Thursday News: Busted

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GRAND JURY INDICTS KINGPIN OF NC09 ABSENTEE BALLOT FRAUD: McCrae Dowless, the political operative at the center of the 9th District election fraud case, was arrested Wednesday after being indicted on charges related to collecting absentee ballots in the 2018 primary and 2016 election. Dowless, 63, faces three felony charges of obstruction of justice, two charges of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and two charges of possession of absentee ballot. The indictment from Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said Dowless’ actions “served to undermine the integrity of the absentee ballot process and the public’s confidence in the outcome of the electoral process.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article226864674.html

Republican NC House member Cody Henson needs to resign

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He just got slapped with a 12 month domestic violence restraining order:

A North Carolina legislator committed domestic violence against his estranged wife, a judge found Tuesday during a civil proceeding, awarding her a yearlong domestic violence protection order. After a Tuesday court hearing lasting several hours at the Transylvania County courthouse in Brevard, Judge Fritz Mercer ruled in favor of Kelsey Henson, wife of state Rep. Cody Henson, R-Transylvania.

“After multiple, multiple, multiple times, I asked him to stop,” she told Carolina Public Press after the hearing. “He continued and refused to have any regard for my boundaries or well-being.”

A few things to contemplate: If Henson had misappropriated government funds, or bought a bunch of fancy ties with campaign donor money, he would probably have already been shamed out of office. Even by his own party. But domestic violence, cyber-stalking his ex-wife? Crickets. When abusing money is more unforgivable than abusing women, there is something desperately wrong with our system of values. And while I applaud this judge for having the guts to issue this order, stopping short of confiscating Henson's firearms could be a deadly mistake:

Wednesday News: Welcome to Hazzard?

HARRIS BOWS OUT OF NC09 DO-OVER, ENDORSES "BOSS HOGG" COMMISSIONER: In Tuesday's letter, Harris said he and his family struggled with the decision of how to move forward before they agreed to put his health first. "I ... owe it to the citizens of the Ninth District to have someone at full strength during the new campaign," he said. "It is my hope that in the upcoming primary, a solid conservative leader will emerge to articulate the critical issues that face our nation." Harris threw his support behind Union County Commissioner Stony Rushing for the 9th District seat. Rushing hasn't yet declared himself a candidate. "His background and his experience have proven him to stand firm on so many of the issues that concern us, including the issue of life, our national security, and religious freedom. I hope that those who have stood with me will strongly consider getting behind Stony Rushing," he said.
https://www.wral.com/mark-harris-not-running-in-new-9th-district-election/18220178/

Duke University's irresponsible opposition to light rail project

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Just to give you an idea of who will suffer most from this:

Leaders at N.C. Central University, Durham Technical Community College and the Durham Housing Authority say the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit project will bring prosperity to the Fayetteville Street corridor. The 18-mile, $3.3 billion light-rail project includes two stops — Dillard Street and Alston Avenue — between downtown Durham and NCCU, where the rail line ends.

Fayette Place, the site of an abandoned public housing community meant to house many of those residents, sits between those stops. NCCU, Durham Tech and the Durham Housing Authority held a press conference there on Monday afternoon with light-rail supporters.

I need not mention the symbolism of Duke University wielding such power to suppress the needs of those on the lower end of the economic scale, but since other media sources seem hesitant to make that reference, there it is. And while I'm at it, here's another little tid-bit nobody else thought to mention: The Duke University VP who (literally) hit an African-American parking attendant with his car, and then sped off after calling her a "stupid nigger" from the window of his Porsche, was put in charge of managing the University's response to light rail:

Tuesday News: A true Statesman

GOVERNOR COOPER DELIVERS INCLUSIVE STATE-OF-THE-STATE ADDRESS: Cooper used “determined” as the theme of his second State of the State address and the first since Democrats added enough seats in the Republican-controlled North Carolina General Assembly to uphold the Democratic governor’s vetoes. He struck a tone of bipartisanship and advocated for debates in good faith. “I believe we have broad agreement on what we want for our state,” he said. “We need to seek common ground and build solutions upon it.” Cooper invited a teacher, farmers, a pediatrician, and a state trooper to Raleigh to illustrate his points about education, help for rural communities, Medicaid expansion, and heroism in the hurricane. Lawmakers applauded the guests as Cooper introduced them. “The storm showed us it’s also time to come together to meet other challenges that people face every day across our state,” Cooper said. “And we have to bring that same determination to every challenge.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article226766364.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The ripples from this are still spreading across the political pond:

Some very important points to consider:

As deadline approaches for college IDs, UNC system stuck in neutral

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Jerry Wayne Williamson at WataugaWatch has been all over this:

As part of its new Voter ID Bill, the state legislature determined that university IDs would qualify as valid proof of identity at the polls as long as the universities complied with certain criteria (Senate Bill 824). The State Board of Elections created both rules and a form for certifying compliance with this criteria. The "attestation form" must be signed by university officials no later than March 15th to qualify a university’s student IDs as valid proof of identity. If the attestation form is not signed by March 15th, that university’s student IDs will not count as valid proof of identity for elections through 2020.

Turns out the universities have now banded together under the interpretations offered by Thomas C. Shanahan, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the UNC system, to refuse to sign the attestation, regardless of whether an individual university can comply or not. If none comply, then individual university leadership is insulated. If one or more do comply, the others are exposed for harsh criticism.

I know what you're going to say before you say it, but if the recent ruling voiding the Voter ID Amendment gets overturned, that original deadline (March 15) will still be in effect. The fault for this conundrum lies solely on the shoulders of Republicans in the General Assembly, who (as usual) pushed too far with their legislation on requirements for college ID's to "comply" with their unnecessary restrictions on voting:

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