NCGA

Control of NC courts

In an attempt to further gerrymander elections for our Court of Appeals, SB 667 has suddenly appeared.

Candidates registered with political parties that reflect at least five percent (5%) of statewide voter registration, according to the most recent statistical report published by the State Board of Elections, in alphabetical order by party beginning with the party whose nominee for Governor received the most votes in the most recent gubernatorial election and in alphabetical order within the party.

John Hood's "cheerleading" glosses over uncounted suffering

Lost somewhere between fluff and nonsense:

The General Assembly’s latest contribution to that effort, a 2016-17 state budget, will continue to make North Carolina a national leader in conservative reform. It cuts taxes for virtually all households, saves nearly half a billion dollars more in the state’s rainy-day fund, and offsets new spending on high priorities such as teacher pay and law enforcement with cuts and economies elsewhere in the budget. It also advances core conservative ideas such as school choice, innovation, competition, and pay for performance.

Bolding mine. The only thing true Libertarians hate more than tax-and-spend is to dedicate taxpayer dollars to build up huge (government-controlled) reserves. That's a half-billion dollars that should have remained in the pockets of those individuals John Hood says are the best ones to decide its use. That "rainy-day fund" also exposes one of the GOP's biggest weaknesses, the ability to estimate/predict costs on an annual basis. Every year since they've taken over, huge budget inconsistencies have emerged, with massive shortages and magical surpluses appearing and disappearing. The sheer incompetence boggles the mind. If that happened in the private sector, the entire accounting department would be fired, and there'd likely be some embezzling indictments to follow that. Back to the huge mound of BS:

Achievement School District bill heads to McCrory

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State-sponsored piracy of public schools:

The House passed the Senate version of a bill Wednesday to create a five-school Achievement School District pilot program for schools that have shown consistently poor growth and performance.

A State Board of Education-appointed superintendent could choose charter companies with proven success to run the schools. The companies would have hiring and firing powers and would be exempt from oversight and evaluations from local school boards.

There are numerous faulty assumptions built into this bill, not the least of which is the idea that removing a critical oversight mechanism (local school boards) will somehow encourage performance. And considering these boards are comprised of locally-elected officials, it actually takes away parental control. But in the minds of Republicans, ideology trumps logic every time.

GOP doubles-down on HB2 bigotry: Sex reassignment "certificate" required

Either show me your woo-woo or show me your papers:

A leaked draft of proposed changes to N.C. House Bill 2 ignited controversy Tuesday, drawing criticism from both supporters and detractors of the law.

The leaked draft of the changes, widely circulated this week, would: Keep the bathroom provisions as they are. Create a “certificate of sex reassignment” for North Carolinians who come from states without a way to update birth certificates. Since many transgender people do not wish to have surgery to obtain a new birth certificate, LGBT advocates oppose such a plan. They also express concern that this would effectively create a state registry of those who have had such surgeries, raising privacy issues.

And once again, the faux-Libertarian "privacy rights" crowd produces a deafening silence. Liberty for some, tyranny for others, especially if those others don't conform to a broken moral compass wielded by self-appointed religious prophets. What's funny (really not funny) is how Tea Party nutters obsess over the dangers posed by ISIS and "Radical Islam," but I'm beginning to think they're just jealous. Jealous that they can't march through a town and summarily execute deviants and/or tribes that refuse to conform to their twisted ideologies. Is that hyperbole? Examine the parallels and then get back to me.

Coal Ash Wednesday: SELC statement on HB 630

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Kneeling at the altar of Duke Energy:

The following is a statement by Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center regarding the latest Duke Energy Bailout Bill, HB 630, that came out of closed doors today and is moving quickly through the North Carolina legislature:

“Following closed door meetings, the North Carolina Senate today moved to change state law to delay and provide Duke Energy loopholes to avoid coal ash cleanups. This coal ash bill is damning proof that the families and communities of North Carolina can’t rely on state politicians to protect their drinking water supplies from Duke Energy’s coal ash pollution."

Per Kirk Ross, the total time given to discuss this bill in both committee and on the floor of the Senate was less than half an hour, for some 33 pages. Which I find ironic as hell considering how often Duke Energy whines about "needing more time" to assess the situation. When they need more time, they get it. When our duly elected representatives need more time to study 33 pages of legislation, that time is simply not available. It's a pretty clear message of who owns the House and Senate. The rest of the statement:

And this week's Buffoon Award goes to Jimmy Dixon

Because protecting children from lead poisoning is such a laughing matter:

Schools and child care centers would be required to test their drinking water for lead under a bill moving forward in the N.C. House. House Majority Leader Mike Hager, a Rutherfordton Republican, sponsored the bill that could be on the House floor for a vote sometime this week.

Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a Duplin County Republican, cautioned against “sensationalizing” the issue of lead in water, and he said anyone who did so “needs a real good spanking and be sent to time out.”

Yeah, somebody needs to check Jimmy Dixon's drinking water, because plainly his little gray cells have shriveled up and died. Sheesh.

GOP attack on teachers crosses the line

Your First Amendment rights mean nothing to the tyrants:

The majority of the crimes listed in the bill make perfect sense if the goal is – as it should be – to keep our students safe.

But the inclusion of Article 36A, which includes the act of remaining “at the scene of ... disorderly conduct by an assemblage of three or more persons, following a command to disperse,” departs from that sincere desire to protect our children. It means that individuals who have been arrested for protesting the lack of textbooks and toilet paper in North Carolina schools could be denied teaching careers, and those already teaching could potentially have their licenses revoked due to such an arrest.

Again, the stifling of school teachers is a signature trait of authoritarian/totalitarian regimes, and the fact Republicans would so casually include something like this in Legislation proves they simply do not grasp the basic concepts of democracy.

Must read: Gene Nichols' comprehensive indictment of GOP governing

Ten charges that encompass hundreds of bad acts:

1. Tragically refused to expand Medicaid. Merely to show disdain for President Obama, they’ve denied health care to a half million poor Tar Heels though the federal government would pay almost all the fare. Hospitals have closed, tens of thousands of jobs have been lost, over $30 billion in federal funds are surrendered and a thousand or more of us die each year as a result of one of the most cruel and indefensible decisions in N.C. history.

Please read the entire article. It is extensive, but these things must not be ignored or forgotten. While #1 above is easily the biggest life-and-death failure on the GOP's part, it's just the tip of the iceberg:

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