6 NC GOP Representatives support the firing of unwed mothers

Welcome back to the 19th Century:

H.R. 2802 This Act may be cited as the “First Amendment Defense Act”.

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Government shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

Bolding mine. This is not a hypothetical. There are several civil cases of "wrongful termination" pending right now filed by women who were fired for getting pregnant out of wedlock. While most of these women were employed by religious institutions, their previous employers were already allowed some protections in making personnel decisions based on religious grounds. But this bill would broadly expand the exemptions to include contractors, sub-contractors, grant recipients, pretty much any corporation that does business with the Federal government. And Holding, Walker, Hudson, Rouzer, Pittenger, and Meadows all think this is a good idea. In any sane world, they would have their chairs pulled out from under them in the next election because of this. But the Magic 8-Ball sez, "Yeah, and I'd like for you to stop shaking me, but that's not going to happen."

VIVA trial resumes with a look at early voting

Peppered with more duplicitous arguments from the right:

Gronke said reducing early voting days would create long lines at the polls. He cited his research on early voting in the state of Florida. Florida cut six days of early voting before the 2012 election. The reduction left voters facing long lines and waiting up to 45 minutes to cast a ballot. The final 2012 ballot was cast in Florida at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, after the polls had officially closed.

In his cross-examination, Defense attorney Thomas Farr questioned Gronke's comparison of North Carolina and Florida. He asked Gronke if he had studied the size and parking facilities of North Carolina early voting centers.

A lame attempt to make the researcher appear to have overlooked something. If this were a moot court at a marginal law school, somebody would have been embarrassed by the instructor's scorn, and it wouldn't be the witness.

McCrory wants Medicaid expansion to require job search

Which (of course) is in violation of Federal regulations:

“[Federal officials] have been giving a lot of flexibility around a lot of aspects of Medicaid expansion waivers, but requiring job search is not allowed,” Silberman said. “The position is that Medicaid is a health insurance program, not a work program.”

Even so, the stipulation may be largely beside the point, according to recent numbers crunched by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. The report found that almost two-thirds of the people who fall into the gap work already.

Once again, the facts run counter to the GOP's rhetoric and preconceived notions of how people become and stay poor. In the mind of somebody like McCrory, who hasn't done an honest day's work since he climbed down from the utility pole, a little bit of effort and voilà! You're safely ensconced in the middle class where people get all the shots they need to keep them healthy. He probably views forcing someone to search for a job as preventative medicine, approved by 4 out of 5 doctors.

The structural dynamics of voter suppression


Costs come in many forms:

The likely effects of SL 2013-381 may be understood using the “calculus of voting.” The “calculus of voting” is the dominant theoretical framework used by scholars to study voter turnout. Dating back at least to Anthony Downs’s seminal 1957 book, An Economic Theory of Democracy, researchers typically view the likelihood of voting as a formula. A person votes if the probability of one’s vote determining the outcome multiplied by the net psychological benefit of seeing one’s preferred candidate win is greater than the “costs” of voting. These costs include the effort needed to become informed about the candidates and issues. But they also include the time, resources, and activity needed to overcome the administrative requirements and other barriers to registering to vote and successfully casting a ballot.3 These are costs controlled by the state administering the vote.

These are extracts from a study presented by the plaintiffs in the voting rights case currently being adjudicated, which provides an eye-opening foray into human behavior patterns. And it shows that Republicans seeking to entrench their political control over North Carolina may be more adept in the social sciences than we previously thought:

Ellmers exposes her ignorance of Iran nuclear deal

Spouting the fear-mongering party line:

It sounds like this is a deal that Iran ran away with,” Ellmers said. “It looks like we will be funding Iran’s nuclear arsenal. This is not a deal at all.”

“We just have to stay on top of this,” she said. “There is too much to lose. We have to be strong. This is weak. … I am not sure what America gets out of this deal. It is not good for America. We need to go back to the drawing board.”

Bolding mine. With other folks, these word choices might be written off to "turn of phrase" or what have you. But in Ellmers' case, it's a good bet they're accurate. It "sounds like" the deal is bad because she's only going by what she's heard, whether from Boehner/Netanyahu or Faux news, or both. In reality, "what we get" is, among other things, the holy grail in the Iran Nuke problem, control over the enrichment of uranium and a severe reduction of Iran's stockpiles:

McCrory off on another RGA excursion

Adding to his collection of fancy little hotel soap bars:

Three Republican governors will break out their crystal balls Tuesday at The Aspen Institute as part of the McCloskey Speaker Series.

The governors will be discussing “their forward-looking solutions to the issues of health care, the economy, immigration and other areas that are pressing in their states,” says an event description.

If McCrory were forced to take sodium pentothal before going up on stage, he would probably say, "Well, in North Carolina we're hovering on a government shutdown, because instead of hashing out the annual Budget, Republicans in the Legislature have spent their time worrying about possums, protecting Confederate statues and disenfranchising thousands of voters that live in cities which prefer Democrats. Also, I'm pretty sure I shit my pants a little bit approximately twenty minutes ago, but I don't know if it's a stomach bug or that all-you-can-eat breakfast bar the hotel very graciously provides to hungry travelers like myself."

Day 4: Stifling the youth and college vote

Long live the Intervenors:

The six plaintiffs, referred to in court documents as "the Duke Plaintiffs," are students attending various colleges in North Carolina. In November 2013 they filed a motion asking to join the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, The NAACP, the U.S. Department of Justice and other plaintiffs in their bid to overturn the law.

Go and read the whole thing, and Kelly's previous entries if you haven't already. The testimony so far has been very compelling, and regardless how the judge eventually rules, these narratives deserve to be chronicled.

Foley resigns from State Board of Elections

Apparently he can take a hint:

Paul J. Foley resigned early Thursday, less than a week after the Associated Press reported that for more than a year he regularly pressed staff at the agency for updates and details about the probe targeting his firm's longtime client. He eventually recused himself, but only after elections staff learned of nearly $1.3 million in payments from Chase Burns to the law firm where Foley is a partner.

Not only was Foley caught with his meddling hand in the investigation cookie jar, he very well may be playing a role in the current lawsuit in Winston-Salem, due to his involvement in suppressing the college vote in Watauga County. All that being said, I can't help but have some suspicions over the timing of his fall from grace. We were kept in the dark about this investigation into Foley until less than a week ago, and a few days after that the BoE presents its findings that nobody did anything wrong in the whole Chase Burns fiasco. The term "convenient" comes to mind, with the word "distraction" closely following on its heels.


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