Saturday News: Pat's Charlotte love affair ends in tears


CHARLOTTE OBSERVER OPPOSES MCCRORY FOR FIRST TIME IN 25 YEARS (Politico) -- The Charlotte Observer has endorsed Democrat Roy Cooper for governor over Republican Pat McCrory, breaking a 25-year streak of endorsements of the North Carolina incumbent. In a blistering take-down of a candidate whom the publication has backed in 11 separate elections dating back to 1991, the Observer's editorial board writes that McCrory finally "[rose] to the level of [his] incompetence." Blasting the controversial HB2 legislation that restricted in-state restroom facilities to single-sex usage as McCrory's "hateful and self-defeating" legacy, the board writes that the governor failed "to return the state to its stature as a progressive leader in the South."

Defending democracy: Voter registration deadline extended in flood-ravaged counties

Thanks to a lawsuit by Democrats:

A North Carolina judge late Friday afternoon ordered the state voter registration deadline extended in 36 counties reeling from Hurricane Matthew and resultant flooding. Wake Superior Court Judge Don Stephens gave the order to push the deadline from Friday to Wednesday.

“If the deadline is not extended, then thousands of voters in a critical swing state risk total disenfranchisement in a hotly contested election,” lawyers representing the Democratic Party wrote. They originally sought the extension for the entire state, but Stephens limited it to counties getting help from FEMA.

It may only be a few extra days, but that short extension will be critical for many suffering from this tragedy.

Voices rising to extend voter registration deadline in light of Matthew damage

From the flooded trenches in Fayetteville:

Hunt says he's disappointed in the board for "choosing not to provide adequate relief to eligible voters" unable to register when Hurricane Matthew shut down local boards of elections and other registration sites. Registration deadline is today, but the board has told local officials to accept mailed-in registrations that arrive late. The board also notes that same-day registration is available at all early-voting sites, which will be open from Oct. 20 through Nov. 5.

At this point, it's not clear that all early-voting sites will be able to open by next Thursday. It's fortuitous that the courts struck down state voting reform legislation and that same-day registration is still an option. But it may not be enough in some of this state's hardest-hit communities.

No doubt the State Board is concerned local boards will have difficulty processing voter registrations while also preparing for early voting to begin. But that difficulty pales in comparison to the difficulties faced by those whose homes are (still) under water in much of Eastern North Carolina.

Friday News: A Blue NC emerging?

CLINTON LEADS IN N.C. FOLLOWING TAPE RELEASE (USA Today) -- Hillary Clinton has pulled ahead of Donald Trump in a new North Carolina poll, though she is within the margin of error, following the release of a video from 2005 where the Republican nominee discusses groping women. Clinton led Trump 45%-43% in a Suffolk University poll in the Tar Heel State released Thursday. Libertarian Gary Johnson had 5% support. While Clinton and Trump are still neck-and-neck, her new edge is a reversal from last month when Trump was at 44% and Clinton was at 41%.

JLF uses Hurricane Matthew to attack NC's REPS

Because natural disasters are a great opportunity for propaganda:

And then there are the inhabitants of the so-called “free market think tanks” funded by those fun-loving fossil fuel barons, the Koch Brothers, and their not so silent junior partner from North Carolina, Art Pope. Take a gander at a column released yesterday by the Director of Regulatory Studies at the John Locke Foundation. In it, the author argues – we are not making this up – that the mass, storm-related electricity outages of recent days lead to one overriding conclusion: North Carolina must reduce its commitment to renewable energy and the law (the “Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard” or “REPS”) that requires public utilities to derive a proportion of their electric load from renewables.

Everybody needs to understand why Koch and Pope's Puppets are so dedicated to overturning REPS in NC (and other states): Because it's working. The REPS was designed to create a demand for renewable energy, thus driving up production of Solar panels and wind turbine parts, which (in turn) would bring the costs down to a competitive range.
What you won't hear from people like JLF's Jon Sanders is how much those costs have already dropped:

Burr's anti-worker stance should be a game-changer

He wants to keep many people working for nothing:

He said the tendency of the Obama administration to implement regulations without the participation of Congress has made investors gun-shy. An example, he said, is a federal rule scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1 that will raise the pay threshold below which workers must get overtime pay from $455 a week to $913.

The amount has been unchanged since 2004. Supporters say it will put more money into the pockets of workers and keep businesses from treating some salaried workers unfairly by making them work extended hours without extra pay. Opponents say the increase is too large for employers to stomach all at once and businesses will hire more part-time workers or take other steps to get around the coming rule.

That current threshold puts people making $25,000 per year into a potentially devastating situation. Depending on the overtime hours required, it could keep them from working a 2nd part-time job. Or keep them from attending night school, or force them to pay for unnecessary child care, etc. If the (unpaid) overtime is only 10 extra hours per week, their hourly wage is about $8.90. But if it's closer to 20 extra hours per week, that wage plummets to $7.60 per hour. On a friggin' salary. Keep in mind, that (new) max threshold represents an annual salary of $47,476. Which in this economy ain't what it used to be, and very well may be the only income of the household. Granting them overtime protection is not radical, or "exorbitant." The word you're looking for is "fair."

Thursday News: Tick-tock, tick-tock

VOTER REGISTRATION ENDS FRIDAY (Kinston Free Press) -- With less than a month to go before the November election, time is running out for unregister voters. Friday is the last day to register to vote in North Carolina, unless the State Board of Elections decides to extend the deadline in response to Hurricane Matthew hitting Eastern North Carolina over the weekend. "So far, they have not told us of any kind of decision like that," Dana King, director of the Lenoir County Board of Elections, said.

Conflicting stories of 7 year-old Muslim boy beaten on Cary school bus

Here's what the father says happened:

The parents of the first grader said he was beaten by five students on a school bus, allegedly while they made references to Muslims and the boy’s Pakistani heritage. Abdul Usmani’s father, Dr. Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani, told BuzzFeed News that his wife and three sons have left the US for Pakistan after this latest incident in a long history of discrimination towards his children and family.

“These are six and seven year old kids calling him names, with one kid punching him in the face, while two other kids attacked him, kicked him, and held his arms back,” Usmani said of his son. He described his son “as American as you can get.” “They keep beating him all the way from school to home on the bus,” Usmani said of the ride home from Weatherstone Elementary School in Cary, North Carolina, last Friday.

Before you assume this dad is blowing things out of proportion, read his bio. He's done a lot of work on anti-terrorism data modeling, including trying to reduce casualties from suicide bombings. But the strangest part of this story is how I found out about it. A Facebook friend from another state posted this, so then I tried to find local coverage, and this is all I could find:

NRA spends $4.5 million to keep Burr in DC

And now we know why Burr resisted the "No Fly, No Buy" effort:

As of Tuesday, the NRA had poured $36.3 million into the 2016 election, breaking its own record of $31.7 million from just two years before, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. The blitz cements the NRA’s status as a key cog in Republican electoral efforts.

The NRA has portrayed Clinton as an existential threat to gun rights. The group argues she would nominate Supreme Court justices “who will overturn” the Second Amendment. In down-ballot races, the group has spent $4.5 million on the North Carolina Senate race, about 90 percent of that attacking Democrat Deborah Ross, who is in a tight contest with incumbent Republican Richard Burr.

Apparently being an obstructionist makes you a lot of powerful friends. Unfortunately, many in the "law and order" crowd aren't smart enough to connect the dots between Burr's blocking of judges and justices and his blocking of laws designed to protect us, with that crazy dangerous world they are so afraid of. A Congress that is deadlocked thanks to people like Richard Burr simply can't adapt to developing threats. Which is exactly what the NRA wants, because the fear and uncertainty that results from inaction is great for gun sales.


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