Bungling Burr does it again

Imagine that you're Richard Burr, trying desperately to show voters that you're not a lazy, frat-boy slacker. You really, really want the world to believe you actually know how to get somethin' done, and so you pour your heart and soul into pretending like you do. You reach across the aisle to make nice with one of America's preeminent Democratic chickenhawks, and come up with a technology encryption bill bill that does the exact opposite of what you intend. Why are we not surprised:

If the legislature wants to do something to make NC safer

If the legislature wants to do something to make NC safer, they should take the simple, proven action of decriminalizing marijuana. The GOP has already demonstrated they know how to cut and paste ALEC legislation from other states. In this case, just grab the Colorado law do a search and replace. By doing so, the General Assembly could:

Monday meme

It’s not about bathrooms, it’s about a last stand against LGBT rights

The forgotten victims of the idiotic "war on drugs"

Too young to understand, but old enough to suffer:

"They're losing their parent in those critical years of child development, and so there are some long-standing impacts," he says. "It can increase a child's mental-health issues, such as depression and anxiety, and it can hamper educational achievement in that child."

Bell says even the simplest of things such as talking to a parent over the phone can be cost prohibitive for families. "It's incredibly costly for kids and families to have telephone calls with an incarcerated parent," says Bell. "And that makes it really challenging for them to stay in touch with that parent."

That phone problem might seem trifling to those of you who are lucky enough to have not experienced it, but those incremental fees do add up. But it's also indicative of the entire legal process. It may be months before an actual court date, but if you can't come up with 10% of the bond some judge has decided is "fair," you're stuck in jail, unable to see your family except via a television screen (if you're lucky), and of course unable to work and provide for said family. The entire system, from the time of arrest to the end of probation, is filled with unequal treatment based on your ability to produce dollars upon demand. It's not supposed to be like that.

Monday News: The good old days?


NC HISTORIC PAPERS ON DISPLAY AS LAWMAKERS RETURN (AP) -- Famous papers about North Carolina's government will be on display for two days on the first floor of the Legislative Building as lawmakers start their next session. Included in the display will be the state's first Constitution from 1776, which said the General Assembly selected the government, not voters. And only free men who were at least 21 years old could vote, and only landowners could hold political office.

Rob Schofield on the myth of the bathroom predator

It's a bulging briefcase with literally nothing inside:

When I pressed him to produce one credibly documented example in which a man had dressed as a woman in order to invade a women’s restroom and then used a law that allowed entry by people based on gender identity to successfully avoid arrest or prosecution, he told me I could “Google it” and find lots of instances. As Raleigh’s News & Observer and Politifact confirmed at some length in a recent story, however, this appears to be an urban myth.

You would expect a reaction like that from a Facebook troll, but a staffer from Art Pope's faux-Libertarian propaganda machine should be better prepared. Then again, when there actually is no evidence to race around, "Google it" is about all you can say. Hat-tip to Rob and the Salisbury Post for highlighting this vicious strawman attack.

Sunday News: Time for something new

JUDGES TRY HAND AT DRAWING POLITICAL DISTRICT MAPS (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Ten retired judges will take a shot at drawing political districts for North Carolina in an experiment that they hope won’t be just an academic exercise. The simulation got underway last week at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy in a program dubbed “Beyond Gerrymandering: Impartial Redistricting for North Carolina.” The effort is led by Tom Ross, former UNC system president and now a Terry Sanford distinguished fellow at Duke.

Odds stacked heavily against overturning HB2

The politics of fear and hatred are very effective:

Could, as a Democratic legislator asked on Twitter, state Republicans push back against anti-LGBT measure H.B. 2 in the same way many have against Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy? The short answer is, “Not likely.”

“I am hard-pressed to see how rural social-conservative Republicans let this be overturned, or done away with. It’s just — I don’t see the numbers that are there,” said Michael Bitzer, Catawba College provost and professor of politics and history.

Setting aside for the moment the reality we're in an election year, and most of those GOP lawmakers don't have the spine to jeopardize their "safe seat" by doing the right thing, there's also an ego issue to deal with. After dutifully following their masters' lead and voting for something they couldn't possibly have taken the time to fully understand, to now reverse their position would prove that initial vote was reckless and irresponsible. Again, they don't have the spine. They would be admitting *two* mistakes, one of which calls their actual qualifications to serve into question.

Saturday News: Poor, Pitiful Pat edition


MCCRORY GETS TESTY: WON’T ADDRESS HB2 IN ANNOUNCING BUDGET (WCNC-TV) – Gov. Pat McCrory reacted testily, when reporters sought to ask him about HB2 during his news conference releasing his 2016 state budget adjustments. “I think I’ve, um, given plenty of comments on that question and videotapes and TV and radio interviews and my comments remain the same,” McCrory said.

BLAMING THE CHAIR: MCCRORY AND THE ‘PATSY’ (Huffington Post) -- Embattled Gov. Pat McCrory recently missed his chair and got paddled by the floor. Although we all make mistakes, not McCrory. He blamed it on the chair: This blunder and blame shifting is typical McCrory. By now, it almost seems standard procedure. McCrory makes a mistake and then he directs the blame elsewhere. Pat blames a patsy. Let me give three more examples of what I mean.


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