NCGA

Say the "magic words" or your right to vote is questioned

New Hanover County BoE administers geography test to student voters:

In New Hanover County, dormitory students who cannot state their street address will not be allowed to cast a regular ballot in the coming election. The New Hanover County Democratic Party is challenging this procedure, saying it disenfranchises student voters.

"In other counties, they send dormitory lists to the polling place, and the poll workers have them, and if the student can identify the dormitory they live in, they assist them with the street address. And there’s really been no good reason stated by this Board of Elections why they’re out of sync with the State Board of Elections and other counties."

There's a reason all right, it just isn't a "good" reason. Assisting average voters is not high on the GOP's list of priorities, and assisting student voters is not on that list at all. It's on another list, that would be titled "suppress these people," if they were dumb enough to actually write it down somewhere.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Putting lipstick on a toxic pig

Duke Energy's "philanthropy" geared towards area beautification, not watershed protection:

The foundation is particularly interested in receiving applications from economic development programs that would enhance “community beautification and maintenance with a measurable impact on increasing tourism, business and population growth within the county.”

In the environmental category, RCCF seeks programs “that have a visible impact on the local community, such as outdoor classrooms or environmental signage along trails, (and) walkways along the river.”

While this $10 million from Duke Energy was a voluntary donation and had no regulatory requirements attached, the "visible impact" qualifier for use of these funds makes it part of their wider public relations efforts. Most of the real work that is done safeguarding and enhancing water quality is not visible to the average passerby, but it's much more important than streetscaping or posting a sign by a trail.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

We'll start out with a detestable specimen of right-wing trickery:

He's lucky I wasn't there at the time. Evil Steve has been itching to emerge, if only for a few minutes.

Tillis banking on "kitchen table" issues

In other words, he's waiting for Fox News to tell him what to scare people with:

But the political ripples of legislation the General Assembly has passed that reduced unemployment benefits, initiated new voting and abortion restrictions and rejected Medicaid expansion also awakened Democrats into action. And allegations from Hagan and her allies — amped with millions of dollars for television ads — that Tillis harmed public education wasn't easily shaken entering the fall.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Tillis said the path to persuading the undecideds to vote for him runs along kitchen-table issues and increased worries of average citizens that have grown under Democratic leadership. "I will be obsessed with fulfilling the promise that these Republicans running across the country are making today," Tillis said at the Raleigh rally.

What Tillis seems to be forgetting here: Hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians are struggling to put food on that kitchen table, and many of them owe that difficulty to the Republican Party's gross mistreatment of the unemployed. And dedicating yourself to serving the desires of Republicans from other states has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. That statement needs to be part of Hagan's ad blitz, like right now.

Tipping the scales: NC's Judiciary shaped by out-of-state money

The final frontier of unchecked power:

But the mandatory retirement of Sarah Parker, the chief justice from 2006 until the end of August, opened up a spot on the bench. Gov. Pat McCrory appointed Associate Justice Mark Martin, a Republican, to fill the vacancy until the Nov. 4 elections. Robert N. Hunter Jr., a Republican who was on the N.C. Court of Appeals, was then named to serve in Martin’s seat until the election.

That shifted the balance in September to five Republicans and two Democrats. There have been few cases decided since then that reflect what that shift might mean for politically charged lawsuits.

There may have been only time for a "few" cases, but they've been instructive enough. The Supreme Court is gearing up to become much more involved in cases with a partisan nature, pre-empting the lower Court of Appeals when it will be advantageous to do so. That "pro-active" approach to the law does not bode well for those seeking Constitutional clarification or redress, nor does having justices owe allegiance to DC political heavyweights:

Anti-LGBT bigots attack John Arrowood

The religious tyrants will stop at nothing in their hate-fueled crusade

The leader of a Fayetteville church used a disparaging term to refer to a gay state Court of Appeals candidate, John Arrowood, saying he shouldn’t be running. “I say he should step down because he’s already biased” against the marriage amendment, said Johnny Hunter of Cliffdale Community Church. Arrowood, a Charlotte lawyer, was once on the board of the Equality NC political action committee. He served on the appeals court in 2007-8.

“I think it’s unfortunate that people have chosen to make my sexuality an issue,” Arrowood said in an interview Thursday. “I have a record of showing that I am fair and unbiased and that I have no agenda. I have a record that people can see. I think it’s unfortunate in the 21st century that people seem to think my sexual orientation is an issue.”

As far as I'm concerned, the race for this CoA seat just went from "pick your favorite" to "support John Arrowood at all costs." Those of you Dems who were considering someone else, whether because you like something about that someone else or because you're inclined to do the exact opposite of what the NCDP wants you to do (I know you're out there), it's time to take a stand against bigotry. I promise, you will be glad you did, however the election turns out.

Empty suit debates empty chair

And the chair wins a decisive victory:

The program initially billed as a debate between Tillis and other candidates turned into a one-hour conversation with him and two reporters, as well as responses to emailed or recorded questions from the public. Hagan announced over the summer her decision not to participate, while Libertarian Sean Haugh didn't meet a 15 percent polling threshold to join Tillis.

"I'm disappointed that Sen. Hagan's not here," Tillis said in a closing statement in which he repeated themes from their previous three televised debates with Hagan in which he linked her closely to President Barack Obama's policies.

And I'm disappointed that both Time Warner and McClatchy felt it was appropriate to continue with such a farce. The candidates agreed to a certain number of debates earlier in the year, and both media outlets were warned well in advance that Hagan wouldn't be attending. To give Tillis airtime to spew his talking points without a serious challenge to their merit should require an "in-kind" contribution disclosure form for the Tillis campaign from both TWC and McClatchy.

Coal Ash Wednesday: McCrory says environmental orgs should help pay for cleanup

Instead of spending their money on political ads against him:

The theme of the spots has been that new regulations the governor signed are too lax. They conclude with the message that the governor “has coal ash on his hands,” showing an image of dirty palms.

"I think it's just a total waste of money," McCrory told reporters during a tour of SAS in Cary. "They ought to be spending their money to clean up the environment ... not on ridiculous, negative political TV ads."

There's more than one mess that needs to be cleaned up. North Carolina's political mess is quite possibly more dangerous to our natural resources than coal ash impoundments, because it encompasses everything from fracking and offshore drilling to the relaxation of air and water quality regulations that keep industry and developers in check. And the only way to clean up that particular mess is to remove the GOP contamination of the General Assembly and the Governor's mansion.

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