VIVA trial update: Defense begins with dubious "expert"

Methinks "real clear" doesn't mean what he thinks it means:

Defense attorney Thomas Farr introduced Sean Trende as an expert witness Monday afternoon. Trende, who is Senior Elections Analyst for the website Real Clear Politics, described himself as an expert in 'Psephology.'

Trende said he was asked to place North Carolina voting law in a "national context." He said he would use his expertise in regression analysis to examine the effect of H.B. 589 on minority voters.

Here we go. This is shaping up to be like one of John Hood's painful, twisting forays into, "If you can't beat them, bore them to death."

When friends turn into Obama-hating zealots

Wallace McLendon of Chapel Hill penned an enlightening op-ed about his encounters with former friends who had been seduced by the dark side of money and bigotry, and I think it's as good a time as any to face some undeniable truths. Topping the list of those truths: Friendship requires at least a modicum of respect. Friends are somebody you can come to with your problems, and maybe together figure out the best way to solve them. Friends are also there to keep you in check, to stop you from buying snake oil and other wasteful ventures. But how can you respect somebody who judges an individual or an entire race based on the color of their skin? How can you respect somebody who worships at the altar of Faux News and Breitbart, or whatever source of "news" that reinforces their prejudices while wildly misinforming them? The answer is, you can't. You might be able to tolerate such a person in short bursts, as long as the door is in sight. But true respect is simply not in the equation. Nor is true friendship, so cutting that person loose is not something to feel shame or regret over.

Daily dose: Anonymous killer edition

NC Senate to take up execution protocol changes (Raleigh News & Observer) -- As botched executions across the country have turned the public focus toward methods used to kill death-row inmates, the state Senate is poised to take up a bill that would hide the supplier, manufacturer and dosage of lethal drugs used for capital punishment in North Carolina.

Executions, firearms, revenge porn on Senate calendar (WRAL-TV) -- The state Senate has a busy calendar Monday night that includes bills aimed at restarting the death penalty and making "revenge porn" a felony.

Chief Justice Martin's avoidance of the term "exclusively"

If parts of the Constitution don't fit your argument, just forget they exist:

Entitled "State school fund," Article IX, Section 6 provides:
The proceeds of all lands that have been or hereafter may be granted by the United States to this State, and not otherwise appropriated by this State or the United States; all moneys, stocks, bonds, and other property belonging to the State for purposes of public education; the net proceeds of all sales of the swamp lands belonging to the State; and all other grants, gifts, and devises that have been or hereafter may be made to the State, and not otherwise appropriated by the State or by the terms of the grant, gift, or devise, shall be paid into the State Treasury and, together with so much of the revenue of the State as may be set apart for that purpose, shall be faithfully appropriated and used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools."

Bolding mine, in the hopes Mark Martin's attempt to erase the word won't stick. See if you can find that word in the numerous references he makes defending this decidedly un-constitutional siphoning off of public school resources:

NC GOP playing fast and loose with taxpayers' money

Multiple Primary elections are not free:

“With a recent agreement to move North Carolina’s presidential primary to March, North Carolina will play a pivotal role in the selection of the Republican nominee,” said Todd Poole, the executive director of the N.C. Republican Party.

“I am happy the primary has been moved up so the state has more of a say in the primary,” said Mark Baker, the chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party.

And in keeping with their "shift the costs to local government" approach to managing NC, General Assembly Republicans did not set aside a single penny from the state budget to finance this early Primary election. In Mark Baker's County alone, the costs could be over $100,000:

Daily dose: Pack your bags edition

Warning signs for group homes emerge amid budget stalemate (WRAL-TV) -- The prospect of big changes in group home resident Eric's life came up earlier this month when Easter Seals, the nonprofit that runs the group home where he lives, gave notice to the state and local mental health agencies that they would close the Zebulon group home and seven others across the state. Four of those homes serve adults with mental illness, while four others serve adults like Eric with developmental disabilities. In all, 40 people would be affected. Officials with Easter Seals insist they took the decision to close these homes based on their waning ability to care for the aging residents with the dollars available, not any systematic problem with how the state and local governments manage group homes. However, mental health advocates worry that, if a large, well-run nonprofit finds it challenging to keep up with the needs of residents, smaller companies are surely feeling the economic pinch as well.

How about a little Arsenic with your softball?

So much for the beneficial uses of coal ash:

A softball field at South Brunswick Middle School remains closed after coal ash was found beneath the surface more than a year ago.

The coal ash was identified last year, several months into a project to renovate the existing field. According to district operations staff, a county engineer overseeing the original construction of the field in 1992 used coal ash–a free, readily available material from nearby the nearby Cogentrix plant–to fill the field.

In this context, the definition of "free" is: If you will take this toxic mess off our hands so we don't have to deal with it ourselves, we would greatly appreciate it. And as long as we refuse to categorize coal ash as a hazardous waste, stupid things like this are going to continue to happen.

VIVA trial update: Plaintiffs rest their case

Amidst more innuendo and nonsense from Phil Strach:

Dr. James LeLoudis II, an historian who specializes in the history of North Carolina and the American South, was called to the stand as a witness for the Plaintiffs on day ten of the federal lawsuit seeking to overturn VIVA.

Strach asked Leloudis if current black lawmakers enjoyed equal participation in the General Assembly. Leloudis said he was concerned about the broader political system and all citizens having a voice. "Policy comes out of an inclusive process," he said.

Hell, I'm not sure many members of the Republican majority enjoy "equal participation" in the process, much less African-American Dems in the minority. Debate has been stifled, Representatives have been strong-armed in caucus chambers, legislation has been rewritten and crammed through the voting process before people can even catch a breath. The outrages have been non-stop, and the African-American leader of the minority party Rep Larry Hall has to struggle just to get a few words in edge-wise. Equal participation? Don't make me laugh.


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