The Puppetmaster has arrived

Now that Art Pope has made the New York Times Magazine, we can all say "I knew him way back when he just another retail slumlord dedicated to preserving his low-income customer base." Be sure to read the article, wherein Mr. Pope is featured as one of the four most effective oligarchs when it comes to voter suppression. Congratulations, Mr. Pope. You've arrived.

NC's Opportunity Deficit Only Getting Worse

I noted Rob Christensen’s article in Sunday’s N&O and his point that North Carolina’s unemployment rate has gone up for 4 straight months and yet the NC Senate wants to cut funding for 8,400 teachers assistants.

That unemployment rate is going to go up, not down. Explain this to our GOP electeds? Even if we chose the least confrontational manner possible to point out that in 59 of our 100 counties the public school system is the county’s largest employer, it would not change the minds and votes of our GOP leadership.

Why? Because they no longer consider the people of North Carolina as their constituents. They don’t feel they need to answer to us. They don’t feel a need to even explain themselves. They are following the governing model of cheap labor conservatives and they will force that into place in our state no matter how many of our people are hurt by it. They don’t answer to us anymore.

Confederate racism denial journal

Pay no attention to the redneck behind the curtain:

“We’re not here to promote racism. That’s not what the flag is about..."

“The KKK took the flag and made it racist, and that’s not what it’s from..."

"...the people out here don’t look at it as racist. It’s just our ancestry.”

Yes, an ancestry of buying and selling people like cattle, based on the color of their skin and their ancestry. The journal continues:

Daily dose: Governor McTravel headed to Cali Koch donor party


McCrory among 15 elected officials who scored invites to exclusive Koch brothers’ donor retreat (Washington Post) -- Seven sitting governors including North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory, six incumbent senators and two House members — all Republicans — have flown to Dana Point, California this weekend for the Koch donor network conference. NOTE: The Washington Post is one of nine news organizations allowed in to cover the traditionally private confab, on the condition that the donors present not be named without their permission.

Weekend mystery-solving: Why is coal baron coming to Raleigh?

And what kind of business is he going to conduct?

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship wants a judge to let him take a business trip to North Carolina. Blankenship made the request Friday in federal court in Beckley.

Blankenship's request says he wants to take a three-day trip to the Raleigh area sometime between Aug. 17 and Sept. 18.

I do love a challenge...

VIVA trial update: 3-way closing arguments

The judge plays devil's advocate for both sides:

Defense attorney Thomas Farr called the Plaintiff's demands " completely unprecedented." He said the Plaintiffs were ordering the state to take up certain practices in order to maximize minority participation. If voting laws had to address all the challenges facing poor voters "there would be no end to it," he said.

Judge Schroeder said same-day registration and early voting were popular with the public. "The point is, they made voting easier," he said. "Government should make voting easier."

Bolding mine. I sure hope the judge pays close attention to those words, because the defense just made the plaintiff's case. We're not asking to "take up" any new practices, just restore what was already in place before Republicans got rid of them. And they got rid of them to minimize minority participation.

Daily dose: Take the money and run edition


Ex-head of McCrory’s economic development group got $30K bonus (Policy Watch) – Richard Lindenmuth, the former head of North Carolina’s public-private economic development group, cashed-in with a $30,000 “stay” bonus in January, an enticement that only kept him at the new endeavor for three months.

Daily dose: Godwin's Lawmaker Rabin edition

NC senator compares political correctness to Nazi book burnings (Raleigh News & Observer) -- State Sen. Ronald Rabin, a Harnett County Republican, said Thursday that a national push for politically correct language as akin to book burnings led by Nazi Germany. “There is no difference between all of this stifling of free speech and the book burnings that the Nazis did,” Rabin said during a floor speech.

VIVA trial update: More "surprise" evidence brought out

Standard Operating Procedure for the party of lies and misdirection:

Neesby was was explaining a chart he had created from Board's voter registration statistics when Plaintiff's attorney Josh Kaul stood up and objected. "We've never seen this before," said Kaul.

Neesby said the chart he presented was culled from data given to the Plaintiffs' team in January and June. Judge Thomas Schroeder overruled Kaul, saying Neesby was using data the Plaintiffs already had.

This is really not the same thing as giving your opposition reams of documents, and then selecting only one to present as evidence. A chart is meant to demonstrate a "pattern," and that pattern becomes the evidence presented. In the absence of having the chart beforehand, it's nearly impossible to verify the accuracy or relevance. And the fact the judge didn't immediately recognize that is further evidence of some previous misgivings brought up here at BlueNC about said judge.


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