Daily dose: Pack your bags edition

Warning signs for group homes emerge amid budget stalemate (WRAL-TV) -- The prospect of big changes in group home resident Eric's life came up earlier this month when Easter Seals, the nonprofit that runs the group home where he lives, gave notice to the state and local mental health agencies that they would close the Zebulon group home and seven others across the state. Four of those homes serve adults with mental illness, while four others serve adults like Eric with developmental disabilities. In all, 40 people would be affected. Officials with Easter Seals insist they took the decision to close these homes based on their waning ability to care for the aging residents with the dollars available, not any systematic problem with how the state and local governments manage group homes. However, mental health advocates worry that, if a large, well-run nonprofit finds it challenging to keep up with the needs of residents, smaller companies are surely feeling the economic pinch as well.

How about a little Arsenic with your softball?

So much for the beneficial uses of coal ash:

A softball field at South Brunswick Middle School remains closed after coal ash was found beneath the surface more than a year ago.

The coal ash was identified last year, several months into a project to renovate the existing field. According to district operations staff, a county engineer overseeing the original construction of the field in 1992 used coal ash–a free, readily available material from nearby the nearby Cogentrix plant–to fill the field.

In this context, the definition of "free" is: If you will take this toxic mess off our hands so we don't have to deal with it ourselves, we would greatly appreciate it. And as long as we refuse to categorize coal ash as a hazardous waste, stupid things like this are going to continue to happen.

VIVA trial update: Plaintiffs rest their case

Amidst more innuendo and nonsense from Phil Strach:

Dr. James LeLoudis II, an historian who specializes in the history of North Carolina and the American South, was called to the stand as a witness for the Plaintiffs on day ten of the federal lawsuit seeking to overturn VIVA.

Strach asked Leloudis if current black lawmakers enjoyed equal participation in the General Assembly. Leloudis said he was concerned about the broader political system and all citizens having a voice. "Policy comes out of an inclusive process," he said.

Hell, I'm not sure many members of the Republican majority enjoy "equal participation" in the process, much less African-American Dems in the minority. Debate has been stifled, Representatives have been strong-armed in caucus chambers, legislation has been rewritten and crammed through the voting process before people can even catch a breath. The outrages have been non-stop, and the African-American leader of the minority party Rep Larry Hall has to struggle just to get a few words in edge-wise. Equal participation? Don't make me laugh.

Daily dose: Cause & effect version


Presidential Candidates Denounce Violence, but Avoid Talk of Policy (New York Times) -- The morning after the theater attack in Lafayette, La., the third deadly mass shooting in six weeks, the presidential candidates acted as though they hadn’t seen the news.

Charlotte Pastor Brenda Stevenson to pack heat from the pulpit (Charlotte Observer) -- Next month, she will take the pulpit with a gun by her side

More on Tillis' attack against Planned Parenthood


Using female veterans to engage in right-wing kabuki theatre:

"I was disappointed yesterday to see my Republican colleagues try and manipulate a good veterans bill — a noble bill — for political purposes," the Democratic leader said, adding that Republicans "put Fox News ahead of the welfare of American veterans."

But Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who lead the Republican push to change Murray's bill, quickly fired back, saying his amendments weren't "political attacks."
Three amendments he said were focused on improving government efficiency, while another would prevent the VA from working with organizations "that take human aborted babies' organs and sell them."

Pardon my French, but what a putain de idiot. In one sentence he says it isn't political, and the next he throws out the newest and stinkiest political meme. If Thommy boy is trying to style himself after Donald Trump, he's off to a good start.

VIVA trial update: Voter fraud "exceedingly rare" in NC

Verified statistics vs manufactured fear:

Dr. Lorraine C. Minnite is an associate professor in the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers and the author of The Myth of Voter Fraud. Minnite took the stand as an expert witness for the Plaintiffs on day nine of the federal lawsuit challenging VIVA.

In an expert report offered to the court on February 12, 2015, Minnite concluded that voter fraud is "exceedingly rare" in North Carolina and VIVA's photo ID requirement and elimination of same-day registration are unjustified.

The plaintiffs may wind up their part of the case today, but we have yet to see the defense's shenanigans arguments, so you may want to roll up your pant legs.

Daily dose: Extreme Court approves vouchers


NC court upholds taxpayer-funded grants for private schools (AP) — A divided state Supreme Court ruled Thursday in favor of a Republican-backed program that spends taxpayer money on tuition for students at private and religious schools.

NC Supreme Court says vouchers are constitutional (WRAL-TV) -- The North Carolina Supreme Court says voucher opponents failed to prove the state's opportunity scholarships are unconstitutional.


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