VIVA trial update: Affidavits as escape valves

Kelly Fetty has been keeping score:

On June 18 the North Carolina General Assembly passed new legislation adding a "reasonable impediment" affidavit to VIVA. Like South Carolina's Act R54, the affidavit allowed voters to claim a reasonable impediment kept them from getting a photo ID and entitled them to a provisional ballot.

The sudden change to the law, just three weeks before the start of court proceedings, prompted the Plaintiffs to ask Judge Schroeder to drop claims against the ID provision from the trial.

This affidavit has nothing to do with helping people vote, and everything to do with helping Republicans prop up their un-Democratic attack on voting rights. Unfortunately, it appears Judge Schroeder is more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt:

The costly impact of Republican governing

Shifting burdens down to the local level:

Tax cuts and tax shifts. Business accounting depends on actually balancing revenues and expenses. Not so for our governor and legislature. Budgeting is a shell game to them. Cuts to state taxes and programs simply shift the costs to property taxes and sales taxes with 80 percent of us paying more.

As a candidate for local municipal office, I've had to familiarize myself with small-town budgeting. In many ways it's more complicated than a 750 page state budget, because you just don't have as many "baskets" of money to shift around. That was the case even before the General Assembly rolled up their sleeves and got serious about smothering local governments, and now the word "complicated" just doesn't cover it anymore. And it's not just a lack of respect for municipal governments; These steps are intended to bring hardship to the citizenry, because they will very likely strike out against local council members as a result, and not their Legislative representatives. Resulting in a wave of (even more) business-friendly local governments, ready, willing, and able to surrender their responsibilities to the private sector. While it is very clever, it is also the antithesis of Democracy. More painful cost-shifts:

Carolina Rising to the apex of political corruption

Doug Clark speaks to the problem:

If you or I give more than $50 to a candidate's campaign, our name, address and occupation must be reported and available for public scrutiny. The idea behind that level of accountability is that people should know who's trying to influence our government.

Yet it's no concern of anyone who gives $5 million — or $5 billion, for that matter — to one of these independent, nonpolitical organizations for exactly the same purpose of electing a candidate.

It's hard to believe people haven't taken to the streets to demand the identity of the wealthy ghost who wrote a check for almost $5 million to get Tillis elected, or that they aren't screaming at Tillis himself. People rant and rave about how politicians are bought and paid for, but they watch a television ad "paid for by Carolina Rising" and then go out and vote for the candidate this mystery group tells them to. Yes, our two-party system is partly to blame for that logical disconnect, but those voters should still be curious. And every time they see one of these ads, the curiosity should grow:

Christensen on Spellings: "Nothing to see here, folks."

Another round of false equivalencies and historic rationalizations:

But if you look at the backgrounds of past UNC presidents, you will find they are diverse lot – businessmen and college administrators, liberals and conservatives. None have had a Ph.D. Several have been deeply involved in politics. Few had any classroom teaching experience.

When the UNC Board of Governors or their predecessors have searched for a new president, they have not looked for one particular model. Undoubtedly some of the skepticism about Spellings is political. Much of the left feels about George W. Bush about the way the right feels about Barack Obama. Anybody closely associated with either man is immediately suspect by those who hold opposing views.

Once again, Rob puts forward the theory that public opinion is based mostly on a "shallow" analysis of a person or policy, and if only we had his vast experience keeping score in the political arena we could grasp the truths that elude us. And once again, he fails to mention the most damning characteristics of the subject in question: Her history of leading the largest and most disreputable conglomeration of for-profit online universities in the country, which have bilked students and parents out of billions in tuition over the years, and her openly bigoted stance dealing with LGBT rights. Both of those characteristics set her widely apart from previous Presidents of the UNC System, and both should have been dis-qualifiers for the job. Once again, Rob, politics is not a sport, where you compare earned run averages or free-throw percentages. It has a real-world impact on the lives of the people of our state, and Margaret Spellings has the potential to do great harm to the tens of thousands trying to reach their potential via the UNC System. They are the ones who need to be given a chance, not her.

The devil in the details: Trudy Wade's "stealth" earmark


When your neutrality is just a flimsy facade:

High Point’s Library Plaza project also won’t have to compete with other towns and cities. Of the $2 million allocated for the Main Street Solutions fund, the budget bill requires $1 million to go to a city with a population between 105,000 and 110,000 located in a county that changed its state poverty ranking last year.

High Point is the only city that fits the bill.

Half of the entire budget going to one project. Which is probably why Wade felt the need to add an extra layer of obfuscation. It's exactly these kinds of "tailor-made" budget allocations that Republicans used to trumpet loudly about, when they complained about "Democrat corruption" in the General Assembly. But now it's just clever lawmaking.

NC's alarming trend toward temporary employment

Hat-tip to Chris Fitzsimon for breaking down the numbers:

39—percentage growth of temporary workers in the national economy from 2009-2014

52—percentage growth of temporary workers in North Carolina from 2009 to 2014

45,022—amount in dollars of average annual earnings of temporary workers in the United States

30,627—amount in dollars of average annual earnings of temporary workers in North Carolina

Yes, it's a national trend, but North Carolina is a leader in low wages and job insecurity. Which should come as no surprise, since our Labor Commissioner has pretty much abrogated her responsibility to monitor these things:

NC (DEQ) joins lawsuit against EPA Clean Power Plan

And immediately starts spewing industry propaganda:

"This federal overreach presents a clear choice: do you want Washington, D.C., or North Carolina to control energy generation in our state?" North Carolina Secretary of Environmental Quality Donald van der Vaart said in a statement. "We have shown that North Carolina's leadership, not federal intervention, has resulted in reduced emissions, cleaner air and affordable energy. This administration remains committed to protecting ratepayers from expensive and unnecessary federal regulations."

Under the Clean Power Plan, the average utility bill in North Carolina is expected to increase by $434 a year by 2020, state officials said.

They didn't get that number from their own calculations or the EPA, that dollar figure was derived from a painfully flawed industry-funded study:


Subscribe to RSS - NC GOP