In NC, you're guilty until proven innocent

Ignoring evidence of faulty convictions:

As four men sat in prison for a murder they didn't commit, records show that state investigators sent proof of their innocence to a North Carolina prosecutor, but he never revealed it to the convicted men.

He didn't have to. Nothing in North Carolina's legal standards requires a prosecutor to turn over evidence of innocence after a conviction.

In this particular case, the District Attorney was provided solid evidence that five men he'd sent to prison were innocent, but he chose to ignore that evidence and let them remain incarcerated. Not only should there be a Bar Association rule in place to discourage that, there should also be a criminal charge for an officer of the court who does that. He might as well have kidnapped these people and chained them in his basement.

Sunday News: Dangerously incompetent version

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NED BARNETT: MCCRORY BACKPEDDLES WHILE DECLARING NO RETREAT (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- In the haste and secrecy of the March special session, the get-(Roy) Cooper bathroom gambit got combined with the Stam-Barefoot wish list. The mixture was explosive. It blew up into a national story, chilled the state’s appeal to businesses, entertainers and tourists and has (Gov. Pat) McCrory backpedaling while declaring no retreat. Meanwhile, a decision in the Virginia case McCrory so pointedly joined is expected any day. If the plaintiffs prevail, North Carolina could be looking at a loss of billions of dollars in federal aid for violating the rights of transgender people. This is a situation in which Republican lawmakers and strategists thought they were being clever but did something as dumb as it will be costly.
http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/ned-barnett/article72280037.html

Utilities Commission levies excessive fine against NC WARN

Doing the dirty work for Duke Energy:

The N.C. Utilities Commission fined the group $60,000 and ordered it to stop the sales immediately and turn the solar project over to the Faith Community Church.

“NC WARN’s electric sales to the public (the Church) is impermissible due to the fact that the Church is located within a service area that has been assigned exclusively to Duke,” the commission says in its order released late Friday afternoon. “NC WARN knowingly entered into a contract to sell electricity in a franchised area and sold electricity without prior permission from the commission subjecting itself to sanctions.”

Make no mistake, this "order" is designed to bring NC WARN down; to destroy this nonprofit that has served as a balancing and oversight agent to keep the NCUC's dealings with Duke Energy honest, or at least not outrageously dishonest. NC WARN has saved us a ton of money by getting rate increase requests by Duke Energy reduced, and it appears they may need your support now more than ever.

Saturday News: Justice prevails edition

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SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TENURE RIGHTS FOR VETERAN TEACHERS (WRAL-TV) -- The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that North Carolina lawmakers overstepped their powers when they tried to strip veteran teachers of their tenure rights.
http://www.wral.com/supreme-court-upholds-tenure-rights-for-veteran-teachers/15644048/

NC SUPREME COURT REJECTS STATE’S REPEAL OF TEACHER TENURE (Raleigh News & Obsever) - The North Carolina Supreme Court on Friday ruled unconstitutional a state law that phased out job protections for teachers who had already earned them.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article72033607.html

More DEQ nonsense: The deregulation of E-waste

Designed to impress the logically-deprived:

You can follow the link, but it's mostly nonsense about the safety of dumping e-wastes in lined landfills, which is by no means accepted science:

Friday News: The scientific demagoguery of Tillis

DATA-MINING YOUR PSYCHE: POLITICAL PITCHES TARGET BASED ON PERSONALITY (MIT Technology Review) -- When Thom Tillis ran for U.S. Senate in 2014, some of his advertisements tried something new. One, which showed Tillis smiling broadly with a soft-focus background of green foliage, promised he’d “restore common sense in Washington.” Another, featuring a man wearing a hard hat while poring over blueprints with his team, asserted that Tillis had “the experience to get the economy working.” A third showed the camouflage-smeared face of a soldier and contained this promise from Tillis: “Your safety is his top priority.” Which version went to whom depended on how the Tillis campaign assessed the recipient’s personality. The grinning picture? That went to people who tended to be “agreeable.” Hard hat? That one was aimed at people deemed “conscientious.” Soldier? That one was reserved for people thought “neurotic.” The Tillis campaign made the ads with help from Cambridge Analytica—an offshoot of a British firm called SCL Group, which has long been involved in campaigns (commercial, political, military).
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601214/data-mining-your-psyche/

Pope and Hood put stranglehold on conservative commentary

He who has the money makes the rules:

My sources are telling me that Hood — clearly acting on orders from The Boss — has issued edicts to both institutions about what can and can’t be written about, who can or cannot be cited or quoted, and that sort of thing. Hood has used the regular payments from the Pope Foundation as leverage — delaying the checks to Locke and Civitas significantly to hammer home his point.

Locke and Civitas were both HUGE critics of that 2000 bond issue. This year’s ConnectNC boondoggle? We got everything from total silence to a weak-sister, wet-noodle critique. What’s different? What changed? THIS YEAR the boss is invested heavily in Pat McCrory and his “success.”

This is far from the first time JLF/Civitas has flip-flopped on supposedly core issues, but the social media explosion of the last few years has forced Pope and his minions to resort to more overt and heavy-handed tactics to "shape" the information being presented:

Thursday News: Education pirates sharpening their swords

TAKEOVER OF LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS UP FOR SHORT SESSION DEBATE (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A state House special committee kept alive for the short legislative session a proposal that would allow a state takeover of up to five low-performing schools.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article71...

ACHIEVEMENT SCHOOL DISTRICT REPORT MOVES FORWARD (EdNC) -- The House Select Committee on Achievement School Districts met for a final time yesterday to approve the Committee report, which includes Rep. Rob Bryan’s Achievement School District (ASD) draft legislation.
https://www.ednc.org/2016/04/14/achievement-school-district-report-moves-forward/

Phil Berger may have an opponent come November

Eric Fink from Elon Law is looking for signatures:

“The fact that Phil Berger is running unopposed, the more I thought about it and talked it over with friends, it struck me as something that was not good,” Fink said during a phone interview from his home on Wednesday morning. “Given my views, the fact is that he’s been a leader for things that have happened in Raleigh that I think are going in a bad direction.”

Eric is not only a solid supporter of many progressive ideals, he's also as sharp as a freshly-stropped razor. If you live in Senate District 26, make sure you and your neighbors sign his petition. 5,000 signatures might not seem like that many compared to what's needed for a state-wide race, but it's no walk in the park for a candidate.

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