The tragedy that is Senator Thom Tillis

If you follow the never-ending propaganda produced by Thom Tillis, you know the junior Senator from North Carolina has recently shifted into full-scale campaign mode. After four years of literally doing nothing, Tillis seems to realize that two more lackluster years would cost him dearly. As a result, he is literally scrambling to rehabilitate his image. It's not going well.

The state of mediocrity

An excellent editorial, received today via email from WRAL.

When it comes to excellence, North Carolina seems satisfied with achieving unparalleled mediocrity.

Why work to be the best when the state can continue to give unnecessary tax breaks to corporations – on top of massive federal tax cuts? Then, after revenues dry up, explain away stagnation with “that’s the best we can do with the money we have” to deliver important government responsibilities that are just alright? It’s government on the cheap. In too many cases, North Carolina taxpayers aren’t even getting what they pay for.

North Carolina is among the bottom half of states in per-student public school spending and average pay for public school teachers.

The state’s dropped to 40th with a “C-“ grade in Education Week’s “2018 Quality Counts” report card on public education. North Carolina received a C- grade and a score of 70.6 out of a possible 100 in the 2018 Quality Counts report released this week by Education Week. That’s below the national grade of C and score of 74.5. North Carolina’s score put it 40th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. That’s a DROP of two slots from a year earlier.

Tuesday News: Stolen valor

AG JOSH STEIN SUPPORTS CHALLENGE OF COLUMBUS COUNTY SHERIFF: Republican Jody Greene unseated then-Columbus County Sheriff and Democrat Lewis Hatcher by just 34 votes this fall. Several protests of those results are pending with the state Board of Elections. Under state law and the North Carolina Constitution, an election shall not be certified while such petitions are pending. Nonetheless, Columbus County officials swore in Jody Greene as sheriff last month. A state elections board spokesman said Greene should not have been sworn in and that Hatcher should still be Columbus County sheriff. A petition against his victory includes charges that absentee ballots were mishandled by L. McRae Dowless. Dowless is the campaign operative at the heart of the investigation into alleged election fraud in North Carolina's 9th congressional district. The North Carolina Attorney General's office authorized Hatcher's attorney to file a superior court complaint on behalf of the state.
http://www.wunc.org/post/constitutional-crisis-could-be-brewing-columbus-county

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This is almost funny:

That's right, in his rush to avoid answering questions from the media, Mark Harris tripped an emergency alarm on his way out. And then later blamed it on football:

Congressional Democrats vow to intervene if court tries to force certification of Harris

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And it appears they have the authority to do just that:

The House Democratic investigations could pave the way for a new election in the district, even if the court orders the board of elections to certify Harris as the winner instead of the board ordering a re-vote itself. The House Administration Committee, now controlled by Democrats, has the authority to call for another election after investigating the 2018 results.

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who is slated to chair an election-focused subcommittee of the House Administration Committee, told POLITICO that the House will intervene if the North Carolina court ordered the election certified for Harris before the state investigation has concluded. Any House member could object to seating Harris and block him, triggering an investigation by Fudge's committee.

It might seem like a trivial detail, but you'll notice from the headline above I didn't say, "...court tries to certify Harris." Because it does not have that authority. It does, however, have the authority to "direct" the NC BoE to certify Harris, via Writ of Mandamus. But Congress itself has the final say, apparently:

Monday News: Crooked Creek blues

SPARKS WILL FLY AT WAKE COMMISSIONERS MEETING OVER SALE OF PARKLAND: This proposal will likely be supported by board Chairwoman Jessica Holmes and Commissioner James West. They, along with Ford, were the three votes against purchasing the property last summer. Commissioners Matt Calabria and Sig Hutchinson, long-time supporters of the proposed park, will likely oppose selling it. Ford has called selling the property a correction to “an unprecedented and controversial action.” Calabria and Hutchinson have said buying the property $45,000 below market value was an excellent deal to help bring a park into an area where there are no county parks currently. That leaves both factions trying to win over new commissioners Vickie Adamson and Susan Evans. It’s just their second meeting as commissioners, and neither has said how she’ll vote. But last year’s contentious primary might give people an idea.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article223923295.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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PLAYGROUND ANTICS DON'T HELP RESOLVE REAL WORRIES ABOUT ELECTION CONDUCT: Their behavior has been erratic. In less than a month, they and other GOP leaders have: Demanded the Republican candidate Mark Harris be declared the winner; Supported a delay in certification of a winner pending a full investigation; Said the alleged improper activity tainted the Republican primary so there needed to be a full do-over and; Now, again, demanding Harris be certified the election winner. In a silly statement Hayes said if he didn’t get his way he wouldn’t play, refusing to allow ANY Republican to take part in the interim Elections Board Democrat Cooper was forming. He took to playground name-calling. While most rational folks would say the latest evidence suggests drawing any conclusion about the Ninth District election now is premature, Woodhouse threw a tantrum on CNN declaring that the state Board of Elections was looking to “take away an election victory earned by Mr. (Mark) Harris and the Republican Party at the ballot box.”
https://www.wral.com/editorial-playground-antics-don-t-help-resolve-real-worries-about-election-cond...

The AOC effect: 70% marginal tax rate dissected

A high level of energy can spur growth or destroy:

Progressive House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for a sharp tax hike on the highest incomes in order to fund a massive “Green New Deal” plan that would phase out fossil fuels by 2030, as she tries to push the political debate to the left.

“It’s ambitious,” the New York Representative told 60 Minutes in an interview scheduled to air Sunday. “It’s going to require a lot of rapid change that we don’t even conceive as possible right now.”

Several of my more intelligent (than me) friends have been explaining why this is a good idea, using frequent references back to when the tax rate for the wealthy was even higher than she's proposing. And those arguments are intellectually sound. But here's the thing: After some of the nasty battles we've fought within the party over the last several years, it's become apparent that many Democrats simply do not understand the ideological makeup of American voters. We haven't had a "landslide" Presidential election in numerous cycles, and for all practical purposes, our country is split 50-50. To say that's a "delicate balance" is a vast understatement. I'll continue below the fold, for brevity's sake:

Saturday News: Gerrymandering saga continues

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US SUPREME COURT WILL TAKE ON NC PARTISAN REDISTRICTING IN MARCH: The Supreme Court is plunging back into the issue of whether electoral districts can be too partisan. Disputes have arisen in cases involving North Carolina's heavily Republican congressional map and a Democratic congressional district in Maryland, and the justices said Friday they will hear arguments in March. The high court could come out with the first limits on partisan politics in the drawing of electoral districts, but also could ultimately decide that federal judges have no role in trying to police political mapmaking. Justice Anthony Kennedy had said he was open to limits. He has since retired, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh has taken Kennedy's seat. He has no judicial record on the issue.
https://www.wral.com/supreme-court-to-review-nc-s-partisan-congressional-map/18104153/

Stark evidence that private/charter schools are bringing back segregation

The numbers don't lie:

In 1988, enrollment figures for Wilson County Schools showed 52 percent non-white students and 48 percent white. Today, a breakdown of Wilson County Schools’ 11,164 students shows the student population is 44 percent black, 30 percent white, 20 percent Hispanic, 1.4 percent Asian and 4.6 percent other race.

According to PrivateSchoolReview.com, Wilson area private schools have a lower percentage of students of color. The site notes that Greenfield School has 11 percent students of color, Community Christian School has 17 percent students of color, Wilson Christian Academy has 5 percent students of color and Garnett Christian Academy has 11 percent students of color.

Bolding mine, because a shift of that magnitude over a thirty year period doesn't happen by accident. That's what providing "choice" to parents will accomplish; the choice to avoid black people. Let's roll back the clock a little bit to see why this is so important in Wilson County:

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