Watauga County Voting Rights Task Force gearing up to take State BOE to court

Everyone knows there is a concerted fight against the NC State Legislature’s draconian new statewide voting laws. But regardless of the outcome of that fight, we Wataugans have our own battle to fight locally with the siting of Election Day and early voting sites, and we hope to inspire other counties to join us.

The location of and access to voting locations is not a part of wider statewide efforts to fight back against voter suppression but is just as important, if not more important, than any other battle for our constitutional right to equal opportunity at the polls.

So we're taking this battle up a notch.

The Watauga County Voting Rights Task Force has retained the exceptional and experienced Bailey & Dixon law firm in Raleigh to represent our constitutional rights in the siting of Watauga’s polling locations for the 2014 General elections.

Daily Dose

IN CASE YOU FORGOT

"We're going to go in. We're going to have a short session. It's going to be focused. It's going to be disciplined. We're going to get in and out.,"
-- House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, WRAL-TV 05/10/2014

“All indications point toward a session that will be short, with a continued focus on economic growth, job creation, and wise investments.”
-- Becki Gray, John Locke Foundation, 05/09/2014

“We will probably be more assertive than in our first year, which I frankly thought was extremely assertive. … “We had a heck of a good first year, but now I think we can take even more initiatives. … I anticipate that we’ll be together 80 to 90 percent of the time. “We’re having very good dialogue and, in almost all cases, good cooperation.”
-- Gov. Pat McCrory, Charlotte Observer, 05/10/2014

“Hopefully (Gov. McCrory) has learned that we have to work together to get things done. I don’t know if he’s there yet. Hopefully this session will tell us that.”
-- Senate Rules Committee Chair Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, Charlotte Observer, 05/10/2014

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Monday Morning Open Thread

He's a little battered, but still beautiful. I took this as he perched on the flowers on our Lugustrum. This was taken with a zoom, but I was still rather close to him. Enjoy on this gorgeous Monday morning.

What's on your mind?

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N.C. falls behind in offshore wind

North Carolina could reap tremendous environmental and economic benefits from offshore wind, but is failing behind other states in developing the resource, according to a new report from Environment North Carolina and the National Wildlife Federation. The report, Catching the Wind: State Actions Needed to Seize the Golden Opportunity of Atlantic Offshore Wind Power, analyzes and compares the actions by Atlantic Coast states toward progress on offshore wind.

Retiring from academia

I’m so glad I’m retired. Yesterday I hosted a party for three colleagues who are moving to other positions. Talking with them reminded me of all the daily anxiety of academic life. The angst of not knowing if you are doing enough -- almost always thinking you are not.

One former colleague said she was always worried that she wasn’t writing enough, unless she was actually writing, and only then could she relax because “I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

But getting to the writing is difficult, when, as another woman put it, “Now you are expected to be in constant communication with your students, or ‘customers,’ as we were told to think of them recently.” Especially with the online courses, she said, they’re doing the assignment at 4 in the morning, so they think you should be available then, too!

NC GOP creating a whole new batch of latchkey children

Purging the child care rolls:

The proposed system would not change the total amount of money that goes toward child care subsidies, according to the legislature’s fiscal research division. The majority of North Carolina’s funding – 80 percent – comes from the federal government, and the proposed eligibility system would keep overall funding at $348 million.

But by placing the threshold for eligibility lower while keeping funding the same, the proposed system is designed to help the youngest and poorest children. Demand for subsidies currently outpaces funding, and so children are placed on a waiting list until funding becomes available. Statewide, the system should cut the waiting list by 3,200 families, according to the Senate.

The right thing to do would be for the state to make up the shortfall and enroll all of the children eligible, since it's only shouldering 20% of the burden right now. But that's not how the Republican mind works. Better to let the older children fend for themselves. And besides, when the market demands it, more for-profit prisons can be built. Those kids will eventually get some supervision.

What could you do with $650,000?

That's the cost to taxpayers of the General Assembly's incompetence. The main reason they're in Raleigh at all is to pass a budget. Now, 13 days past the end of their planned session, they've spent $650,000 of your money, with nothing to show for it. And there's more to come.

Just be clear, it's not a bipartisan problem. This high drama is nothing but Republican egos on parade. If you're a North Carolina citizen who votes for any Republican, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Daily Dose

CAMPAIGN
Some NC voters face 2nd round of primary elections (AP) — It's a sign of how much is at stake in next week's runoff election and how narrow the expected margin of success is that a Republican congressional election has devolved into one candidate claiming his Facebook page was hacked to make it look like he was fibbing about his education.
http://www.news-record.com/news/north_carolina_ap/article_371138d7-1290-...

Caustic battle in 6th District race wears on GOP (Greensboro News & Record) -- Will bitterness of race hurt party in November, political observers wonder.
http://www.news-record.com/news/government/elections/article_e7765f4e-0a...

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Misreading the Tillis-Hagan tea leaves

John Wynne swings and misses in his prediction of a Tillis victory:

Let’s start with some facts. First of all, voters are much more concerned with national issues than state issues. While progressives hate what the legislature is doing, most of the public is ambivalent. Ill-advised though it was to say this publicly, Thom Tillis had it right when he said that most voters don’t pay attention to what the legislature is doing. It doesn’t play a role in their day to day lives.

This is the core of John's mistaken evaluation of the situation; relying on the way things have always been. That ambivalence to Raleigh's affairs has been altered, maybe permanently, by the activities of the Moral Monday movement. It took close to 1,000 people being arrested to get the public's attention, but it worked. And as far as the "Obamacare!" scare approach, guess what? It's wearing off. Big-money Conservative groups have spent millions blasting Kay Hagan since late last year, and people are getting tired of the ads. But since they don't know any other way to spend their oil-drenched money, they will keep on attacking, and Kay's numbers will keep on improving. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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