Gameplan 2017: A roadmap for change

Four steps to a better North Carolina:

While not every district in the state must be redrawn, almost every district near a major city will be. And despite the fact that the same folks who drew the maps last time will be allowed to draw the maps this time, the result will almost certainly be a significant increase in the number of competitive seats. The only question is whether we can get folks to go vote in a special election.

So here’s the opportunity: Use the 2017 special election to break the supermajority in at least one of two chambers. If we can do that, we will be able to sustain Gov. Cooper’s vetoes, and that will completely change the political landscape by putting a crucial check on the absolute power currently held by the GOP.

Bolding mine. In order to override a Governor's Veto, both houses must succeed in doing so. Making our task not nearly as difficult as some may be thinking. But take it from somebody who just ran a campaign in an odd year (2015), voter turnout is a huge nut to crack. In my election, only about 11% of the population took part, and the average age was ancient. Most of those folks had voted for the same people numerous times, and any sort of change was viewed as reckless. So making sure that people are aware of the 2017 Election, and how important it is, will be job one:

Wednesday News: Free market cruelty

THE N.C. DOG FACTORY: INSIDE SICKENING WORLD OF PUPPY MILLS (Rolling Stone) -- The house on Hilton Lake Road was unremarkable, a brick one-story with an under-watered lawn and a scrimshaw of patchy shrubs. It was flanked by bigger and smarter homes on a two-lane strip in Cabarrus County, but nothing about it suggested to passersby that inconceivable cruelty lived at this address. It wasn't till we opened the side-yard entrance that the horror inside announced itself. A stench of complex poisons pushed out: cat piss and dog shit and mold and bleach commingled into a cloud of raw ammonia that singed the hair in our nostrils.
http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/the-dog-factory-inside-the-sickening-world-of-puppy-mil...

NC's coastal officials take head-in-the-sand approach to Climate Change

Unwilling to take actions to minimize rising sea-levels:

N.C. State University researcher Brian Bulla surveyed local officials in 20 coastal counties and found that knowledge of the science behind climate change didn't make officials more willing to prepare their communities for impacts like sea-level rise.

To Bulla, the findings raised concerns. “It seems to suggest that just providing people − whether public officials or the general public − with more or better information is not necessarily going to increase adaptive action,” he said.

Unfortunately, (municipal) elected officials have an annoying tendency to kick the can down the road. It's not strictly a coastal phenomenon, although development may play a more influential role in the region than in other areas. If you take an approach not popular with developers and the realtors who profit from them, you can quickly find yourself just another citizen, while somebody else is warming your seat on the city council or county commission. But before you jump to the conclusion this is a Republican "effect," take a look at some of the findings. (taken from the abstract, the full report costs a few $$):

Tuesday News: Better skip Maaco

LEGISLATURE’S TAX HIKE MEANS CALLING THE HANDYMAN WILL COST YOU MORE (Charlotte Agenda) -- Calling the handyman is now likely to cost you more, thanks to a new expansion on sales taxes. Effective this week (New Year’s Day, to be precise), a lot more services are now subject to sales taxes. It’s a continuation of a new tax plan that lowers overall North Carolina tax rates but broadens the scope of things that are taxable. Some of the newly taxable things include: Minor home repair, Re-keying doors, Hardwood floor refinishing, Kitchen cabinet replacement, Swimming pool cleaning
https://www.charlotteagenda.com/76755/home-repair-in-charlotte-just-got-more-expensive/

Texas judge backs religious "freedom to discriminate"

Slouching towards theocracy:

A federal judge in Texas on Saturday issued a nationwide injunction halting enforcement of Obama administration protections for transgender and abortion-related healthcare services just one day before they were due to go into effect.

Explaining the lawsuit, O’Connor wrote, “Plaintiffs claim the Rule’s interpretation of sex discrimination pressures doctors to deliver healthcare in a manner that violates their religious freedom and thwarts their independent medical judgment and will require burdensome changes to their health insurance plans on January 1, 2017.”

I'm sure many of them feel the burden of keeping their medical license current also thwarts their judgment, why don't we do away with that, too? Because we expect medical professionals to operate within the guidelines of their governing bodies. And why do we expect that? Because we don't live in the 14th Century anymore.

Monday News: Civitas attacking voters again

POPE CIVITAS RENEWS SAME-DAY REGISTRATION CHALLENGE (Winston-Salem Journal) -- An alt-right think tank has informed the State Board of Elections and six county election boards, including Watauga, that it has renewed its review to challenge same-day registration policies. With De Luca’s letter, Civitas is renewing accusations of voter rolls “fraught with ineligible voters, unverified voters, active felons and voters who don’t live in North Carolina.”
http://www.journalnow.com/news/elections/local/civitas-renews-same-day-registration-challenge-over-n...

Misogynist Meadows strikes again

Worried about all that money being spent combating campus rape:

Incoming Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) suggested that the incoming Donald Trump administration reverse a set of President Obama-era guidelines aimed at combatting campus sexual assault, saying it wastes money and that it denies protection to the "often-innocent accused," USA Today reported Friday.

"The Title IX guidance document on sexual assault and campus rapes has pressured colleges to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, and to create vast campus bureaucracies which drain tuition revenue, to investigate allegations of sexual assault (primarily date rapes, the incidence of which may be overestimated), and virtually dictates one-size-fits-all procedures which provide less protection to the accused, and deny the often-innocent accused basic due process rights," it reads. "As a result, many complainants are discouraged from reporting rapes to the local law enforcement."

I can't adequately express how disgusted with this man I am. Apparently the "Freedom Caucus" is more concerned about the rights of pussy-grabbers than they are the rights of female college students to not be assaulted. I shouldn't have to say this, but he runs again in two years, and *this* story needs to be part of the opposition's campaign.

More "rats in lifeboats" saved by McCrory

Golden Leaf or golden parachute?

McCrory Chief of Staff Thomas Stith and former state budget director Lee Roberts are joining the Golden LEAF board, an economic development body which oversees distribution of more than $1 billion paid by cigarette companies.

Stith’s wife, Yolanda, was appointed as a commissioner of the state Industrial Commission earlier this month during a special legislative session that also cut back on Democratic Gov.-Elect Roy Cooper’s powers. Stith’s job pays more than $127,000 a year, WRAL reported (http://bit.ly/2hE7Uz3).

Although the Golden Leaf Board itself receives no compensation other than a modest expense reimbursement, the volume of grant money they handle is huge, making them some of the most influential individuals in the state. These are also slots that (by right) should be filled by the incoming Governor, and not the dude the voters kicked out of office. As I mentioned before: They didn't just vote for Roy Cooper, they voted for a Cooper administration. These appointments by McCrory might be legal, but they are also a violation of the public trust, something the GOP has refined to an art form.

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