GOP rewrites local bill to defend Confederate statues

Your crossover dates and other rules mean nothing to us:

AN ACT to amend the procedures for Protecting Monuments, Memorials, plaques, and works of art on public property.

(b) Except as provided by subsection (c) of this section, no monument, memorial, plaque, or work of art commemorating events, veterans, or persons of North Carolina history on public property of the State or any of its political subdivisions, may be relocated, disturbed, altered, or defaced.
(d) A person who lives, owns property, or operates a business in the vicinity of any monument, memorial, plaque, or work of art as set forth in subsection (a) of this section shall be considered a person aggrieved by a violation of the provisions of this section for the purposes of G.S. 150B‑4.
(e) A person who willfully violates the provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall be guilty of a Class l misdemeanor."

That's the earliest version of the Bill listed on the NCGA's website, supposedly "as filed," but they haven't fixed this later version (Edition 2) yet, which shows you what the Bill that survived Crossover was actually about:

Profiles in idiocy: The removal of air quality monitors

Because knowledge and early warning systems might erode someone's profit margins:

SECTION 4.25.(a) The Department of Environment and Natural Resources shall review its ambient air monitoring network and, in the next annual monitoring network plan submitted to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, shall request the removal of any ambient air monitors not required by applicable federal laws and regulations.
SECTION 4.25.(b) No later than September 1, 2016, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources shall discontinue all ambient air monitors not required by applicable federal laws and regulations if approval from the United States Environmental Protection Agency is not required for the discontinuance.
SECTION 4.25.(c) Nothing in this section is intended to prevent the Department from installing temporary ambient air monitors as part of an investigation of a suspected violation of air quality rules, standards, or limitations or in response to an emergency situation causing an imminent danger to human health and safety.

Of course, it never crosses their mind that keeping (a) & (b) in place would very possibly prevent (c) from ever happening. The GOP is likely working from the hypothesis, "If the air gets bad enough, we'll know because birds will start falling from the sky and people will be getting nosebleeds." Idiots.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Greensboro tells Trudy, "We'll see you in court."

Federal court, no less. I can't wait to hear what the judge says when they tell him what went on in the Caucus meeting where a bunch of lawmakers were forced to change their votes is "Top Secret" and they don't have to tell him what was said. ;)

Some details on NC voter rights case

In bench trials, there's only one opinion that matters:

U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder has given lawyers arguing against and for the changes between two and three weeks to make their case in a bench trial that could test the constitutionality and sweep of new voting rules adopted in Republican-led states.

The trial begins almost a month before the 50th anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act, which knocked down state and local efforts to keep African-Americans from voting.

I tried to find a stream or a live-blog to follow, but no luck so far. If anybody reading this finds something like that, please drop it in the comments or send me a message and I'll do it. Here are the three main issues being adjudicated:

Those burdensome regulations

Among all their other train wreck policies, the NC GOP has made it a priority to "reduce these burdensome regulations", meaning they've spent a lot of time and effort gutting environmental and human safety regulations because sometimes those get in the way of a little bit of additional money in corporate fatcats' pockets.

It hasn't taken all that long for the results of their corporate allegiance to come home to roost. No one knows if the tragic deck collapse on Emerald Isle might have been prevented, but we do know that thanks to Neal Hunt and the NC GOP, Emerald Isle officials have no opportunity to perform routine deck inspections. Because freedom And profits.

At issue is a 2011 state law that says towns may make periodic inspections of residential properties only when there is “reasonable cause” to believe unsafe conditions exist. Emerald Isle Town Manager Frank Rush said that law prevents the town from inspecting beach houses unless there’s a complaint.

Timeline of the Chase Burns/Paul Foley debacle

Jerry over at Watauga Watch is keeping an eye on this story:

April 19, 2013: Democracy North Carolina files a formal complaint about the Burns contributions with the SBOE, which at that time still has three Democrats and two Republicans sitting on the board. Democracy North Carolina wants to know if the contributions were made using corporate, rather than personal, funds, and was someone other than the contributor directing who received the money?

April 25, 2013: A majority on the SBOE agree that an investigation of Burns is warranted and is therefore set in motion.

April 26, 2013: Newly elected Gov. Pat McCrory replaces every board member on the SBOE to reflect the results of the 2012 elections: three new Republican members and two new Democratic members. Paul Foley is one of the Republicans appointed. The Burns investigation is already underway.

This is actually in the middle of the timeline, but it's a critical juncture: It's the point where it becomes obvious that Governor McCrory is not only watching, but he's also starting to sweat the outcome, and decides to take some action. And Foley's subsequent and apparently obsessive interest in the investigation strongly suggests the "why" he was chosen for the new board:

Offshore drilling: Industry propaganda vs reality


The myth of oil exploration coming to the rescue of a failing economy:

For years, Newfoundland and Labrador were known for being net recipients of financial aid from other Canadian provinces. As the fishing industry struggled, they steadily lost population.

That all changed in the early 2000s when companies began drilling in earnest along their coasts. Between 1988-2002, offshore bids brought in $900 million; from 2003-2014, bids yielded $2.4 billion.

That's $2.4 billion accumulated over 12 years. That distinction is important, especially in light of Newfoundland and Labrador's projected $1.1 billion deficit for this fiscal year:

Greensboro's "laboratory of democracy" is on fire

National coverage of the NC GOP's meddling in local government:

Granted, if you want arrogant bungling, Mr. LePage is your man, but we leave the piney woods for now and journey down to the indubitably insane state of North Carolina, where the prion disease now afflicts almost every level of government. For example, they are doing some spectacular monkey-mischief with how the city of Greensboro governs itself.

The new law distributes the city's 186,120 registered voters into eight new districts, jettisons three at-large council seats, limits the mayor's ability to vote and ends the city's longstanding practice of holding an October primary before the November general election..."This is democracy at its worst," state Rep. Ralph Johnson (D-Guilford) said earlier on the House floor. "What this is telling the citizens of Greensboro is, 'You're not smart enough to decide your form of government.' Point blank. "This vote will tell the citizens of Greensboro how much they are respected in Raleigh," Johnson said.

I think Ralph got it wrong, at least about the "not smart enough" thing. The GOP knows they're outnumbered in Greensboro, and now the people know they know, and that they are prepared to cheat and steal to increase their power. This is not a "paternalistic" move, it's disenfranchisement in pursuit of control. And about as far away from democracy as you can get.

Tillis' rhetoric degenerates into absurdity

Taking advantage of the bullshit pulpit:

But Tillis quickly added: "Just because Greece chooses to remain in the Euro doesn't mean things can go on as they were. The Greek government has to make major changes in its spending policy and entitlements. When I was speaker in North Carolina, the state was gripped with a deficit and we made a fundamental policy decision to adopt austerity budgets for four years.

"Today, we have one of the best performing economies in the U.S. and our unemployment dropped from 10.6 percent to 6.4 percent. Greece could learn from North Carolina."

Dude, if the Greek government even tried to pull some of the crap Republicans in the Legislature have done to the people here, they would be dragged out into the street and flayed alive.


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