Trump admin blocks Utah from expanding Medicaid

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And they would likely do the same to North Carolina:

According to the senior officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, White House advisers argued that it did not make sense to approve generous federal funding under the ACA while the administration is arguing that the entire law should be overturned.

White House advisers on the Domestic Policy Council, Office of Management and Budget, and National Economic Council, which are controlled by conservative Republicans, were the staunchest opponents of allowing Utah to receive enhanced federal funding for its expanded Medicaid program.

For every action there's a reaction. It may not be equal and opposite, but it trends that way. Utah voters passed a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid, and Trump blocking that might just lose him that state in 2020:

Saturday News: King of Pork

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BERGER'S BUDGET SENDS $15 MILLION TO HIS OWN DISTRICT: Millions of dollars in the state budget are going to mostly Republican districts for water infrastructure and parks projects. While Republicans defend the allocations as needed help to rural areas, an environmental group questions the process and oversight. The North Carolina Conservation Network analyzed the budget and found that 91% of $25 million in parks and water infrastructure earmarks went to Republican districts. Most were in Senate leader Phil Berger’s district, which includes Eden, Yanceyville and King. As first reported by WBTV, the Conservation Network found that about $23.4 million in direct appropriations, known as earmarks, went to Republican-held Senate districts, and within that a $15 million loan to the city of King in Berger’s district.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article233124556.html

The Trump Effect: Overt racism is becoming much more common

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This is what happens when a President gives people a license to hate:

"There are still pockets of deep racism in this country," Neal said, "pockets, even here, even in 2019, in which people are still very comfortable using that kind of language to describe African-Americans." Goodman's attempt to control the women's behavior is indicative of a recent trend nationwide, he said.

"We’re in a moment where there are a lot of random white citizens that have been attempting to police black behavior, whether it’s in a restaurant or a swimming pool or a Starbucks," he said.

This trend is undoubtedly racist, but it also may be a narcissistic "bleedover" from Trump. His constant self-aggrandizement is leading many people to believe that they too are infallible, and that they are operating from a position of authority over minority populations. And it's not just the South where this is occurring:

Friday News: Sins of Omission

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NC GOP'S "EXPERT WITNESS" GAVE FALSE TESTIMONY IN GERRYMANDERING TRIAL: The trial challenging North Carolina’s legislative lines as unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders took a dramatic turn Thursday when an expert witness for Republican lawmakers admitted some of his testimony on their behalf was incorrect. The challengers used that admission to ask that testimony by Claremont McKenna College political scientist Douglas Johnson be struck from the record. “His testimony in his direct (examination) is just incorrect,” said Daniel Jacobson, a lawyer who represents the redistricting reform group Common Cause NC. “The numbers are wrong.” Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway, who is leading the panel, said North Carolina’s rules for expert witnesses say that “his opinions must be the product of reliable methods and principles ... and the principles used by Dr. Johnson were not reliable.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article233105817.html

Republicans try to defend the indefensible on gerrymandering

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Denial is a river in Egypt:

Bell's testimony came Wednesday morning in the eighth day of a trial over the legislative voting district maps the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved two years ago. Common Cause North Carolina alleges that the maps are were drawn illegally into gerrymandered districts that favor GOP candidates.

Trying to maximize GOP seats in the House would dilute Republican strength in many districts and would wind up costing the party seats, he said. That, would cause a revolt in the House Republican caucus, which on the best of days is like trying to manage a wheelbarrow full of frogs, he said.

That little theory comes apart when you look at what actually happened: Republicans gained majorities in both houses after the 2010 (national) GOP Legislative wave, but they didn't achieve their Supermajority until after the maps were gerrymandered. And the Blue Wave of 2018, which flipped control of the U.S. House to a strong Democratic majority, still could not overcome those gerrymandered NC Legislative districts. So you can stick that "it wouldn't make sense for us to do it" argument where the sun don't shine, because we know you did it. And this makes even less sense:

Thursday News: Good riddance

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CYBERSTALKER CODY HENSON RESIGNS FROM NC HOUSE: A state lawmaker who pleaded guilty to cyberstalking in a case involving his estranged wife announced Wednesday he will resign. Rep. Cody Henson’s statement on Facebook follows reports from court proceedings in western North Carolina, including that the Republican will undergo domestic violence abuser treatment, Carolina Public Press reported Tuesday. Among those reports: Henson once threw a full beer can at his wife in front of their son while she was pregnant and, after one heated argument, posted photos of his guns on social media, among other incidents, N.C. Assistant Attorney General Boz Zellinger said. Henson remains under a domestic violence protective order keeping him from contacting his estranged wife, Kelsey Meece, CPP said. He is not allowed access to firearms during his probation.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article233055162.html

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