4th Circuit slaps down Republican voter suppression law

The intent to disenfranchise people of color is obvious:

We appreciate and commend the court on its thoroughness. The record evidence provides substantial support for many of its findings; indeed, many rest on uncontested facts. But, for some of its findings, we must conclude that the district court fundamentally erred. In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees. This failure of perspective led the court to ignore critical facts bearing on legislative intent, including the inextricable link between race and politics in North Carolina.

Boom. Or is it Bam? One of those two things.

Hapless McCrory blames Cooper for NBA All-Star exodus

He's going to have to see a chiropractor after this twist:

"We actually had a deal with the NBA," McCrory said. The deal did not include any change to the restroom, showers, or locker room provisions of HB2. He said the NBA leaders told him that this was not an issue for them.

But the deal was tanked by leftist politicians and activists. Namely, his Democratic opponent - Attorney General Roy Cooper. "Roy actually helped sabotage that deal by calling Democratic legislators to say don't vote - all or nothing - don't vote for it. By sabotaging that, the NBA decided not to come. The HRC [Human Rights Campaign] was very, very influential in trying to sabotage that, too."

Okay, let me get this straight, because your "confused little boy" fist-clenching is really hard to follow: You claim you had an agreement with the NBA, and the Senate bill in question was acceptable to them. The bill passed, you signed it, so your alleged "deal" was honored. The Dem Senators didn't "sabotage" the vote, they just refused to take part. So apparently you did not have a deal with the NBA, unless it was merely in your imagination. Which is very possible. And also more than a little scary...

When charter schools go horribly wrong


They can leave your child struggling to catch up:

In spring 2014 with about a month left in the school year, StudentFirst was in debt by more than $600,000 and shut its doors, giving only a week’s notice. Rochelle scrambled to get her children into a public magnet school operated by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district.

A few weeks later at the new school, her eldest son, CJ, a third-grader, failed the end-of-year reading test—and Rochelle fully realized that StudentFirst’s shortcomings were not just financial, but academic as well. “It became clear that CJ had learned virtually nothing. He fell behind in all subject areas. He went to summer school after that to begin catching up.”

This whole idea of "competition" improving results all around in education is faulty, and the product of an equally faulty economic model. Competition in the retail sector brings focus to prices, driving them down. Which encourages stocking even cheaper products, very often imports slapped together in foreign sweatshops. The overall quality of goods deteriorates, and the same thing happens in the education sector. Charters and vouchers siphon off funding that should go to traditional schools, and these new private-sector "competitors" can employ non-certified teachers, some of them with no formal training in educating children. Instead of demanding quality, we're crossing our fingers and hoping quality magically appears out of thin air. That's not responsible leadership, it's the exact opposite: The complete abrogation of responsibility.

Op-Ed on the GOP's disingenuous attack on wind energy in NC

In which I preach from my chair a little bit:

In each of the last five years, we have seen numerous attempts by the Republican-led General Assembly to erode environmental protections and undermine the fantastic growth in our clean energy sector. Some have succeeded, some have failed, but the efforts have been relentless. In this previous short session, one of the more notable of these was Sen. Harry Brown’s attempt to ban the construction of wind energy projects in the vast majority of the state, in particular eastern North Carolina, where the most suitable winds are located.

While this bill failed to pass out of the N.C. House this year, Brown has promised to bring it back again next year. When he does, it needs to go to the Rules Committee or wherever the muckety-mucks decide is the best place for it to die a slow, legislative death.

I would like to take this time to encourage everybody reading this to engage in the process of analysis and feedback with media outlets, especially print media. Their "stable" of content creators has shrank severely in the last decade or so, and they are much more open to publishing material from non-standard sources. By "non-standard" I mean clumsy amateurs like myself. :)

Ready, fire, aim: Bumbling NC GOP attacks Tim Kaine for lapel pin

And of course they get it horribly wrong:

“[Tim Kaine] wears a Honduras flag pin on his jacket but no American flag,” the state party tweeted as he was speaking. “Shameful.”

There was one problem: Kaine’s pin, which had a single blue star on a white background bordered with red, wasn’t the flag of Honduras, where he spent a year as a missionary decades ago. It was the symbol for Blue Star Families, or those with members serving in the military.

Which is symbolic of most of the criticism leveled at the Democratic Convention by Republicans: Picking out some tiny little detail and then constructing a fictional narrative to "evil" it up. But frankly, I don't blame them for grabbing at straws. After their freak show of a convention, with so much hateful and un-American posturing, they are desperate to save face. Ain't gonna happen.

Left behind: The GOP cuts funding for special needs children

Because tax cuts for the wealthy take precedence:

About 2,200 children are part of the state's CAP/C program, which gives medically fragile children, and their families, access to money for nursing and other special needs. News that the state was reducing those services stunned the Weaver family when they found out Sophia's allotted nursing hours would be cut in half.

"It was completely shocking," Weaver said. "I was stressed and in shock for a couple of days and then I just got my mom spirit going and decided I needed to fight this. I will do whatever it takes to fight it, and that's what I'm doing right now."

If lawmakers were forced to spend just one hour taking care of one of these children, at least some of them might get it. But that would never happen, because they keep themselves insulated from such suffering. And their policies reflect that disconnect.

Coastal Review publishes primer on critical habitats

The key to protecting endangered species:

Currently, more than 1,500 species are listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. As of January, though, critical habitat has been designated for 704 listed species, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the primary agency that administers the law.

There’s no one simple explanation for the lag. Officials in the agencies responsible for determining critical habitat blame funding and staff constraints for the backlog. Environmentalists and some academics say that politics also play a big part in missed deadlines because critical habitat designations are usually seen as threats to commerce and development.

The GOP's misguided approach to economic development

Far behind where we should be:

How bad is the economy in the rural areas of the state? Last year, of the 83,700 jobs added in North Carolina, 75 percent were in Raleigh and Charlotte. The projection for this year is that there will be 86,000 new jobs with 55 percent in Raleigh and Charlotte.

That’s not to suggest there isn’t any growth or entrepreneurial innovation in North Carolina. But often those efforts are met with hostility instead of support. A case in point is the state’s growing clean energy economy. Rather than support one of the fastest growing renewable energy sectors in the nation, Republican leaders build roadblocks and seek to impose added and unnecessary regulation – a rather ironic ploy given the anti-regulation mantra many are given to.

It is painfully ironic. It's one thing to cross your arms and refuse to support or celebrate the growth of Solar and wind energy. But to actively oppose these things stinks of intervention by the fossil fuel industry, making it obvious to anybody with half a brain Republicans don't really care about economic growth.


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