Friday News: The high cost of bigotry

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FORBES PUTS HB2 TAB AT LEAST $630 MILLION (Forbes) -- The fate of North Carolina’s controversial HB2 hangs in the balance of Tuesday’s election. The ‘Bathroom Bill’ is the colloquial, if crude, name for the state’s HB2 law that has cost the state at least $630 million in lost business since March, according to FORBES’ estimates. And that number could go even higher. Fans of HB2 are few, yet its defenders are staunch. Governor Pat McCrory has doubled and even tripled down on the embattled legislation while it remains a topic of jest for late night comedians and a source of pain for NC business.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/corinnejurney/2016/11/03/north-carolinas-bathroom-bill-flushes-away-near...

Raleigh folds, anti-abortion nutters to move in next to clinic

And you think your next-door neighbor is bad:

Hand of Hope filed a federal lawsuit in September, arguing that the city violated its First Amendment rights to get a message out to a specific audience and its equal protection rights under the Constitution because city planning guidelines would allow churches, civic clubs and other groups to locate on the property.

“We are thankful for the city zoning staff’s review and common sense determination. If a nonprofit civic club like Kiwanis or a religious group like a church can locate at this property, surely we should be free to provide pregnant women free pregnancy resources and share the love of Jesus with them here,” said Hand of Hope Executive Director, Tonya Baker Nelson in a statement.

Just curious, does Jesus have a family insurance plan, that will cover 80% of the medical bills for the pregnancy? Is he going to whip out his checkbook or charge card and bring home a bunch of diapers and formula? Will Jesus be coming over to babysit during the day so mom can go to work and pay the rent? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Reuters details the NC GOP's concerted attack on early voting

Pulling back the veil, and it ain't pretty:

In emails, state and county Republican officials lobbied members of at least 17 county election boards to keep early-voting sites open for shorter hours on weekends and in evenings – times that usually see disproportionately high turnout by Democratic voters. Reuters obtained the emails through a public records request.

The officials also urged county election boards to open fewer sites for residents to cast ballots during early voting that began on Oct. 20 and ends on Saturday.

And it's looking like the GOP's efforts are bearing fruit, of the rotten and un-democratic type. African-American turnout numbers appear to be down at this point, as compared to 2012. While some may speculate that Obama not being on the ticket has played a part in that lower turnout, GOP shenanigans on the local level are likely a bigger factor:

Pay-to-play Pat waters his Lending Tree

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Business as usual for the ethically-challenged Governor:

State officials say LendingTree has received a state grant of nearly $4.9 million and will more than double its presence in North Carolina’s largest city.

McCrory resigned from the board of Tree.com, LendingTree’s corporate parent, after winning the 2012 election, and then later received a six-figure payout while serving as governor. He has insisted he did nothing improper or illegal.

He can "insist" all he wants, but this makes Tammany Hall seem like a bunch of schmucks in comparison. Why is this not leading the news cycle? Here's a clue, waiting until November 9th to dig into this story is not a good idea.

Thursday News: State of insanity

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JUDGE IN N.C. VOTER CHALLENGE CASE LABELS PURGES 'INSANE' (AP) -- North Carolina's process for challenging voters' registration seems to harken to a bygone era when fewer safeguards were in place, a federal judge said Wednesday as she presided over a lawsuit that alleges voters are being purged unfairly. U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs said the process sounds “insane.” “This sounds like something that was put together in 1901,” she told lawyers for the state. Biggs also said she was “horrified” by the number of removals in Cumberland County, which accounted for most of the state total. “It almost looks like a cattle call, the way people are being purged,” she told county attorney Rick Moorefield.
http://www.fayobserver.com/news/north_carolina/judge-in-n-c-voter-challenge-case-labels-purges-insan...

The NC NAACP files lawsuit to prevent voter purges

The sinister side of those campaign mailers:

In the weeks and months leading up to the November 8, 2016 general election, county BOEs throughout North Carolina have been removing large numbers of eligible, registered voters from the voter rolls, in response to coordinated and targeted en masse change-of-address challenges brought under the State’s voter challenge statute by a handful of individuals.

According to the State BOE, in Beaufort, Moore, and Cumberland Counties alone, a small number of individuals have recently challenged the registration of approximately 4,500 voters, based exclusively on mass mailings that were returned as undeliverable. The overwhelming majority of these challenges were brought in August and September 2016, less than 90 days before Election Day. Similar challenges may be occurring in other North Carolina counties as well.

While part of me hopes this situation is dealt with quickly and the purges are stopped, another part of me wishes this case could climb all the way to the (US) Supreme Court. They had no business gutting parts of the Voting Rights Act, and the targeting of African-American voters with these challenges proves their assumption we live in "post-racial" times was both flawed and naive. Here's what happened to some of these voters:

In his own words, Burr is unfit to serve another term

The sheer arrogance is mind-boggling:

Last Saturday, during a private meeting with supporters in Mooresville, Burr promised, despite earlier statement to the contrary, to continue to block judicial appointments if a Democrat is elected president. “If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that four years from now, we’ve still got an opening on the Supreme Court,” Burr boasted. “This is not tough for me. I have the longest judicial vacancy in the history of the United States in the Eastern District of North Carolina.”

It's one thing to refuse to do your job, resulting in a crisis in our system of justice. But to actually be proud of that, to consider it a "worthy" characteristic? That's so childishly narcissistic it defies an adequate description.

Wednesday News: Can't ask, won't tell

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QUESTIONS CENSORED AT MCCRORY TOWN HALL IN WAKE FOREST (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory appeared at what was billed as a town hall-style meeting, but Ann Welton, president of the Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce said she changed the format because most of the questions from the audience were about hot-button issues like House Bill 2 and coal ash. Instead, McCrory only responded to questions about the economy, heath care, mental health, infrastructure and the recovery from Hurricane Matthew.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/wake-county/article111942192.html

Tuesday News: The party of dirty tricks

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NC'S NAACP SUES STATE OVER ALLEGED VOTER SUPPRESSION (WUNC-FM) -- The state chapter of the NAACP is asking a federal court to stop local elections boards from canceling voter registrations. The lawsuit says the court should restore thousands of voters who have been removed from the rolls in Moore and Beaufort Counties because of individual challenges. "Voter fraud is not the issue, but voter suppression is real, it's planned, it's intentional and it's ongoing against the African-American community," Barber said Monday during a conference call with reporters.
http://wunc.org/post/ncs-naacp-sues-state-over-alleged-voter-suppression#stream/0

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