Christmas Day open thread


By all rights this thread should be pointless, because you should be basking in the warmth of family. Or slaving over a hot stove, so said family members can recharge after all that arduous present-unwrapping. Or wandering around picking up shreds of said wrapping paper, before the dog (or cat) gets ahold of it and hacks on the carpet. Or intervening in a discussion that has the potential to turn into World War III. But you know what? It's all good. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah, everybody. :)

Sunday News: Good will lacking


DISCRIMINATION UNDER FIRE IN N.C. (Albuquerque Journal) -- North Carolina Republicans have provoked a political firestorm. First, Gov. Pat McCrory refused to concede his loss for close to a month. Then, under the guise of providing Hurricane Matthew relief money, they convened several back-to-back special sessions, all geared at stripping power from Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper before he takes office. Whereas President Barack Obama is honoring the tradition of the peaceful transfer of power, a fundamental pillar of American democracy, North Carolina Republicans are taking a different path.

Counting the costs of a deceptive, opaque Governor


And you thought raising your children was expensive:

Gov. Pat McCrory’s office has spent more than $230,000 on an outside law firm to defend itself in a public records lawsuit filed in 2015 by a media coalition, according to billing invoices.

McCrory’s office provided the records Thursday after The Charlotte Observer filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking the information. The paper filed the complaint after the governor did not respond to a records request in October seeking the invoices from Charlotte’s Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, as well as all correspondence to the law firm.

Get that? They had to file a lawsuit, just to find out how much (taxpayer) money had been spent on other lawsuits. We (the public) are paying dearly to block our own access to information that should have been provided to us without hesitation. It's so absurd it's hard to wrap your mind around it. And so is this:

Saturday News: Sad state of the State


BATTLE LINES TURN N.C.’S MODERATION INTO DISTANT MEMORY (New York Times) — Political chaos has become as much a fixture of life here as the basketball rivalry between Duke and the University of North Carolina: four years of battles, boycotts, protests and standoffs over voting, gerrymandering, anti-discrimination ordinances, bathroom access and the ability of Republicans to strip power from the governor’s office as soon as a Democrat wins it. The warfare has turned North Carolina, once the South’s beacon of moderation, into perhaps the most polarized state in the country.

How can you tell when the Bergermeister is lying?


If his mouth is moving, it's a good bet:

“It’s a reasonable conclusion that people can come to that the reason the Democrats voted against repeal, the reason that Cooper urged them to vote against the repeal, was because they would prefer to have it as an issue that they can raise money on,” Berger, an Eden Republican, said Thursday in an interview with the News & Record where he discussed what happened behind the scenes Wednesday.

If Roy Cooper wanted to keep it as an issue, he wouldn't have gone to so much trouble to get it repealed. And after the recent "special session" fiasco, in which Republicans attacked the Governor-elect's authority and influence so blatantly, it's a "reasonable conclusion that people can come to" that the failure to repeal HB2 was just one more effort by Republicans to undermine Cooper's administration. If you want to see just how disingenuous Berger can get, here are a handful of direct quotes taken from an N&O article:

Friday News: Deep is the divide


FAILURE TO REPEAL HB2 ENSURES N.C. POLITICS WILL REMAIN DEEPLY DIVIDED (LA Times) -- After North Carolina lawmakers refused to repeal House Bill 2, the law that curbs legal protections for LGBT people and has cost the state millions of dollars in boycotts and lost jobs, Democrats and Republicans took to a predictable pattern: blaming each other for the unraveling of the deal. Republican leaders thought they had reached a compromise that would allow the state to move past the controversial law. But in the end, any bill they could get rural Republicans to support, they could not get Democrats to sign up on.

Asheville water decision exposes poorly-written legislation

When you try to be clever but fail miserably:

The court also found that lawmakers had tried to skirt the constitution by tailoring the wording of the legislation. The law’s plain wording appeared to affect an entire class of municipalities, but did so in way that ensured Asheville was the only member of this class.

The court also pointed out errors in legislators’ contention that the law would “ensure the availability of better water service at a lower cost.” The decision noted that several of the region’s municipalities do the same thing that Asheville was being criticized for doing – charging customers outside their territory higher rates than municipal customers. The decision specifically singled out Biltmore Forest, Black Mountain, Montreat, Weaverville, Woodfin and Hendersonville for this practice.

At the heart of this matter is the GOP's inability to approach a subject from a clinical standpoint. They feel compelled to create (or exaggerate) certain aspects of an issue, in an attempt to justify what they already want to do. We see it everywhere, but especially in their efforts to stifle any form of home rule by municipalities. HB2 is a classic case, wherein they create monsters to attack women and little children. And then there's the "unfair competition" approach to providing services like muni broadband. But those fictional narratives start to come apart in the cold reality of a courtroom, where evidence and consequences are closely scrutinized.

Thursday News: The art of the misdeal


FAILURE TO REPEAL HB2 SETS NC BACK EVEN MORE (Capitol Broadcasting Co. editorial) -- After the Charlotte City Council acquiesced to GOP demands, legislative leaders failed to keep up their end of the deal to repeal HB2. In the missed opportunity to close some of the gaps that divide our state. Instead, suspicion and distrust carried the day. The bill that was offered Wednesday in the Senate was a devil’s bargain. On the one hand it would have repealed HB2, but on the other hand legislators would have continued to impose on cities and counties most of the provisions in the law. “This was not the deal. The deal was Charlotte repeals fully and we repeal fully,” said Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-Mecklenburg.


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