NC's African-American voters made to suffer by county BOE's

Long distance runaround:

Last year, North Carolina's Board of Elections changed the locations of many of its hundreds of Early Voting sites across the state. No one seems to have noticed that those changes added more than a third of a million miles to the distance between black voters' homes and their polling places, while affecting white voters' aggregate distance-to-poll hardly at all.

(Author's note: I was going to include this in my Tuesday Twitter post, but after perusing the data, it became evident it needed better exposure.) We've long suspected there was a concerted effort to disenfranchise certain voting demographics by relocating polling sites, but now we have the data to back that up. It also increases the likelihood (by a factor of ten) there was/is a state-wide conspiracy to make voting more difficult for people of color; you don't get these numbers by accident:

Another lawsuit to stop GOP's racial gerrymandering emerges

Bringing the total active cases to four:

Another challenge of North Carolina's 2011 legislative districts based on accusations of racial gerrymandering is back in court. Three federal judges scheduled a Monday hearing in Greensboro to hear motions in the lawsuit filed by registered voters against the state and legislative leaders.

They say lines drawn by Republican lawmakers for nearly 30 House and Senate districts are illegal because they relied too much on race.

The GOP's mapmakers weren't nearly as clever as they thought they were, and the more detailed the inspection, the more likely the truth will eventually come out. It's been almost five years since these new districts were shoved down our throats, but the fight still continues. Why? Because "wrong" doesn't get better over time, it gets worse.

DEQ spins off "fracking" division

The key to keeping secrets is compartmentalization:

The energy group will be comprised of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality's Energy and N.C. Geological Survey sections of the Energy, Mineral and Land Resources division. Van der Vaart is also creating an energy executive director who will lead the group.

“The governor made it clear from the start of his administration that one of his top priorities is to develop and implement an all-of-the-above energy strategy that fits North Carolina’s needs,” van der Vaart says in a video announcing the plan. “I fully support the governor’s energy initiative and feel very strongly that affordable energy is vital to growing the economy, maintaining good quality of life and bringing us closer to energy independence.”

And yes, when you see the phrase "all-of-the-above" used in reference to energy, it's code for fracking and/or offshore drilling. I think they latched onto the phrase in the hopes renewable energy advocates would be less anti-fracking if they thought it was all one big, happy family, playing together on a level playing field. There is no such thing. And by separating this new division from others at DEQ, their activities will no longer be common knowledge amongst state regulators, some of whom might be a little concerned about water quality and such. From the DEQ's Energy section:

Mercenaries providing security at Carter-Finley?

Sometimes the cure is worse than the illness:

NC State is ramping up security at Carter Finley Stadium for its final two home games.

School officials say there will be increased security and law enforcement officers inside and outside the stadium, in the parking lots and in areas surrounding the stadium as a precaution.

I hesitated posting this, because a) I could very easily be mistaken, and b) If I'm not mistaken, publicizing Tiger Swan's involvement could (theoretically) cause additional security issues at the events in question. But people deserve to know if private military contractors are operating in their presence.

To seem rather than to be: NC's Climate Change grade a farce

It looks good on paper:

The state has sector-specific programs and resources that address all five climate threats. The Strategic Plan for Addressing Health Impacts of Climate Change in North Carolina discusses the impact of extreme weather events, waterborne illnesses, and heat related illnesses on human health. Climate Ready North Carolina: Building a Resilient Future is a climate change adaptation plan that covers most hazards and sectors. It addresses projected changes in climate threats and their implications, as well as adaptation options.

The state has conducted a thorough sea level rise vulnerability assessment with detailed information on implications of potential sea level rise on North Carolina’s coast.

As to the two studies referenced, if you find even one of them in the General Assembly (with the exception of Pricey Harrison's desk), or anywhere in DEQ other than the back of a filing cabinet, I would be surprised. And of course we're all aware of the embarrassing fiasco surrounding the sea level rise assessment:

Defunded and forgotten: NC's struggling unemployed

The very last thing Republicans should be bragging about:

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has been patting himself on the back because North Carolina now has a $1 billion surplus in its unemployment insurance reserve. McCrory’s boasting about the state repaying the federal government $2.8 billion in money borrowed to pay unemployment benefits in North Carolina because the state ran out of money thanks to the Great Recession.

Yes, the Recession played a major role in the spike of job losses. But the size of the Federal debt we incurred is a direct result of the "business-friendly" reduction in unemployment insurance payments for those same companies that McCrory and Legislative Republicans wanted to protect later. Democrats own the first part of that idiotic, common-sense-lacking formula, which is one *big* reason some of us "radical Progressives" bristle when we hear that same "business-friendly" language popping out of the mouths of 2015 Democrats. Here's a clue: The playing field is already tilted dangerously, but it's not the business owners falling into the abyss, it's their employees. Get your priorities straight, or start baking some cupcakes for your fundraising bake sale.

Legislative hearing today on McCrory's pay-to-play activities

One day of hearings not nearly enough:

“Gov. McCrory’s enforcement demands were obviously "donor-driven," not data-driven,” said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action. “Residents across North Carolina have a right to wonder if their highway safety concerns are ignored because they don’t have a political donor to sponsor their issue and grab the ear of the governor whose policies are influenced by a pay-to-play culture in Raleigh. The Guv Ops Commission should look into donor-driven targeted ticketing, as well as pay-to-play prison contracts.”

Meanwhile, the Justice Department is currently investigating whether McCrory’s administration improperly gave millions in state Medicaid contracts to a company which supported his political campaign, and the FBI is also looking into the prison maintenance contract scandal.

WHO: Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations
WHAT: Public hearing on prison maintenance contracts influenced by governor's political donors.
WHERE: 643 Legislative Office Building, Downtown Raleigh

I doubt anybody will be napping during this hearing...

Tuesday Twitter roundup

When parental choice (or grandparental) turns dark:

Tell me again how we're allowing overly-sensitive students to dictate policy because they are easily offended? Adults who don't even have children at this school forced the closure of an LGBT students club. Every penny of taxpayers' money should be revoked from this charter school.


Subscribe to RSS - NC GOP