Daily dose: The party of obstruction and coercion edition

Lawmakers put gubernatorial nominations on hold until appointments law settled (WRAL-TV) -- After a three-judge panel delivered Gov. Pat McCrory a victory over lawmakers, House and Senate leaders struck back Monday night by putting the governor's nominations to key posts on hold.

NC backers of Loretta Lynch go to DC to lobby senators (AP) -- North Carolina residents unhappy with announcements by their two U.S. senators that they'll oppose the nomination of Greensboro native Loretta Lynch as attorney general are heading to Washington to try to get them to change their minds. The state NAACP chapter said a women's coalition along with state president the Rev. William Barber were slated to travel to Washington Tuesday for a news conference. The advocates also wanted to meet with Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

McCrory's victory dance will be short-lived:

Er, the Bergermeister hates losing, Pat. I'd lay heavy odds this will be appealed to the Supreme Court, and since the Legislature is in charge of funding the court system, methinks this ruling will be reversed...

North Carolina's constitutional circus

After watching an unending string of their unconstitutional laws be obliterated by the courts, Tillisberger passed a law (itself unconstitutional) requiring lawsuits against their unconstitutional laws to be heard by a three-judge panel. They figured that this might, through some (ahem) "judicious" judge shopping, allow their unconstitutional laws to remain in force.

They never expected that Deputy Assistant Governor Pat McCrory would get off his leash just long enough to file suit against one of their unconstitutional laws, and they surely didn't expect he'd win.

Pat McCrory's not-so-magnificent economic recovery

For all of Pat McCrory's talk about the so-called Carolina Comeback, you'd think we'd be dancin' in the streets from joy about the economic conditions here in the Old North State. Unfortunately, hizzoner can't tell the difference between delusion and reality, as this report from the Budget and Tax Center shows:

Growth without prosperity: Economic output has rebounded nicely since the worst days of the recession, but it is not translating into larger paychecks for many North Carolinians. Adjusting for inflation, gross state product—which measures the value of all goods and services sold—is up 18.5% compared to 2007, but wages are actually down slightly.

Economic Development Partnership cloaked in secrecy

Concealing hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars offered to private corporations:

The partnership, an idea pushed by Gov. Pat McCrory, has been up and running for just under six months. Its enabling legislation and changes to the state’s public records laws create broader exceptions that allow more documents to be withheld.

John Lassiter of Charlotte, chairman of the group’s board, said he’s asked the partnership’s general counsel and CEO to study how they will handle public records. “I do understand there is some potential that if in fact a company is not relocating here, those records are not public,” Lassiter told the Observer. He said disclosing such records can hurt recruiters by revealing their “secrets” and making executives fear their communications with the state will become public.

If any of these Partnership big-wigs had a personal stockbroker who refused to reveal what/when/why/how much he was investing of their money, they would fire his ass and maybe take him to court. Well, guess what: It's our money these guys are playing around with, and if the Legislature has given them the authority to conceal that information from us, they all need to be fired, and maybe taken to court. We're not talking about peanuts here:

Daily dose: Pittenger the propagandist edition

TERRORISTS AT YOUR DOORSTEP: Pittenger says prepare for terrorist attacks (Charlotte Observer) -- Rep. Robert Pittenger of Charlotte says it’s time to pack a new emergency bag and update your evacuation plans in preparation for another terrorist attack. One critic says his “how to” terrorism handbook for constituents is “pretty irresponsible.”

Backroom meetings for our backwoods folk

If secretive meetings are a mainstay of Republicans in Raleigh, perhaps it's because they learned their lessons from the good ol' boys running the show in many of North Carolina's western-most counties. That seems like a reasonable conclusion to draw from this solid piece of investigative reporting from Carolina Public Press.

In the 15 counties where closed session numbers were made available, boards of commissioners held a total of 294 closed sessions, the investigation showed. Only fragments of these back-room conversations ultimately go public, in procedures that seem arbitrary at times, our investigation of county board meetings found. For 75 percent of the closed meetings, the minutes remain sealed and away from public scrutiny.

There are some legitimate reasons for closed meetings, reasons which must be announced in advance of the closed meeting. But judging from this article, many county commissioners seem to think that what they do is none of the public's business. Hence the steady stream of graft, back-scratching, favoritism, and nepotism that comes from secret discussions.

NC Republicans targeting metro voters

Raleigh and Charlotte about to be "blessed" with a nauseating PR campaign:

For Republicans, Mecklenburg and Wake are more than North Carolina’s most populous counties. They’re windows into the future of state politics. That’s why the N.C. Republican Party last week launched what it calls “Project Listen,” a concerted effort designed to improve the party’s brand in the state’s biggest counties.

“That’s the place to start,” says GOP strategist Paul Shumaker. “This is just a first step in what needs to be an ongoing process for the Republican Party to remain a competitive, viable force.”

Apparently Shumaker has stumbled upon a new cash cow to milk, at least until his Republican funders realize they would have to actually change their behavior (radically) to woo urban voters. And that's not even taking into consideration the GOP's current attempt to punish Wake County for electing all Democrats to the County Commission. And to kick off a "Project Listen" campaign by refusing to allow a debate about a public referendum is so laughably ironic, I'm afraid to type anything more about it for fear it will throw the entire Interwebs into a logic loop.

Daily dose: McCrory administration failing the sunshine test


Requests for NC public records result in long waits, fees (AP) -- In July 2013, the office of Gov. Pat McCrory announced the sudden resignation his public safety secretary after only six months on the job. The statement said Kieran Shanahan was leaving to spend more time with his wife and focus on his law firm, but persistent whispers around the state capital suggested there was more to the story. In response, The Associated Press filed a public records request that September for emails Shanahan sent or received while secretary. Nearly 19 months later, AP is still waiting. So far, the N.C. Department of Public Safety has managed to produce about 500 of Shanahan's emails, including the automated updates from his spam filter. But about 2,600 emails remain, waiting to be cleared for release.


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