Monday News: Making children cry a new religious pastime

Pride & Prejudice in Charlotte: Christina Woodruff of Huntersville is only 10 years old, but she learned a very grown-up lesson about bigotry this weekend at the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade in uptown. “I was just standing there and a man told me that I was a child of the Devil,” said Christina, who is parented by a same sex couple. “I wanted to punch him, but my mom stopped me. I cried instead.” Conservative religious groups have long provided sideline heckling at Charlotte’s annual gay pride celebration, including a group this year that tried to drown out Mayor Jennifer Roberts during the opening ceremony Saturday.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article97033432.html

The ABC's of Kenny West's sexual harassment

Registering a 9.5 on the Creep Scale:

By the time B started working in Meadows' office in early 2014, West already had a reputation for inappropriate behavior toward women, she said. "I was told, 'Hey, by the way, you probably don't want to wear your hair in a ponytail when Kenny's in town, because he really likes to play with girls' hair when it's in a ponytail for some reason, and he seems to touch girls' hair a lot,' " she said.

West "would make comments and remarks that made me feel uncomfortable and also (was) very touchy," Witness C said. "He would place his hand on my shoulder and on my back." She said comments were "nothing explicit or anything blatant, just things that didn't feel appropriate."

As disgusting as it is to contemplate, physical contact of this sort is a form of "grooming." Predators often do this to gauge the reaction of the individual, to determine if that person is submissive enough to escalate. And this (admittedly hearsay) account is suggestive that such escalation did occur on at least one occasion:

Sunday News: Revulsion over Hate Bill 2 growing

HB2rainbow.jpg

10 STATES, DC, FILE BRIEF OPPOSING HB2 (Durham Herald-Sun) -- House Bill 2 on its face will have absurd results, and more broadly threatens the travel rights of transgender people protected by the laws of other states, attorneys general for 10 states and the District of Columbia argue. Speaking via a friend of the court brief, the 11 supported the U.S. Department of Justice’s request for an injunction against the bill’s strict gender-separation mandate for “multiple occupancy” bathrooms on public property.
http://www.heraldsun.com/news/states-d-c-file-brief-opposing-hb/article_3c13a75a-670a-11e6-9b9a-a714...

The true costs of anti-abortion movements

Proving the "women's health" excuse is a dangerous myth:

From 2000 to the end of 2010, Texas’s estimated maternal mortality rate hovered between 17.7 and 18.6 per 100,000 births. But after 2010, that rate had leaped to 33 deaths per 100,000, and in 2014 it was 35.8. Between 2010 and 2014, more than 600 women died for reasons related to their pregnancies. No other state saw a comparable increase.

In the wake of the report, reproductive health advocates are blaming the increase on Republican-led budget cuts that decimated the ranks of Texas’s reproductive healthcare clinics. In 2011, just as the spike began, the Texas state legislature cut $73.6m from the state’s family planning budget of $111.5m. The two-thirds cut forced more than 80 family planning clinics to shut down across the state.

It might seem obvious to say Texas is big, but you really can't grasp the size until you try to drive your car from one point to another. I live between the Triangle and the Triad here in NC, and I can drive to the beach and back, or Asheville and back, in about 7 hours. It doesn't work like that in Texas, where it takes 8-10 hours just to get somewhere. And now, many women must travel that distance just to go to a clinic, which also means paying for 1-2 nights in a hotel. And make no mistake, several Republicans in the NC Legislature are looking to Texas for guidance on how to make that happen here:

Berger finally speaks on UNC Center, reveals true nature of program

And the partisan underpinnings are plainly visible:

Senate leader Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, said the concept originated with citizens who wanted to leverage university expertise to address state and local policy challenges. The collaboratory “was fleshed out and refined” through conversations with the UNC chancellor’s office, he said in an email.

“I have received numerous complaints about the existing philosophical and partisan homogeneity at UNC, where professors registered as Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of roughly 12 to one,” Berger’s email said. “On several occasions I have recommended highly-qualified conservative candidates for positions at UNC and within the university system, and, to my knowledge, none have been hired to date.”

So your solution for that "imbalance" is to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to create an entity friendly to Conservative views and scholarship(?), and use that entity to give credibility to ineffective or counterproductive environmental policies. Gotcha. And who were these "citizens" who supposedly thought this up in the first place? I don't expect an answer to that question any time soon. If they actually exist outside of fiction, we likely won't be able to figure that out until the Center starts cranking out "research." But we'll be watching. Until then, here's what could be a warning:

Saturday News: It's all about the Veto

DEMOCRATS CONFIDENT OF BREAKING 'SUPER-MAJORITY' IN NC HOUSE (Charlotte Observer) – Last month’s sudden resignation of Mecklenburg County lawmaker has boosted Democratic hopes of breaking the Republican grip in the General Assembly. It would be one of four seats Democrats need to crack the GOP’s “super majority” in the 120-member House – the number needed to over-ride a gubernatorial veto. Analysts say Democrats stand a good chance to win those – and more.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article96713727.html

The Elevator Queen of quid-pro-quo

Cherie Berry has some questions to answer:

He pointed to contributions totaling $10,000 from Ronald Cameron, the chairman and CEO of Mountaire Farms, a large poultry producer based in Delaware. Mountaire Farms has had a previous workplace death and had three open cases before the labor department earlier this year, Meeker noted.

Cameron, who lives in Arkansas, was Berry’s largest contributor, Meeker said. Executives for Mountaire did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday afternoon. “This is not right,” Meeker said. “North Carolina citizens deserve better from our public officials.”

The lack of ethics among GOP elected officials is astounding. And their lame denials all seem to be written by the same incompetent fool:

Burr should have kept his mouth shut about TPP

Because it opened the floodgates for criticism of his other trade deals:

Ross, a former state representative, has not made the trade deal a key point in her campaign but said she opposes TPP. “I have always said that I am against TPP,” she said. “We need to protect American workers and we need to stop trade agreements. It hurts the middle class.”

Burr decided to go after her only because he wanted “to mislead the public about his record on trade,” she said. “He voted for NAFTA,” she said. “He voted for CAFTA. He told people he wasn’t going to vote for trade deals, and he did.”

Open mouth, insert foot wearing a loafer with no socks. And this lame attempt at damage control is even worse:

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