Saturday News: GOP voter suppression brings national shame

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KAFKA IN THE BULL CITY (The Atlantic) -- Democrats argued that the fact that Durham County calculated the votes late didn’t amount to an “irregularity” in any formal or legal sense, and that therefore there wasn’t any grounds for granting the recount. Republicans, including Stark, conceded that they had no evidence of malfeasance, but said that a recount couldn’t hurt and would only help to instill faith in the cleanliness of elections. (There’s a cynical irony to this argument, which is that Republicans in the state have spent the last three years arguing, also without evidence, that elections are tainted by widespread fraud.) The board voted along party lines, 3-2, to order that Durham conduct a recount, but decided that could be done via machine rather than by hand, a time-saving measure.
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/durham-county-recount/509423/

NC Supreme Court's mystery "rule" needs more scrutiny

And the timing is very suspect:

Some legal experts find the change curious in its timing and mysterious in its intent. Certainly it prompts questions: Will this allow Chief Justice Mark Martin, who is now to be in the conservative minority, to pick retired justices to break ties who agree philosophically with him? Is the change even legal under the state constitution?

Friday News: The HB2 effect in action

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N.C. RECRUITER NOTES HB2 AS FACTOR IN LOSS OF COSTAR (Charlotte Business Journal) – Some state officials said House Bill 2 played no role when Charlotte lost 732 jobs and a $24 million investment by real estate firm CoStar this fall. But a senior recruiter at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina cited the law as part of the reason the company instead chose Richmond. Garrett Wyckoff, senior business recruitment manager at the public-private Economic Development Partnership, wrote in an email on Oct. 25 about the failed bid to land CoStar that the cause was “local issues.” Below that, Wyckoff wrote, “Further Explanation for Closed Project: Spring 2016 Legislation.”
http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2016/12/01/nc-recruiter-refers-to-hb2-as-factor-in-loss-of...

McCrory's legacy reduced to "sore loser" status

As a wise (country music-singing) man once said: "You gotta know when to fold 'em."

“With each day, we discover more and more cases of voting fraud,” said Russell Peck, McCrory’s campaign manager in a statement Nov. 17. Um, no. The State Board of Elections issued an order Monday dismissing such protests. But while the State Board was mining grassroots details, a couple bigger questions from 10,000 feet up have gone unanswered.

If voter fraud is/was as widespread as Gov. Sore Loser has claimed, how is it that he is the only big-name Republican to lose a statewide race? Was the fraudulent conspiracy so surgical that it only took out McCrory?

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when fist-clenching Pat reads this editorial. Of course, he won't get the message and reassess his efforts to undermine the will of the voters, it will simply be more proof of the widespread conspiracy to derail the Carolina Comeback and unfairly blemish his resume'. So the fight will go on, and North Carolina will continue to be the subject of ridicule on the national stage, as people from other states gawk at us in disbelief. Thanks, McCrory.

Thursday News: Of course they do

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CIVITAS LAWYERS IN BALLOT CASE HAVE TIES TO MCCRORY (WRAL-TV) -- While Gov. Pat McCrory isn't party to a federal lawsuit seeking to have ballots cast under same-day registration rules thrown out, the two lawyers representing the Civitas Institute in the case both have recent ties to his administration. Josh Howard and Butch Bowers. Howard is a former State Board of Elections chairman whom McCrory appointed in 2013 and served through much of 2015. Bowers is a South Carolina lawyer who represented McCrory's office in litigation over the controversial House Bill 2 as well as the sweeping elections measure a federal appeals court struck down this summer.
http://www.wral.com/civitas-lawyers-in-ballot-case-have-ties-to-mccrory/16292285/

Junior Berger gives thumbs-up to pollution of Blount's Creek

I'm sure daddy is very proud:

68. Petitioners argued that DWR underestimated or understated the effects the proposed discharge will likely have on the Blounts Creek aquatic ecosystem, including effects on flow, pH, salinity, benthos, fish, and the existing biological community of Blounts Creek.

69. DWR’s findings and inferences regarding the predicted effects of the proposed discharge fall within “specialized knowledge of the agency.” As such, the undersigned is required to give such facts and inferences “due regard” pursuant to the APA. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 150B-34(a).

The above excerpts are mild in comparison with a lot of other language in this order. Usually, you'll find deference to opposing views/positions in these point-by-point decisions, but Berger went out of his way to toss in "not convincing" and "failed to prove" wherever he could. I also find the timing of this order questionable. Had he made this decision before the Election, it might have kept him from winning a seat on the NC Court of Appeals, if enough anger and outrage could have made it into print. Grrr.

Van der Vaart playing his Trump cards with a vengeance

"Hey! Look at me! Look at what I'm doing over here!"

North Carolina Environmental Department Secretary Donald van der Vaart sent a letter Monday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy urging an immediate halt to so-called midnight regulations finalized in the waning days of an administration. “EPA should avoid the inevitable court challenges against new environmental rules and allow the president-elect and his designees to consider their impact,” the letter says. “Please do not force states such as North Carolina to once again join coalitions to overturn hastily prepared and adopted rules.”

I would give you more, but apparently Politico has decided to require payment for much of their content, giving you a one paragraph "teaser" with an embedded link to "Politico Pro." Apparently they have me confused with somebody who a) has money and b) is inclined to spend it on Politico. Anyway, it looks like van der Vaart needs to squeak a lot louder, because the top EPA jobs may already be taken:

Wednesday News: The unconstitutional party

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GOP MUST ACCEPT APPEALS COURT ORDER, MOVE ON NONPARTISAN REDISTRICTING (Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial) -- The federal Court of Appeals’ order late Tuesday offers the General Assembly an opportunity to move ahead with nonpartisan redistricting. Fighting the order will just cost time and waste taxpayer dollars. The court ordered the legislature, by March 15, 2017 to draw new state House and state Senate districts. The deadline, the court said, “will allow the Court enough time to consider whether the State has remedied its unconstitutional gerrymander and to act if it does not.”
http://www.wral.com/editorial-gop-must-accept-appeals-court-order-move-on-nonpartisan-redistricting-...

The struggle to save Belhaven's hospital continues

And the LLC that owns it has some serious internal conflicts:

A superior court judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday to stop the demolition of the old Pungo Hospital building after some members of Pantego Creek LLC, which owns the hospital, filed a complaint against the four managers of Pantego Creek.

“The mangers of Pantego Creek LLC ... and their lawyer, Arey Grady, represented to the members that if we voted to continue operation of the hospital, we would each be held personally liable for $28,000,” the affidavits said. “Because of this, 79 out of the 105 members voted against operating the hospital.”

It appears the "managers" engaged in a sustained effort to misinform members about potential solutions to the crisis, probably in an effort to line their pockets somewhere down the road. I can't help but recall some of the "pay me twice" shenanigans people like Robert Pittenger have pulled on unsuspecting associates when looking at this situation, and come to the inevitable conclusion that "limited liability partnerships" have a hell of a lot more liability than their smiling salesmen would admit. Here are more "we'll tell you what we think you need to know" jewels:

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