NC Supreme Court: Sheriffs can fire employees for not "donating" to campaign

Welcome to the fifteenth Century:

The high court noted that county sheriffs hold an elected office established by the state Constitution, and they're recognized in state law as having sole authority over how their offices are run. Though they receive county funds, their offices are considered distinct from county government.

The court also rejected the deputies' arguments that their free-speech rights were violated, noting that "mutual confidence and loyalty between a sheriff and a deputy are crucial in accomplishing the sheriff's policies and duties" as an elected law enforcement official.

What the hell does money have to do with "mutual confidence and loyalty"? I don't care where you work, public or private sector, being fired for not contributing to a political campaign is just flat wrong. And for the NC Supreme Court to give this practice not just tacit approval, but supporting language as well, is off-the-charts crazy.

Saturday News: A decade of unnecessary suffering

HAVEN SHUTDOWN HIGHLIGHTS WEAKNESS IN LAW. (Fayetteville Observer) -- Many people in the animal-welfare community saw this coming a decade ago or more. All the signs were there, after all.
http://www.fayobserver.com/opinion/editorials/our-view-haven-shutdown-highlights-weakness-in-law/art...

STATE FAILED FOR YEARS TO HOLD HOKE ANIMAL SHELTER TO STANDARDS (WRAL-TV) -- The animal shelter near Raeford where more than 600 neglected animals were seized this week failed state inspections for more than a decade but was never shut down.
http://www.wral.com/state-failed-for-years-to-hold-hoke-animal-shelter-to-standards/15293766/

Meadows harps about serving constituents, while helping predatory mortgage lenders

To seem and not to be:

"When you come up to Washington, D.C., they want you to be on the team up here and what most Americans want is someone who comes up here and doesn't forget the people who send them here," Meadows told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Wednesday night.

He said on Fox that Cruz's approach is, "Let's make sure what we do is really what's right for America, not for him or the lobbyists here or the Washington cartel."

Makes a good sound bite, but what Tea Party Mark doesn't brag about is doing the dirty work for banksters and other well-dressed loan sharks:

Taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ students

We reserve the right to be bigoted and exclusionary:

“Sexual relationships outside of marriage and sexual relationships between persons of the same sex are immoral and sinful. The depth of the sinfulness of homosexual practice is recognized, and yet we believe the grace of God sufficient to overcome both the practice of such activity and the perversion leading to its practice.”

Lee Christian, the document states, reserves the right to deny admission or expel a student should the “atmosphere or conduct within” the home on these issues run contrary to the private school’s beliefs.

So it's not only LGBT students who are discriminated against; if a straight child's parents are in a same sex relationship, or the single parent of the child engages in such a relationship, however short-term it may be, the student can get the boot. One might be tempted to declare, "Who would want to send their child into such a cultish educational environment?" But that's not the point. The point is, the school should *not* be eligible for taxpayer dollars, regardless of the route that money takes to get there. Parents given vouchers should not be able to "choose" a school that discriminates in such a fashion. That money has to come with some caveats, and this should be at the top of the list.

Friday News: Idiots in the sky edition

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GROUP WITH N.C. TIES TO FLY CONFEDERATE FLAG OVER GOP DEBATE IN IOWA (Jones & Blount) -- – A South Carolina-based nonprofit group called Save Southern Heritage has announced it plans to fly a plane carrying a Confederate battle flag Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa to carry a message to Republican candidates debating there. The message from the plane will read “GOP LOSES W/O DIXIE!,” and is “in response to GOP complicity, apathy and cowardice in the destruction of Southern Heritage and Confederate symbols” across the South, according to a news release from the group.
http://jonesandblount.com/2016/01/28/group-with-n-c-ties-to-fly-confederate-flag-over-gop-debate-in-...

Van der Vaart: Restrict Solar, incentivize nuclear

Apparently our definition of the word "clean" has been wrong until now:

One proposal discussed Wednesday would require a state permit for any new solar farm. That would give the state the final say on whether a property owner can lease his or her land for solar. It would also require a bond for eventual removal of the equipment.

"We are a huge solar state, and we have to put our big boy pants on and treat it as such," Secretary of Environmental Quality Donald van der Vaart told the Energy Policy Council.

Where do I start? I'm tempted to start with "big boy pants," but that's so stupid it could derail the entire conversation. How about: When Bev Perdue was still Governor but the GOP had taken over the Legislature, that august body engaged in a fact-finding tour, with the sole purpose of undermining DENR. Witness after witness whined about the over-regulation of the environmental agency, and how the sluggish permitting process was stifling economic growth. And now the new Secretary is proposing to do just that; clamp down on property owners and "control" the growth of Solar via bureaucratic delays and costly (and unnecessary) safety protocols. If irony was a toxic substance, we'd all be dead by now. But even worse, van der Vaart's alternative could actually kill us:

Thursday News: The "say anything" Governor

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MCCRORY CLAIMS COOPER BEARS SOME RESPONSIBILITY FOR I-77 TOLL CONTRACT (Charlotte Observer) -- Pushing the battle over Interstate 77 into the governor’s race, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration claims that Attorney General – and Democratic rival – Roy Cooper tacitly supported a controversial contract to build new toll lanes.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article56914763.html

Voter ID trial update: Fraud would be "extremely irrational"

Just like the nut-jobs who worry about a manufactured crisis:

Minnite said that it's extremely irrational for a person to intentionally pose as someone else at the polls. There's a big risk of getting caught, she said. And having a photo ID requirement isn't likely to deter someone who's that intent on deceiving people, she said. More than likely, if a person is that determined to commit voter fraud, that person would get a fake photo ID, she said.

Strach, however, argued that there is simply no way for a poll worker to know if voters are telling the truth about who they are.

Of course they can't "know" for sure if somebody is telling the truth, but they can make a reasonable assumption based on how stupid it would be to risk going to jail to cast one (or even twenty) fraudulent votes. We shouldn't even be talking about this, much less having to go to court to stop it. To make changes to voting access based on "what if's" and not overwhelming evidence is, in itself, proof of the nefarious purpose behind these laws. Unfortunately, this whole legal process is flawed. We have to prove the GOP intentionally passed these laws to make exercising their Constitutional rights harder for some people, but they didn't have to prove a damn thing before passing the laws themselves. No matter how stupid/unnecessary/burdensome these laws are, in the absence of a smoking gun, the judge will end up siding with the Legislature. I hope I'm proven wrong.

Economic growth of a toxic nature

Nail polish manufacturer Coty to expand Sanford operation:

Cosmetics giant Coty Inc. is moving OPI nail polish manufacturing from North Hollywood to North Carolina. All production and distribution operations for OPI Products Inc. are being switched to Coty's largest U.S. manufacturing facility in Sanford, N.C., Coty said in a statement.

"Our ambitions for OPI's sustainable growth and expansion require enhanced manufacturing facilities," the company said, adding that their North Carolina plant is "best-in-class" and capable of supporting the nail brand's growth.

This won't come as a jaw-dropping surprise to anybody, but nail polish products are very nasty and should never come into contact with humans, especially not pregnant humans:

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