Daily dose: "Probe yourselves" edition

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Women’s Bodies Safe from North Carolina Lawmakers, For Now (New York Times column) -- There is no shortage of absurdly creative (or creatively absurd?) attempts by lawmakers around the country to prevent women from controlling what happens inside their own bodies. Depending on where they live, those seeking to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion must endure, among other things, waiting periods of up to 3 days, medically inaccurate lectures , or trips of hundreds of miles to reach the closest operating clinic that hasn’t been shut down on false pretenses. But for the purest expression of paternalistic condescension, wrapped in a bow of bodily invasion and delivered via an unequivocal violation of the First Amendment, it is hard to match the transvaginal ultrasound laws that have proliferated in recent years. North Carolina’s version — which finally died Monday morning when the Supreme Court declined to consider the federal appeals court ruling that struck it down — forced doctors to subject a woman seeking an abortion to an ultrasound exam (generally via a wand inserted into her vagina), position the sonogram so she is able to see it and, even if she “averts her eyes” and “refuses to hear,” describe to her what it is depicting.
http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/15/womens-bodies-safe-from-north-carolina-lawmakers-for-...

Must read: Saunders on Saunders

Some of our icons don't deserve adoration:

This resistance to reunification was organized by the KKK and in North Carolina led by Saunders. The KKK and the Southern resistance succeeded in defeating Reconstruction, and Saunders was one of the architects of that “victory.”

One of the reasons the UNC trustees named the building after Saunders in 1920 was his leadership in the KKK. There is no doubt about that. So it’s important to recognize the trustees of the university as well as the vast majority of lawyers and judges at that time supported the defeat of Reconstruction and the denial of rights to black citizens. These are the very individuals who should have supported “justice for all” under the United States Constitution and failed to do so.

Daily dose: Falling into the gap edition

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Michelle's story: Closing the health insurance coverage gap (Mountain Xpress) -- In 2013, Gov. Pat McCrory and the General Assembly chose not to expand Medicaid to those with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty line. Consequently, North Carolina is among a minority of 24 states not receiving federal Medicaid expansion funding. This decision has created a coverage gap for over 500,000 North Carolinians like Michelle whose income does not qualify for ACA coverage. Those in the coverage gap include workers in retail, tourism, food services and construction industries. “Because I am enrolled in school and don’t have any income, I was told by the ACA reps that I should enroll onto my husband’s coverage,” she says. “This would cost us $800 a month, and with only one income, we couldn’t live on what would be left over.” So Michelle decided to go without health insurance while she was pursuing her degree.
https://mountainx.com/opinion/michelles-story-closing-the-health-insurance-coverage-gap/

Why "performing an act" in North Carolina sounds icky

If evidence of the absurdity of Senate Bill 2 hasn't hit home by now, it never will. Also known as the "Bigots for Berger's Re-election Bill,” it allows county magistrates to opt-out of performing marriages that conflict with their closely held religious bigoted beliefs. And God knows North Carolina has some bigots. Fancy, salaried bigots for sure. Whether on a local, county or state level, these principled bigots enjoy their financial livelihoods at the expense of North Carolina’s taxpayers. While words like "opt-out" might sound purposefully important, “cop-out" seems more appropriate. As Taylor Batten writes in the Charlotte Observer; "I now want in on Senate Bill 2", a positive side to this absurdity might be floating to the top.

To BergerMoore, determining the rights of individuals is a game to play

Duck, duck, goose:

The House met five times with an override on the calendar – but did not take it up. On June 4, five lawmakers were absent, but Moore didn’t call for a vote. On June 9, a different five were away. Again, no vote. And so on. On Thursday, in a span of less than 10 minutes, Moore brought up the override; watched as Republicans cut off debate with a procedural move; and then locked the vote in.

Moore said the override “reaffirms the support ... to protect the conscience of magistrates in performing these duties while at the same time ensuring that marriage services are available.”

The only thing it "reaffirms" is the growing hesitation and doubt lawmakers have over the morality of allowing government officials to pick and choose which citizens to help based on religion. It also "reaffirms" the GOP needs to be watched like a hawk to keep them from relegating other citizens to "second class" status.

Bully boy Brock pushes partisan education boards

Stacking the deck in Davie County:

Brock has not responded to inquiries seeking comment. He told the Statesville Record & Landmark two weeks ago that he included Davie County — at the request of the Davie County Republican Party — in a bill that makes school board elections partisan in three other counties. Davie County was included on the third and final reading of the bill, unbeknown to five of the seven school board members and Superintendent Darrin Hartness.

In Davie County, the leadership of the Republican Party is primarily made up of individuals — including Ridenhour and Drechsler — who opposed the recent $54.5 million bond referendum to build a new high school.

Get that? The Republican Party leaders aren't pissed off Democrats are spending too much, they're pissed off the voters (in an R+47 County) were *allowed* to vote on a new high school. A vote that passed 54% to 46%, by the way. Why put up with the hassle of Democracy when you can just rule like a tyrant?

Daily dose: Picking losers and losers edition

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NC school choice group may get OK to decide who gets money (AP) — A non-profit group that has lobbied to increase public charter schools and private education vouchers could soon be in charge of allocating taxpayer money to new and proposed charters to help get them started.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/nc-school-choice-group-may-get-ok-decide-who-gets-money-2905521

Daily dose: Carolina Fallback edition

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DOING THE MATH: ‘Carolina Comeback’ coming up short (WRAL-TV) -- Numbers out this week from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis paint a less rosy picture of North Carolina’s economic health. According to GDP figures for 2014, the state's economic growth last year was 1.4 percent –well below the national average and far short of the state's 2.3 percent growth in 2013. It's below the regional average for the Southeast, which is 1.7 percent. South Carolina, by comparison, posted a 2.2 percent growth rate. Georgia's GDP grew 2.3 percent, and Florida's grew 2.7 percent.
http://www.wral.com/is-the-carolina-comeback-slowing-/14708364/

NC GOP takes another swipe at small businesses

Wherever there's a service rendered, there's money to be squeezed out:

The plan, backed by Senate leader Phil Berger, would tax a variety of services that are currently exempt from charging sales tax: veterinarian visits; pet grooming; and repair, maintenance and installation on personal property such as cars. The taxing would begin Oct. 1 and would generate an estimated $202.9 million for the state in fiscal year 2016-2017.

It’s part of a massive Senate economic development and tax proposal that also includes personal and corporate income tax cuts – the next step in a Republican-led effort to shift more of the tax burden from income to sales taxes.

It appears the Bergermeister has been drinking the free-market Kool-Aid too long, and has forgotten the basics of a consumer-based economy. Here's a definition of Commerce: "Exchange of goods or services for money or in kind, usually on a scale large enough to require transportation from place to place or across city, state, or national boundaries." In order to generate said Commerce, a multitude of individual commercial transactions must take place. You can't have the macro without the micro. Every time you exert pressure on that point of sale for goods and/or services, you will change behavior patterns to a certain degree, and the result could be (and sometimes is) devastating.

North Carolina's Bloodlust Sport

Governor McCrory and the state legislature support wildlife killing fields. For effortless deer kills, North Carolina allows property owners to lure state animals onto private property and then fence them for slaughter. Private deer farms also supply animals for the death sport. Killing captive animals does not fall under the definition of hunting. It is death for pleasure.

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