Daily dose: Arrested for seeking justice edition

Equal protection protests lead to arrests at NC legislature (AP) -- More demonstrators at the North Carolina Legislative Building were arrested Wednesday after advocating equal protections for gays, immigrants and the uninsured in the wake of last week's Supreme Court rulings.
http://www.wral.com/medicaid-expansion-gay-rights-on-minds-of-nc-demonstrators/14748342/

Six arrested at N.C. Legislative Building (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Six demonstrators were arrested on Wednesday while protesting the NC General Assembly’s refusal to extend Medicaid to an estimated 500,000 people eligible under the Affordable Care Act. They also were advocating for gay and immigrant rights.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article26014330.html

Allowing Greensboro's voters a referendum a "dealbreaker" for GOP

The blatant abuse of power is breathtaking:

The revised bill emerged in the House on Wednesday afternoon in the form of a conference report. It was written by a joint House-Senate committee that wasn’t fully formed until Tuesday afternoon.

Hardister said Wednesday that he sent word to the conference committee that he wanted the bill to include a referendum. “The referendum was a deal-breaker for a majority of the conference committee. I floated it.” The result, he said, was a compromise. “You don’t get everything you want in the legislative process.”

Pretty sure the voters in Greensboro would say "You don't get anything you want in the Legislative process." The most dumbfounding aspect of this story: Republicans feel justified in taking these abusive steps exactly because Greensboro residents would never approve them. How is that for absurdity? "This is the only way we can make this happen, so it is by default a 'legitimate' action." And you're right, it's straight out of George Orwell.

NC's "chronic" failure to feed the hungry

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This is not what we mean when we say "slow food":

In a letter to the state's health agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said North Carolina social services workers failed to approve applications within the required 30-day window, or one week for emergency applications. In 2013, the state processed those applications an average of 75 percent of the time, ranking fifth from the bottom when compared to the rest of the country.

That means North Carolina lags behind neighbors Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina and even territories such as the Virgin Islands and Guam.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Swimming in industry propaganda

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Duke Energy hires a professional liar to represent their interests:

Rudo and Duke’s expert, Lisa Bradley, a nationally known expert in coal ash toxicology, also clashed over the chemical element vanadium. They split over whether the state had issued “do not drink” recommendations to dozens of well owners based on vanadium findings less than those people routinely encounter safely in everyday life.

“So you’re getting more in your daily vitamin than you would drinking water at that screening level,” Bradley said of the state’s trigger level for issuing “do not drink” warnings for vanadium found in wells.

Daily dose: Even DENR doesn't like it edition

State regulators critical of environmental overhaul bill (WRAL-TV) -- As the Senate prepares to debate a massive overhaul of regulations, mostly environmental, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources sent a letter Tuesday opposing the measure.
http://www.wral.com/state-regulators-critical-of-overhaul-bill/14747352/

DENR opposes bill that would overhaul NC environmental regulations (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Republican lawmakers have renewed their efforts to overhaul the state’s environmental regulations, proposing dozens of changes that one activist has decried as a bill to protect polluters.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article25837480.html

Daily dose: The never-ending Session edition

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NC lawmakers signal deal on funding to keep state government going (Raleigh News & Observer) -- General Assembly lawmakers signaled a possible agreement late Monday on a way to keep state government funded as it lapses into a new fiscal year without a new budget. The House approved a funding bandage that essentially continues the current year’s spending levels until Aug. 14 – ideally enough runway for the legislature to finalize and send the governor a new, two-year spending plan, which will not be ready by the new fiscal year starting Wednesday.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article25801657.html

Black churches are burning in the South

And the perpetrators simply can't be found:

As African Americans in Texas and North Carolina contemplate rebuilding three more churches destroyed by fire, a phalanx of federal investigators moves across the South, searching for evidence linking the latest attacks to the burning of 29 other black churches in the last 18 months. So far, investigators have yet to uncover evidence of a "national conspiracy." The bulk of the attacks appear to be "random" acts of vandalism, the work of "teenagers" and "copycats" rather than hardened conspirators.

It is worth observing that the absence of any organized conspiracy may make the phenomenon of church burning more, rather than less, disturbing. Far easier to abide the idea of a tight-knit group of racist fanatics than to accept the alternative that we live in a time when a substantial number of individuals, unconnected with one another or with organized white supremacist groups, regard burning black churches as a plausible act, worthy of emulation.

That article was written nineteen years ago, and this was written only yesterday:

SCOTUS-Another Big Decision!

This is a really big deal. SCOTUS rules in favor of the people of Arizona vs. their own state government.

In response to complaints that the state legislature was engaging in partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, Arizona voters approved an independent commission to draw district lines in a 2000 ballot initiative. The commission has two Republicans and two Democrats, who legislative leaders choose from a list composed by the state's Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, in addition to a chairman who may not be a member of either party.

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