can imagine many in the state who would gladly have this adorn their vehicle.



Interestingly, this one would not be allowed. Sounds like Big Brother already has taken this one away.



This is available. A great tag to have with the upcoming elections coming up.



FIRST in FLIGHT and “Common Sense”. Yep, it sure has flown out of NC. Maybe the governor could have this one.



FIRST in FLIGHT and SANITY. Dammit, someone’s gotten it!



I went middle school on this one. But the fact that it is green is hilarious since it means that it passes the filters.



FIRST in FREEDOM and EXCEPT LGBT. No truer words said.




This one wins the award for irony.



I can think of a few on West Jones Street this might be appropriate for.



Again, I can think of a few on West Jones Street this might be appropriate for.




This one is for the champions of the for-profit charter school industry. Say Sen. Jerry Tillman?



Perfect for those who want to revert back to a time when Jim Crow laws were prevalent in NC.



For Sen. Buck Newton. Also, I heard he never have turns the steering wheel left. He would rather make three rights.




Actually saw this one on Sen. Phil Berger’s car.




Rep. Rob Bryan has claim to this one.




I made this one for our current LT. Governor, Dan Forest.




The governor can put this one on his car that still runs on leaded gasoline and gets three miles to the gallon.




Do you think that the governor has a third vehicle?

With the possibilities, you can bet there will be more made for a later date.

House Bill 539 – A Surreptitious Trojan Horse Disguised as a Romance Novel With Actual Plot

This is in reference to HB539. It is a horrible piece of legislation for those who advocate for public schools. Please share. I have sent it to all legislators.

Dear Legislators of the North Carolina General Assembly,

I read with great disappointment that House Bill 539 would be brought up for a one-day concurrence vote before heading to Gov. McCrory for enactment. This is a bill that is simply meant to siphon even more money away from local traditional public schools to state-enabled charter schools.

What is beyond disappointing is that it is a recycled piece of legislation that at one time was meant to allow access to school facilities by non-school entities, such as public use of the playgrounds at elementary schools. However, in the midst of hostile revisions and secretly crafted drafts it has turned into yet another destructive attempt at hurting our public schools.

One only has to read the very first draft of the bill ( and compare it to the last draft of the bill ( to see this deliberate misuse of power. It seems like what started as a science report on photosynthesis turned into a Harlequin romance novel full of terrible metaphors limited character development – not that I have read any of those.

Some could liken this to identity theft, using the name and the appearance of a bill that seems to benefit all involved, but secretly using that façade to further selfish causes. Some could call it a Trojan Horse, making the exterior seem harmless, but hiding a destructive force within its belly. Others could call it simple hijacking.

What is ironic is that you called a special session to regulate bathrooms because of nonexistent transgender predation. You were “worried” about those who identify with a gender that may not be their birth gender. Yet you take the “body” of an originally good bill and take out the heart, soul, and guts of it and replace them with organs of greed and special interest.

On a day when the US Justice Department declared that HB2 violates the Federal Civil Rights Act, you are considering ramming a bill through the General Assembly that also discriminates. Why? Because the very local municipalities that must help support local public schools must now “share” program specific funding with charter school in their districts, even IF THOSE CHARTERS DO NOT OFFER THOSE SERVICES! However, do charter schools have to share their program-specific monies? No.

That’s treating one “person” better than the other. That’s showing favoritism when in the eyes of the state constitution no such thing should exist. Simply put, it’s discriminating.

Even more caustic is that the state is even further telling local municipalities what they can and cannot do. Just like the provision in the HB2 law that forbids local municipalities to set their own minimum wage for contracted work, this bill is government overreach. And just like HB2, this third draft of HB539 is being floated in a hurried, surreptitious fashion to avoid the light of debate and inquiry.

This is partisan politics, not true representation. This is bowing down to the wants of the few and neglecting the needs of the many.

This is one of the reasons why so many people will show up to vote on November 8th.

Stuart Egan, NBCT
Public School Teacher, Father of Public School Children, Voter

Governor McCrory, You are No “Eisenhower Republican”

Dear Governor,

I have heard many national GOP candidates make mention of their affinity for President Reagan when addressing audiences. Simply channeling “The Gipper” has become almost a necessity to make a good impression especially on those who remember the two-term president from California. His calm voice, his presence, his speech on the Berlin Wall, and his being the last POTUS to survive an assassination attempt are forever etched in my memory.

And I am not even a registered republican.

Governor, you have invoked the spirit of another beloved republican U.S. President when you began to define yourself as an “Eisenhower Republican” early in your term. And just like people such as Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz when they summon the ghost of Reagan, you are donning yourself in borrowed robes.

Why? Because you are nothing like Eisenhower.

Eisenhower built roads. Literally built roads. He oversaw the creation of the interstate highway system that linked communities and cities together. While you claim to want to create a similar infrastructure, it is odd that there are many metaphorical roads that you have allowed to erode. With supporting a Voter ID law, HB2, and tax breaks for the wealthy, you are actually enabling the burning of social bridges that is further dividing people in our state.

President Eisenhower expanded the New Deal programs started by FDR. He created the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) to implement programs to help needy individuals. “HEW” eventually gave rise to two mainstays in federal government: the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, two federal agencies that you seem to shun.

Oddly enough, your administration has enabled privatization efforts in public education with Opportunity Grants and rampant growth of for-profit charter schools. Furthermore, your decision to reject Medicaid expansion for people in your own state shows a glaring disconnect to the spirit of Eisenhower especially when almost one in four children here in NC live in poverty. Your policies have even led to reduction in unemployment benefits for many who needed them.

The former president also was known for his many press conferences. He held more of them than any president up until his tenure. He had no fear of talking to the media or reaching out to the people of the country through the press. You will not even answer questions from the media concerning HB2 and other matters that directly affect our citizens.

The late president was once quoted as saying, “I have just one purpose … and that is to build up a strong progressive Republican Party in this country. If the right wing wants a fight, they are going to get it … before I end up, either this Republican Party will reflect progressivism or I won’t be with them anymore.” He made that statement in response to a growing faction in his party of ultra-conservative, Tea-Party like politicians who wanted to drive the Republican Party further to the right.

President Eisenhower stood up to people in his own political party for the sake of principle rather than bowing to personality. But I do not see that same type of character in you, Governor. You rarely issue a veto, and you regularly kowtow to GOP cogs such as Sen. Phil Berger and Rep. Tim Moore. You seem more of the enabler than the leader when compared to the ultra-right-wing faction in North Carolina.

President Eisenhower helped to defeat the scourge of Nazism. He faced a growing threat of communism and the Cold War with stern principles, yet still maintained peace. He helped in desegregation, believing that there were “no second class citizens of this country.”

He was a man of action, not of empty words.

So, how can you truly call yourself an “Eisenhower Republican?”

Lucifer in the Flesh / “I’m Sorry” – What Ted Cruz sent a friend of mine.

With the premature selection of Carly Fiorina as a VP candidate and a ploy with Kasich to keep Trump from the nomination, Ted Cruz is banking a lot on Indiana. And the more that he maneuvers to try and pin Hoosier delegates, the more futile it seems, especially when he sends out emails like the following:


From: <>
Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2016 7:23 PM
Subject: I’m sorry






I need a favor.

This is not easy for me to ask after all that you’ve already done.

But the truth is — if I don’t ask right now, I will regret it, and you probably will too…

So today, I’m asking you to go all in for my campaign — with the biggest donation you can afford.
Because if we don’t go all in now, come November, we will watch Hillary beat Donald Trump by historic margins and win the presidency (just as every reliable poll has predicted she will).

And Dan, I have no doubt that you and I will look back on today and wish we had all been able to push just a little harder right now.

In less than 6 hours, my end of month fundraising report will be due, and just hours after that, Indiana will go to the polls.

Before I file my month-end report and before Indiana votes — I need to secure an absolute minimum of 6,263 more individual donations.

And if I’m being honest, I need more than that. Because every dollar that we can raise in the next 6 hours will be a force multiplier — meaning that if we can beat our goal by 2,000 or 3,000 donations, it will double or even triple the impact of all that we’ve raised so far.

We’re within striking distance, but we’re still behind.

The latest polling released on Indiana has Trump up by just 2 percent — 37% to 35% — well within the margin of error, but that means nothing if we don’t act NOW.

So, will you do me an important personal favor and make a donation of $100, $50, or $35 right now?

I’m sorry to ask, but I wouldn’t if it weren’t vitally important.

Please do the best you can.

Heidi and I would be so grateful.

For liberty,

Ted Cruz







We need a favor.

This is not easy for us to ask after all that you’ve already done to make this presidential election cycle a farce.

But the truth is — if we don’t ask right now, we will regret it, and you probably will too…

So today, We’re asking you to stop your campaign — with the strongest suggestion we can afford.
Because if you don’t leave now, come November, we will still watch Hillary beat Donald Trump by historic margins and win the presidency (just as every reliable poll has predicted she will).
And Ted, we have no doubt that you and we will look back on today and wish we had all been able to face reality just a little better than right now.

In less than 6 hours, your end of month fundraising report will be due, and just hours after that, Indiana will go to the polls. AND IT WON’T MATTER!

Before you file your month-end report and before Indiana votes – you say you need to secure an absolute minimum of 6,263 more individual donations.

And if we’re being honest, you need more than that. You need DIVINE INTERVENTION. Because every dollar that you raise in the next 6 hours will be not help any — meaning that if you can beat your goal by 2,000 or 3,000 donations, it will double or even triple the impact of the misery of still losing in Indiana.

You’re not within striking distance, and will always be behind.

The latest polling released on Indiana has Trump up by double digits — well out of the margin of error and WELL OUT OF YOUR REACH, but that means nothing to you because you don’t listen to common sense.

So, will you do us an important personal favor and not ask us to make a donation of $100, $50, or $35 right now?

I’m sorry to tell you this yet once again, but we wouldn’t if it weren’t vitally important.

Please do it as soon as you can.

We would be so grateful.

For sanity,

An Illegible Signature

Week in Review for April 25 – May 1 – Pay Bumps, a Trip to Hyperbole, NC, a gift from McCrory, the Buck and Curtis Show, and the GOP Playbook



In case you missed anything that you just can’t start your week without.