NCGA

UNC issues painfully optimistic summary of "Collaboratory" goals

A whole lotta roses, but no mention of the thorns:

The collaboratory will facilitate the dissemination of the policy and research expertise of the University for practical use by state and local government officials in the area of natural resources management policy.

Serving as a clearinghouse and coordinating entity, the collaboratory will connect the academic and research expertise of Carolina faculty who specialize in environmental and related public policy areas with state and local governments on environmental policy issues.

The way this is written, it would appear this new entity won't be doing any of its own research, which calls into question the $3.5 million in operating revenue. If it does merely "facilitate" and "coordinate" research done by already existing faculty, that means it will be wielding influence over even larger segments of the University, who currently operate under their own mandates. If I'm reading that wrong, you can blame this naive press release, and not me. And this leaves one critical question unanswered:

Outrage over Woodhouse e-mail continues to grow

Tim White from the Fay-O speaks out:

The last time the local board of elections met, Republican Kevin Hight proposed an early-voting plan that would eliminate the Smith Recreation Center as an early-voting site and end Sunday voting. I was surprised, because he certainly knows that the rec center is in the middle of a mostly African-American neighborhood near Fayetteville State University, and that it's well used by voters there. He also knows that Sunday voting - "souls to the polls" - is really popular in African-American church congregations. It was, in short, a pretty blatant move to cut into the black vote - which is also a predominantly Democratic vote.

Judge tells UNC not to enforce HB2

gavelbanging.jpg

The pillars of state-sponsored discrimination are crumbling:

While legal challenge to HB2 proceeds, judge prohibits UNC from enforcing the discriminatory provision targeting transgender people in facilities operated by the University.

"Today's decision is an important step towards rectifying the harm HB2 has done to North Carolina -- specifically the LGBTQ people that call North Carolina home,” said Equality NC Director of Advancement Matt Hirschy. “Judge Schroeder's decision confirms that HB2 is a blatant attack on the transgender community. The preliminary injunction will provide much-needed relief to the brave plaintiffs, and we are confident that this is just the beginning in an unfortunately long journey towards a full repeal of the worst anti-LGBTQ law in the nation."

While this injunction only applies to the plaintiffs in the suit, it does imply that Judge Schroeder is leaning in the direction that HB2 violates Title IX protections. Fingers crossed.

McCrory's incompetence on display over Jaguar gaffe

Talk about a short attention span:

Gov. Pat McCrory tells the crowd about a secret meeting he had in England a year and a half ago with auto execs from Jaguar and Land Rover, where they took him to a pub in Stratford to “not talk business.”

“I don’t really drink at all, but I was taking a few sips and they were just downing it,” he says to laughter. And after several hours, they wanted to talk business – asking him why they shouldn’t move their jobs to Mexico. He realized the competition was no longer just Virginia, South Carolina and Tennessee. North Carolina is competing against the rest of the world, he says. And we ultimately lost that bid to Poland, he says.

The reason they were "just downing it" is because they were never really serious about building an auto manufacturing plant in North America. As usual, McCrory was just being used by more powerful people to help them get what they want. And if our Governor had been that interested in their final decision, he would know that Poland ended up losing the deal to Slovakia:

The media's hit-and-miss coverage of GOP voter suppression

False equivalencies and fear of conspiracy theories:

For corporate media, it’s safer to stay within the comfy template of false balance: Trump and the R’s say voter fraud is rampant; the D’s say it’s not. It is an improvement that some journalists are stating the obvious fact that voter fraud is a myth. But the debate seldom digs deeper. Doing so would require dealing with thorny issues that Americans tend to avoid in most public settings, namely the racism and inequality wrapped up in voter suppression. The “voter fraud—yes or no” conflict papers over all that.

While media outlets do (usually) acknowledge that voter fraud is a rare occurrence, they rarely point out the obvious follow-up point: That Republicans are using the myth to enact unnecessary laws that are targeted at minorities and college students. Read the whole thing. It's a harsh analysis, but it does provide some insight into the public's apparent lack of understanding on this important issue.

The true costs of anti-abortion movements

Proving the "women's health" excuse is a dangerous myth:

From 2000 to the end of 2010, Texas’s estimated maternal mortality rate hovered between 17.7 and 18.6 per 100,000 births. But after 2010, that rate had leaped to 33 deaths per 100,000, and in 2014 it was 35.8. Between 2010 and 2014, more than 600 women died for reasons related to their pregnancies. No other state saw a comparable increase.

In the wake of the report, reproductive health advocates are blaming the increase on Republican-led budget cuts that decimated the ranks of Texas’s reproductive healthcare clinics. In 2011, just as the spike began, the Texas state legislature cut $73.6m from the state’s family planning budget of $111.5m. The two-thirds cut forced more than 80 family planning clinics to shut down across the state.

It might seem obvious to say Texas is big, but you really can't grasp the size until you try to drive your car from one point to another. I live between the Triangle and the Triad here in NC, and I can drive to the beach and back, or Asheville and back, in about 7 hours. It doesn't work like that in Texas, where it takes 8-10 hours just to get somewhere. And now, many women must travel that distance just to go to a clinic, which also means paying for 1-2 nights in a hotel. And make no mistake, several Republicans in the NC Legislature are looking to Texas for guidance on how to make that happen here:

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