Saturday News: Gerry Mandering has been served


COMMON CAUSE SUES OVER NC CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS (Charlotte Observer) -- While redrawing congressional districts this past winter, Republican state lawmakers emphasized that the new lines were meant to keep Republicans in control of 10 seats in North Carolina’s delegation, leaving three seats for Democrats. That explicit partisan intent is the target of a lawsuit filed Friday seeking to overturn the districts.

Burr's Medicare "coupon" plan bad news for seniors

Nothing more than back-door privatization:

Under the proposal, the eligibility age would gradually increase from 65 to 67 over 12 years. It would also start a transition to a system dominated by private insurance plans.

Private plans would compete with a government-sponsored program, a retooled version of today’s Medicare, the Associated Press reported in 2012, when the proposal was announced.

While average life expectancy may have increased, much of that is due to breakthroughs in medical care. And if somebody can't access coverage they've already paid for until they reach 67 (65 is bad enough), their chance of reaching the ripe old age of 90 (or even 80) is seriously in question. Which may be one of the hidden goals of Burr's plan: Once they're gone, the cost of keeping them alive is gone, too.

Friday News: Sorry. No can do

APPEALS COURT REJECTS REQUEST TO POSTPONE VOTER ID RULING (AP) -- An appeals court has quickly decided it won’t delay enforcement of its ruling striking down North Carolina’s photo identification requirement and other election restrictions, including reducing early in-person voting by seven days. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the stay Thursday, one day after state leaders’ attorneys requested that last week’s ruling be set aside as they prepare to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case.

More fodder for the anti-Clinton crusaders

Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't:

Former President Bill Clinton will be in Raleigh on Friday, but he’ll be here for meetings and fundraisers that aren’t open to the public. A post on Hillary Clinton’s campaign website on Wednesday said Bill Clinton planned to “discuss the pipeline from college to full-time employment.” The post didn’t include further details but provided a link for supporters to sign up to attend.

The post was deleted Wednesday night. A Clinton campaign spokesman said Thursday that the visit from Bill Clinton would be “for fundraising events and political meetings.”

In the wake of all the complaints about Bubba being on the front pages of newspapers during the Convention, why should we be surprised (or upset) when he takes a behind-the-curtains profile? I realize the really juicy stories are released around close of business on Friday, but come on.

Dismantled: SELC's comprehensive report on the GOP's horrific environmental record

Read it, bookmark it, and share it widely:

By 2013, the legislature had cut the budget of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (now the Department of Environmental Quality) by 40 percent, greatly diminishing its capacity to protect the state’s air, water, and land. In 2013, the new state administration even changed the mission of the agency to clarify that it is a “customer service” agency where science contains a “diversity of perspectives,” and employees were admonished not to be “obstacles of resistance” in carrying out their charge to protect the environment. With each passing week and each new policy, it becomes clearer that the customers the Department of Environmental Quality serves are the polluters, not the citizens of North Carolina.

The report gives a brief summary of all the advances in environmental stewardship that took place in the two decades leading up to the Republican takeover of state government, but what it cannot detail is the massive loss of institutional knowledge that 40% cut produced. Read the whole thing, there's a lot of information that can help a layperson understand all the challenges we face, and what needs to be done to mitigate those problems.

Thursday News: Raising Kaine edition

KAINE BLASTS PENCE, MCCRORY ON LGBT ISSUES (Politico) -- Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine urged North Carolina voters to go “forward, not backward” on LGBT issues at a rally Wednesday afternoon, pushing them to support not only his running mate Hillary Clinton for president but also Democrat Roy Cooper for governor.

More on Ken Rudo's damning deposition

It's no wonder Duke Energy wanted this information sealed:

North Carolina’s top public health official acted unethically and possibly illegally by telling residents living near Duke Energy coal ash pits that their well water is safe to drink when it’s contaminated with a chemical known to cause cancer, a state toxicologist said in sworn testimony.

“The state health director’s job is to protect public health,” testified Rudo, who has been the state’s toxicologist for nearly 30 years. “And in this specific instance, the opposite occurred. He knowingly told people that their water was safe when we knew it wasn’t.”

Hoo, boy. This is one screwup by the McCrory administration that's not going away anytime soon. And the timeline involved is damning in itself:

Voting confusion caused by the GOP, not the courts

And the wasted time and money fall on their shoulders, as well:

Existing television spots to educate voters about North Carolina's voting requirements are being canceled. One million informational posters and push cards going to community groups and others are outdated and most likely headed for the trash. Binders carefully created as elections bibles for each of the state's 2,700 precincts now must undergo a heavy edit.

Election officials are scrambling to comply with the ruling, in effect returning to the voting rules as they existed before August 2013. Other federal court decisions this year siding against North Carolina had already made it more difficult for voters to navigate the elections process. Some voters told The Associated Press this week the confusion is likely to grow.

Yes, all of that is unfortunate, but there are two (important) things to remember: 1) We wouldn't be in this mess if Republicans hadn't attempted to entrench their power by disenfranchising groups of potential voters based on the color of their skin, and 2) Protecting the Constitutional rights of citizens is paramount, and easily eclipses any administrative difficulties that may result from that protection. I've also seen the Carolina Journal "speculating" that, due to this court ruling, individual county boards of election could actually severely reduce the hours and locations for early voting. Make no mistake, that is not an "academic" observation, it's an attempt by Pope's minions to advise those county boards and make that happen. If you know any of those "lone" Democrats sitting on county BoE's, make sure they don't join the other two R's in reducing those hours and locations. If the vote is not unanimous, it has to be approved by the State Board before being enacted. Let's not make it easy for them.


Subscribe to BlueNC RSS