NC GOP

NC A&T a case study in partisan gerrymandering

Divided and conquered without an opportunity to protest:

In adopting the electoral map, the legislature partitioned the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, the nation's largest historically black public college, into two separate districts.

"We had one person representing us who shared our beliefs. Now we have two people who don't really represent us," said Smith, 24, a 2017 graduate who works with voting-rights group Common Cause, which is among the plaintiffs challenging the new districts.

This particular move may be the partisan straw that broke the mapmaker's back. It should be, anyway. Not even the worst justices (Thomas and Kavanaugh) on our conservative Supreme Court could swallow the idea splitting NC A&T in half was merely a coincidence, or that students are better off with two Representatives instead of one. Their votes were "cracked," to use the parlance of the mapmakers themselves, and there is no viable defense of that. And this argument might be even worse:

Bladen County still has no Elections Board

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Making a crazy situation even crazier:

Right now, Bladen County has no board of elections. Earlier this month, the new state board declined to appoint a new county board of elections until the investigation was over. NCSBE spokesperson Patrick Gannon said the board will appoint a new county board at a future meeting but a date for that meeting has not been set.

NCSBE members agreed at the hearing in Raleigh that in light of the information revealed during the testimony, additional oversight is needed of the upcoming special elections in Bladen County. “State board members agreed at the evidentiary hearing that the agency should look closely at the operations and oversight of the Bladen County Board of Elections, given the recent developments,” Gannon said.

Unfortunately, this article is over 3 weeks old, but a teaser of a story buried behind a paywall (that I refuse to pay because I'm already paying that company) reveals the Board is still not empaneled, and the NC GOP has refused to put any (replacement) Republican names forward to fill those seats. Absentee ballots for the Primary will (very soon) have to be sent out, and there's more than just a Congressional special election to be considered:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Wanton abuse of power:

It's not like this was a "secret" feud, we've known about it for some time now. And yet, Republicans on the Board have kept him in that (unearned and clearly ill-advised) position of power in spite of that massive conflict of interest. And of course Republicans in the General Assembly have stood by and watched while their experiment in partisan manipulation has blown up the laboratory. Big, stinking mess.

The legalization of marijuana can no longer be ignored by Democrats

Pay close attention, because the your base surely is:

The issue today is a pillar of progressive politics, but not because of graying hippies who like their Rocky Mountain High. Rather, for many Democrats, legalization has become a litmus test for candidates’ commitment to equal treatment for all races in policing and criminal justice as well as fighting economic inequality.

Numerous states already have or soon will legalize the use of marijuana in one shape or another, but North Carolina (not to mention the Federal government) is still incarcerating tens of thousands under its misguided "War On Drugs" mentality. You can beat somebody until they're almost lifeless, or defraud them out of their family's meager savings, and get less jail time than having a half-pound of a certain plant, and when that insanely warped system of (in)justice falls heavily on young black males, the motives behind it become crystal clear:

Fifty thousand barrels: Craft brewers (finally) win their struggle

Of course this should have happened years ago:

Ending a two-year battle, North Carolina’s biggest craft brewers have reached a compromise with the state’s wholesale distributors that would let them and other large brewers at least double their annual production. The effort pitted the fast-growing craft beer industry against wholesale distributors, a group that reinforced its clout with nearly $1.5 million in political contributions in the last four years.

The compromise announced Wednesday would create a new category of “Mid-Sized Independent Breweries” such as NoDa, Olde Meck and Red Oak. Their ability to self-distribute would be raised to 50,000 barrels. The new law would allow mid-sized breweries to distribute “up to” 50,000 barrels a year. Breweries would not lose that authorization if they exceeded 50,000 barrels. However, this new authorization would be limited only to those breweries that sell less than 100,000 barrels of beer per year.

This is really good news, especially for people like me who would love to have a craft brewer set up shop in our small towns. Something like that can be a major catalyst for economic revitalization, but that previous cap had held many craft brewers back. Cheers!

Two-Faced Tillis strikes again, waffling on Trump "emergency" vote

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Give him a back door, and he will bolt right through it:

Four Republican senators have publicly said they will support a House-passed resolution of disapproval when it comes up for final passage in the Senate on Thursday. That would be just enough to ensure passage of a measure overturning the national emergency that the president declared to secure border wall funding over Congress’s objection.

But that near certainty appeared to shift on Tuesday as Vice President Mike Pence pressed Senate Republicans at a closed-door meeting before their weekly policy lunch.

If I'm reading this correctly, the Senate would be revising the law on future emergency declarations, but not the Wall issue. Which would almost be worth it, just to keep Trump under control going down the road. But what if Trump Vetoes that bill? Can we count on enough Republican Senators to have the intestinal fortitude and personal integrity to override? That was a rhetorical question, because that fantasy creature doesn't exist. As for Tillis, he's just blowin' in the wind, as usual:

The right bill for the wrong reason: NC Senate passes whistleblower protections

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Just in time for Sunshine Week:

A bill passed by the N.C. Senate last week to provide greater protections for government whistleblowers is a move in the right direction.

The Protecting Government Accountability Act passed unanimously, 44-0, after adopting two amendments that strengthen it. One requires heads of state agencies, departments and institutions to inform their employees about the law. The other clarifies that the protections cover state employee testimony to agents or employees of legislative inquiry panels appointed by the House speaker or Senate president pro tempore.

The key word there is "agents." They're called "private" investigators for a reason, because they operate outside normal parameters that dictate the behavior of government investigators. The Governor is right to shield state employees from their scrutiny, and to demand the General Assembly get its answers in a formal setting. And as for this observation:

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