Rural Wifi investment

For some time I have pointed out that the best way to ensure economic development in our rural counties is to provide broadband wifi services to those areas. Free access would be ideal, but fees for service will most likely be necessary.

A letter to the editor in Saturday's News and Observer demonstrates a need for some kind of program in North Carolina that would bring wifi service to our countryside. The letter writer feels she is "sealed off from the digital age, because broadband service has not been extended to our homes."

We live in an area of Chatham County where there is no DSL or cable and weak cell signals. The best service one can get is satellite or a trip of 10-15 miles to a library when it is open…

Another straw on the camel's back: Moral Monday appeal successful

The first Moral Monday arrest case to make it to Superior Court has resulted in the trumped-up charges being dismissed.

A Wake County Superior Court judge has dismissed a trespassing case against a protester arrested at the N.C. Legislative Building in the summer of 2013 in a ruling that could have broader effect on cases still in the judicial pipeline.

Judge Donald Stephens, the chief resident Superior Court judge of Wake County, ruled the constitutional rights of Leonard Beeghley were violated when he was arrested on June 17, 2013, demonstrating against the General Assembly's new agenda.

As in recent District Court cases, the judge cited the recent US Supreme Court ruling about protests on public property.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision in June has had an impact on the cases in recent weeks.

Tillis in a tailspin

A number of polls show Speaker Tillis falling behind Senator Hagan. To turn things around, Tillis needs to climb a treacherous mountain. He needs to paint the Senator as a radical socialist who does nothing but support Obama's agenda. He needs to convince people that she's lazy, disengaged, and out-of-step with North Carolina values. That's not going to happen. None of that stuff is even remotely true, and people know it. The more Tillis beats the drum, the sillier he seems. He tried this approach in the first debate and came away looking like a schmuck.

This is exactly what happened in the State Supreme Court primary when Republican liars went after Robin Hudson with attack ads that didn't pass the smell test:

Republican oxymorons: Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr

If that doesn't get your attention, I don't know what will:

The North Carolina Republican would have to choose between two possible chairmanships: Intelligence, for which he’s next in line behind retiring Republican Saxby Chambliss, and Veterans’ Affairs, where he’s already at the top of the GOP ranks. Burr tells POLITICO he hasn’t made up his mind what he would do under a GOP majority: “I’ll wait and see if it happens.” As Intelligence chairman, Burr would be likely to take a close look at the ISIL threat, which he says he’s concerned with because intelligence agencies don’t know how many of those terrorists might hold U.S. passports. If he doesn’t take the Intelligence chairmanship, James Risch of Idaho would be next in line.

We also don't know who their favorite Disney characters are (Jafar from Aladdin comes to mind), but that may be equally inconsequential. ISIL is radically different from Al-Qaeda and other groups who try to erode the fabric of a society; they're mainly focused on taking over territory to create a (future) Islamic state in the region. An attack on US soil, while not out of the question, would be counterproductive to its goals, by bringing the full wrath of the US military might down on its head. The biggest threat right now to the American people is the possible takeover of the US Senate by the GOP.

Daily dose: Monday madness edition

CAMPAIGN 2014
Independent groups aim to help Democratic legislative candidates (AP) — Groups in the shadow of traditional campaigns are poised to once again attempt to influence North Carolina General Assembly races through ads and mailers bought with millions of dollars largely from companies and politically-minded organizations.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/groups-aiming-help-nc-legislative-dem...

New poll shows Hagan widening to 9 point lead (WRAL-TV) -- Raleigh polling firm American Insights is rolling out a new poll Monday that shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan has a 9 percentage point lead among likely voters over Republican challenger Thom Tillis. This poll is the latest in a string showing Hagan gaining ground in the campaign. Of likely voters surveyed, 43 percent said they would back Hagan, 34 percent said they backed Tillis, the current state House speaker, and 5 percent backed Libertarian Sean Haugh. "The race has unmistakably shifted towards Sen. Hagan in recent days," said Pearce Godwin, insights director for American Insights. "This poll is a continuation and affirmation of the recent trend in her direction. But there is still a lot of time left on the clock, and I would not be surprised if this volatile race shifts back to a jump ball between now and November."
http://www.wral.com/new-poll-shows-hagan-widening-lead/13982381/

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Jane's political salon: Gerry Cohen

Gerry Cohen is in our salon tonight to talk about local politics. If you have questions, drop them below.

Gerry, Jane and I go way back. Jane and Gerry met in 1977 when he was running for mayor of Chapel Hill. I eventually joined the town council and knew about Gerry's legendary service. We met eight years ago at a blogger conference. This is the first time we've had the chance to reconnect.

Moral Monday Event Sept 22 - Yancey Mitchell County

Moral Monday Citizen Advocacy and Moral March to the Polls Rally September 22

The Yancey-Mitchell NAACP will host a Moral Monday rally in Burnsville’s Town Square on Monday, September 22, from 5 to 7 PM. The Forward Together/Moral Monday movement has launched a Moral March to the Polls Campaign with Get-Out-The-Vote rallies, canvasses, voter education programs and Moral Monday actions across the state. The Moral Monday movement rallies against legislative policies that harm our communities and people. It does not promote partisan ideologies. Instead, grass roots advocates stand up for equality, healthcare, fully funded public education, a living wage, economic and environmental justice and voting rights for all North Carolina citizens! Speakers will include author and historian Tim Tyson and radio talk show host Ned Doyle.

The Typical Mountain Boys and Pete and Kim McWhirter will provide music. This event is free, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Another NC Death Row inmate about to be exonerated

The "process" is not working, Speaker Tillis, it's inherently flawed:

Then the lawyers started pushing for what they knew must exist – police files, interview notes, State Bureau of Investigation reports and physical evidence. Slowly, the Whiteville Police Department produced files and evidence that had never been given to the lawyers defending Norfolk “Fuzzy” Best at his 1993 trial.

The lawyers dug up several folders of notes and reports from the Whiteville Police Department, including a tip about a suspicious car near the murder scene 12 hours before the bodies were found. The car turned out to be stolen. The thief, a habitual felon with a lengthy criminal record in several states, reportedly told friends that he had killed an elderly couple in Whiteville.

Bolding mine. Proponents of the death penalty often claim the "process" of convicting capital offenders is thorough and fair, but that appears to be mostly supposition and wishful thinking. In reality, law enforcement often latches onto the first suspect that emerges in the investigation, and then puts on blinders as they compile evidence (real or circumstantial) on their target. Anything that leads away from said suspect is a distraction to be avoided. And then hidden from prying eyes, apparently:

Daily dose: GOP bait-and-switch edition

Ads take up education, contraceptive issues in US Senate race (Raleigh News & Observer) -- It’s rapidly reaching the season when it’s not safe to turn on your television, unless you dig political advertising. Friday was the day for both sides in the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina to launch TV ads. First up was another spot by Carolina Rising, a nonprofit that has begun spending a lot of money on behalf of House Speaker Thom Tillis. The group’s Dallas Woodhouse says the ad buy is $1.3 million and will cover the state.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/09/13/4147442/ads-take-up-education-con...

Wos: DHHS will build stability before expanding Medicaid (Winston-Salem Journal) -- “Soon.” The state’s health secretary, Aldona Wos, gave that one-word answer – filled with possibilities and ambiguities – when asked when she would recommend expanding the state Medicaid program to Gov. Pat McCrory.
http://www.journalnow.com/business/business_news/local/wos-dhhs-will-bui...

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