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Voter intimidation vigilantes to attend "boot camp" Sep 14

And they'll be returning home to your county afterward:

Learn the research and advocacy skills needed to FIND - REPORT - PREVENT VOTER FRAUD! Attend our state-wide training, our first ever - VOTER INTEGRITY BOOTCAMP! Sept 14, 2013, Morrisville, NC.

Join like-minded patriots in a roll-up-your-sleeves workshop, learn how to access, compare, analyze county data and voter rolls - to find, report, and prevent voter fraud! We need to empower you, at the county level, to be sure that we protect the integrity of future elections in NC! We cannot do it without you!

What you won't see in this article (or at VIP's site) is that part of the entry fee covers a county-specific data disc that will be given to each vigilante to carry home with them. Since part of this "boot camp" is to train people to challenge specific voters in their home county, the mystery disc will probably already have names and other personal information to help target the right (left) persons.

Kim Genardo says Salarygate is "overblown"

Former reporter angry at reporters:

Kim Genardo, the Governor’s Communications Director provided us this statement. “This story is overblown and is not serving either AP members or readers or state employees well. Every personnel law and policy was adhered to in the hiring of Diaz and McKillip. State government has nearly 90,000 employees and the press has singled out two workers. Keep in mind, no one has quibbled with their performance, work ethic and dedication to their department and the state of North Carolina.”

And your boss is not serving AP members or readers or state employees or NC taxpayers well by choosing to lie about this issue, either.

Pat McCrory lies again

Hat tip to Progressive Pulse for bulldogging this story:

Gov. Pat McCrory says a pair of 24-year-old campaign staffers landed senior-level jobs in his administration because they were the most qualified applicants, beating out older candidates.

But the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, where Matthew McKillip and Ricky Diaz got big promotions and raises after only a few weeks of government service, has been unable to provide any evidence their positions were ever advertised or that other applicants were considered.

Diaz doesn't know where his raise is coming from

Either that or he isn't saying:

DHHS communications director Ricky Diaz cited a section of the state budget bill that said “state agencies, departments and institutions shall have salary administration flexibility for licensed physicians, dentists, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists and other allied health professionals, and may exercise the flexibility within existing resources.”

However, Diaz declined to say where the money is coming from, how much is being dedicated to pay raises, which employees are being made eligible for the pay increases, the total amount of existing resources, which options are being considered to free up the resources and whether job cuts are part of the financing solution. He said the department is reviewing options and would provide that information when final decisions have been made.

The likely answer is, Diaz' $85,000 salary will result in the laying off of 2.5 people elsewhere in the Department, and he won't be the one who has to "communicate" that bad news to the soon-to-be jobless employees.

Durham abortion clinic permanently closed

The GOP's war on women takes another casualty:

The Department of Health and Human Services found health code violations this summer at two North Carolina clinics that provide abortions. Now, one of them has closed for good, while the other has re-opened.

Durham’s Baker Clinic for Women has voluntarily surrendered its license after being shuttered by the DHHS in July for a quality control on blood banking.

This may be the first to permanently close, but it probably won't be the last.

Coastal Resources Commission in limbo

And then there were four:

But in order to call an emergency meeting, state officials first had to consider whether the commission could take action, given that it is operating with only a fraction of its membership. Provisions in the state budget passed by the Republican-controlled legislature ended the terms of all but four of the 15 CRC members and reduced the board to 13. The budget bill also eliminated seats designated for representatives of conservation groups and local governments.

Miller said he expects the move to face legal questions of its own. “It was never the intent of the law for four people to decide such a critical coastal management decision,” Miller said. “If the CRC votes to appeal this case, I’m sure its decision will be challenged on whether or not it was made with a legal quorum.”

Which probably won't bother Republicans in the slightest.

NC's voter suppression law likely challenged by US DOJ

And if it works in Texas, there's a good chance it will work here:

A federal lawsuit filed Thursday against a Texas voter identification law seems certain to be followed by a similar suit against one in North Carolina. Other states, too, could face federal legal challenges over their actions in the wake of the high court’s decision. In the Justice Department’s 15-page lawsuit targeting the Texas voter ID law, signed by Houston-based Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel D. Hu, the department deployed arguments potentially applicable against other states, as well. The Texas law, Hu wrote, would “deny equal opportunities for Hispanic and African-American voters to participate in the political process, resulting in a denial of the right to vote.”

North Carolina's law seems to be very similar to Texas', which might just end up being its downfall. Republicans may be about to learn the hard way that imitating the behavior of other Republicans isn't as safe as they think it is. And once again, DAG McCrory opens his mouth and inserts foot:

NC leaders should be charged with criminal negligence for the way they're handling ACA

As he often does, Kirk Ross takes on the heavy lifting at Carolina Mercury, in an excellent series about the Affordable Care Act in North Carolina. It's an ugly picture.

As the federal government and states around the county gear up for the October 1 rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces, North Carolina is finalizing the shutdown of what would have been one of the most extensive outreach and assistance plans in the country.

The state’s Department of Insurance confirmed this week it is preparing to send Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius formal notification that the state is ending the programs and will no longer tap millions in federal grants it received earlier this year to pay for them.

Important black guy slams NC GOP voter suppression policies; important white guy couldn't care less

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was the keynote speaker at the CEO Forum in Raleigh, North Carolina, Wednesday evening. After introductory remarks, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory left the stage to listen to the retired general from the audience. Powell said:

"I want to see policies that encourage every American to vote, not make it more difficult to vote," said Powell, a Republican, at the CEO Forum in Raleigh. It immediately turns off a voting block the Republican Party needs. These kinds of actions do not build on the base. It just turns people away." [...]

"You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud," Powell said. "How can it be widespread and undetected?"

Powell, who served under President George W. Bush, also said the new sends the wrong message to minority voters. "What it really says to the minority voters is ... 'We really are sort-of punishing you,'" he said.

McCrory's response to being taken to the woodshed?

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