Some details on NC voter rights case

In bench trials, there's only one opinion that matters:

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder has given lawyers arguing against and for the changes between two and three weeks to make their case in a bench trial that could test the constitutionality and sweep of new voting rules adopted in Republican-led states.

The trial begins almost a month before the 50th anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act, which knocked down state and local efforts to keep African-Americans from voting.

I tried to find a stream or a live-blog to follow, but no luck so far. If anybody reading this finds something like that, please drop it in the comments or send me a message and I'll do it. Here are the three main issues being adjudicated:

Wind farm sprouting near Elizabeth City

And it's going to be a big one:

The $600 million project by Spanish developer Iberdrola Renewables LLC will put 102 turbines on 22,000 acres near the coastal community of Elizabeth City, with plans to add about 50 more. Once up and running, it could generate about 204 megawatts, or enough electricity to power about 60,000 homes.

Florida, Alabama and Georgia have signed contracts to start importing wind power from other regions to help with fuel price volatility. Wind farms have been proposed in Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama and other areas, the industry group said. Still, without state renewable energy mandates like North Carolina's, the growth could be slow going, experts said.

Which is something dinosaurs in the General Assembly like Rucho and Hager just can't seem to grasp: The REPS isn't a "burden" on the people of North Carolina, it's a catalyst for economic growth and a magnet for energy entrepreneurs. And every time they try to attack it, they show just how poor their reasoning skills are.

Daily dose: Court is in session edition

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Effects of changes on minorities at crux of NC voting trial (AP) — Changes to North Carolina's voting access rules finally go to trial this week, with a judge ultimately determining whether Republican legislators illegally diminished the opportunity for minorities to participate in the political process.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/effects-changes-minorities-crux-nc-voting-trial-2932671

Federal trial in NC voting rights case scheduled to begin (AP) — A voting rights trial stemming from three federal lawsuits challenging provisions of a 2013 North Carolina law is getting under way.
http://www.greensboro.com/news/north_carolina_ap/federal-trial-in-nc-voting-rights-case-scheduled-to...

Those burdensome regulations

Among all their other train wreck policies, the NC GOP has made it a priority to "reduce these burdensome regulations", meaning they've spent a lot of time and effort gutting environmental and human safety regulations because sometimes those get in the way of a little bit of additional money in corporate fatcats' pockets.

It hasn't taken all that long for the results of their corporate allegiance to come home to roost. No one knows if the tragic deck collapse on Emerald Isle might have been prevented, but we do know that thanks to Neal Hunt and the NC GOP, Emerald Isle officials have no opportunity to perform routine deck inspections. Because freedom And profits.

At issue is a 2011 state law that says towns may make periodic inspections of residential properties only when there is “reasonable cause” to believe unsafe conditions exist. Emerald Isle Town Manager Frank Rush said that law prevents the town from inspecting beach houses unless there’s a complaint.

Timeline of the Chase Burns/Paul Foley debacle

Jerry over at Watauga Watch is keeping an eye on this story:

April 19, 2013: Democracy North Carolina files a formal complaint about the Burns contributions with the SBOE, which at that time still has three Democrats and two Republicans sitting on the board. Democracy North Carolina wants to know if the contributions were made using corporate, rather than personal, funds, and was someone other than the contributor directing who received the money?

April 25, 2013: A majority on the SBOE agree that an investigation of Burns is warranted and is therefore set in motion.

April 26, 2013: Newly elected Gov. Pat McCrory replaces every board member on the SBOE to reflect the results of the 2012 elections: three new Republican members and two new Democratic members. Paul Foley is one of the Republicans appointed. The Burns investigation is already underway.

This is actually in the middle of the timeline, but it's a critical juncture: It's the point where it becomes obvious that Governor McCrory is not only watching, but he's also starting to sweat the outcome, and decides to take some action. And Foley's subsequent and apparently obsessive interest in the investigation strongly suggests the "why" he was chosen for the new board:

Daily dose: Jim Crow Jr. on trial edition

Voting Rights Legacy of the ’60s Heads to Court as N.C. Law Is Tested (New York Times) -- Days after South Carolina confronted its past and lowered the Confederate battle flag, North Carolina will grapple with present-day rules that determine access to the voting booth. A federal trial in Winston-Salem on Monday will determine whether sweeping changes in the state’s election laws discriminate against black voters. These changes were adopted by the Republican-dominated legislature in 2013 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act ending a requirement that nine states with histories of discrimination, including North Carolina, get federal approval before altering their election laws.
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/12/us/a-voting-rights-legacy-of-the-1960s-heads-to-court-in-north-car...

Offshore drilling: Industry propaganda vs reality

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The myth of oil exploration coming to the rescue of a failing economy:

For years, Newfoundland and Labrador were known for being net recipients of financial aid from other Canadian provinces. As the fishing industry struggled, they steadily lost population.

That all changed in the early 2000s when companies began drilling in earnest along their coasts. Between 1988-2002, offshore bids brought in $900 million; from 2003-2014, bids yielded $2.4 billion.

That's $2.4 billion accumulated over 12 years. That distinction is important, especially in light of Newfoundland and Labrador's projected $1.1 billion deficit for this fiscal year:

Daily dose: Speaker for Cleveland County edition

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NC House speaker has new job working for Cleveland County (Raleigh News & Observer) -- N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore was hired this week as the new county attorney for Cleveland County, where he lives. Moore, a Kings Mountain Republican in his first term as speaker, will advise the Cleveland County commissioners during their twice-monthly meetings and represent the county in any legal action. His contract, signed Tuesday, calls for him to receive a $25,000 annual retainer and bill at $250 per hour he spends working for the county.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article26989441.html

Daily dose: Coop eating McCrory's lunch edition

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In 2011, McCrory held an 8 point lead over a face-to-face challenge to Perdue. In 2015, McCrory faces a 2 point deficit against potential Democratic challenger Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper. Just 57 of voters who label themselves “somewhat conservative” say they back McCrory for re-election. Four years earlier, 70 percent of those voters were backing McCrory.
http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2015/PPP_Release_NC_70915.pdf

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