Daily dose: Black Friday edition

State workers get bus passes to help avoid Beltline crush (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Starting next week, DOT funds will pay for GoPasses – good for use on Triangle Transit and Capital Area Transit buses – for local state workers through August 2016. Eligible workers will be asked to pay a $25 administrative fee. The state offered GoPasses until the end of 2012, when officials said they didn’t have money in the budget to continue covering the $176,000 expense. This time the passes will be paid for from a $12 million fund DOT set up for other measures related to the Beltline repair project, including express buses to Raleigh from outlying towns.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/11/27/4358867/state-workers-get-bus-passes-to.html

Dwindling choices: Anti-abortion zealotry taking a toll

And (of course) women in poverty are suffering the most:

The young woman lived in Dallas, 650 miles from Albuquerque, but that was where she would have to go for an abortion, she was told. New state regulations had forced several of Dallas’s six abortion clinics to close, creating weekslong waiting lists. By the time the woman could get in, she would be up against the Texas ban on abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation.

But she could not afford the trip to New Mexico.

This is not a health sector economics issue, or an unfortunate byproduct of regulatory oversight. This situation was created intentionally, to block women from exercising their legal right to choose. And the fact that it's happening all over the country, instituted by individual state governments, is evidence of a conspiracy to take away those rights on a national scale. If that doesn't qualify for a US DOJ Civil Rights investigation, then we might as well just shut that division down. And while I find this next part admirable, women shouldn't have to rely on charity to exercise their rights:

Willoughby tries to justify misuse of grand jury

And fails miserably:

Willoughby sent many cases to grand juries during his 27 years as Wake County District Attorney. Many came back with indictments, but Willoughby said those involving officer-involved shootings did not, including a 1991 incident where Raleigh police officer Vince Kerr shot and killed an unarmed man during a drug raid.

Proving you were just as biased as St. Louis' District Attorney, and more concerned with the appearance of rendering justice, and not delivering justice itself. When you approach the process in a different manner depending on who the suspect is, you are injecting subjective bias into the proceedings. Not only does that diminish the civil rights of the victim, it diminishes the civil rights of all those other suspects you pursued with a determination to achieve an indictment. No matter how you try to explain it, it's still a mockery of the concept of "Blind Justice," and this just makes you look worse:

Daily dose: Happy Thanksgiving!

How the Turkey Became the Thanksgiving Bird (Wall Street Journal) -- This Thanksgiving, let’s spare a thought for the roughly 40 million turkeys whose destiny is inextricably linked to the fourth Thursday in November. As a symbol of national pride and family values, the humble turkey has few rivals. But how did it edge out the competition to become the quintessential Thanksgiving dish? Success was neither immediate nor assured. It isn’t clear whether turkey made it onto the menu at the original 1621 harvest-celebration meal shared among the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. Wild turkeys were plentiful; the colonist leader William Bradford noted in his diary that “there was a great store” of them. But the only surviving letter about that meal refers to four men who went “a-fowling,” which could have meant anything from ducks to swans.
http://online.wsj.com/articles/how-the-turkey-became-the-thanksgiving-bird-1417013746?mod=WSJ_hp_Rig...

Coal Ash Wednesday: "But the bugs are doing just fine!"

The biological trump rule in action:

Aquatic insect communities in an area downstream from the Feb. 2 coal ash spill appear to be thriving, according to the results of testing conducted by state environmental officials.

Using a standard sampling protocol, state scientists collected samples of benthic macroinvertebrate at two locations – one upstream and one downstream of the site of Dan River spill. During the sampling, scientists collect insects and other invertebrates from the river using nets and then record the number and species present in their samples before returning the insects to the river. Scientists can determine much about the health of the river based on the number and type of living species they collect. The populations from the upstream and downstream sites were similar and were considered “Excellent,” which is the highest biological rating available.

This is good news, for one location out of a 70 mile stretch of river, that is. Some of that spilled coal ash is now buried under a few feet of silt, but some of it isn't. I won't go as far as to imply DENR testers located a healthy spot and tested that one, although that wouldn't surprise me. But one sample out of seventy miles doesn't a clean river make. Admittedly, I'm a little out of my depth here, but these folks aren't:

The case for reparations

It's been interesting to witness another great divide occurring in American society, this time over the tinderbox known as #ferguson. It is one of humanity's great tests, and we are failing.

At issue of course is racism, a cancer so deep in our species that we deny it even exists. How can it not exist? White people brutalized black and brown people on this land for more than four centuries. The costs have been back-breaking, and the aftershocks have in no way diminished.

The white race has yet to make amends. We have not come even close.

Is Tim Moore even more delusional than Tillis?

The Magic 8-Ball sez, "It's quite possible, yes."

"We have righted the ship and dealt with what I had considered to have been a hard left turn the state had taken in the years before the Republicans came to majority," Moore said. Issues such as abortion, voting rights, gun laws and same-sex marriage have largely been dealt with and are now off the legislative agenda, he said.

"What I think I'm hearing from the caucus and from the folks out there is they want to see us govern," Moore said. "They want to see the state move forward, show that the changes done can be implemented in an appropriate manner. They want to know that the state can be run like a business, that we can live within our means."

"Hard left turn?" You're kidding, right? If anything, the Dems running the state before the 2010 debacle were moderate to conservative in almost everything they did. Even "Progressive" ideas like the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard were contaminated with corporate giveaways like Construction Work In Progress (CWIP). And for those of you who have been pleased by McCrory's hints about expanding Medicaid, don't bake a cake yet:

Daily dose: Systemic failure edition

POLICY & POLITICS
Charitable Giving Down In North Carolina (WUNC-FM) -- A new report from the Secretary of State’s office shows charitable giving in North Carolina is drastically down. Latest numbers show giving at nearly $21.5 million dollars. That’s down by more than $10 million dollars from the year before. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall says she’s not surprised the economy continues to have an effect on donations to charities and non-profits. But she is disappointed solicitors are hauling in a bigger chunk of the money.
http://wunc.org/post/charitibale-giving-down-north-

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