Thursday, June 30, 2016

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

AppState to Bill Aceto: "Where's the Beef?"

Bill Aceto
Recall that the Republican Chair of the Watauga County Board of Elections, Bill Aceto, wrote AppState Chancellor Sheri Everts a letter in May demanding that she not even consider suggesting the AppState Student Union as an Early Voting site this fall, because, according to Aceto, there were numerous complaints about that site. No such complaints have ever surfaced because no such complaints exist ... except in the minds of Bill Aceto and his political boss, County Attorney "Four" Eggers.

Sheri Everts has now replied to Aceto's letter. The fourth paragraph is the important one (though the final paragraph ain't no slouch in throwing down the gauntlet). Translation: Put up or shut up about complaints about the Student Union as an Early Voting site.

Bill Aceto's original letter was a bluff. Chancellor Sheri Everts has now called that bluff.

Aceto and his fellow Republican Board member Nancy Owen will be under full public inspection when the Board of Elections meets on July 12 (5 p.m., in the Commissioners Boardroom) to approve an Early Voting plan for Watauga.

Can we expect intransigence from Aceto on the subject of the ASU Student Union as an Early Voting site? You bet!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Backroom Deal on HB2 Changes Nothing

Word has arrived that the Republicans in Raleigh have proposed changes to HB2, mainly in the form of an application that a transgender citizen can fill out to get permission to use a public toilet.

That would be funny, except it's not.

The "fix" doesn’t restore any of the employment protections that HB2 abolished. Municipalities will still be unable to pass their own non-discrimination ordinances.

Hurry up, November 8!

Close Budget-Reading Underway

Apparently, the new Republican state budget gives $50,000 each to two anti-abortion pregnancy centers in Winston-Salem and Yadkinville.

Just seen on Twitter: "State money to orgs that lie to women and were found to shame/try to convert non-Christians. Call the lawyers."

Nothing this bunch in Raleigh does any more surprises us. Outrages us, but doesn't surprise.

Morning Dispatch From the Bottom of the Barrel

Pharmacist and Super Christian Bob Diamond is running for the North Carolina Senate for District 37, the Mecklenberg district currently represented by Sen. Jeff Jackson, one of the rising stars in the NC Democratic Party.

Bob Diamond, meanwhile, is a certified dick.

He recently implied that the 49 victims of the Orlando massacre deserved it:

This is the quality person the NCGOP has tapped to run against an actual good human being.

Meanwhile, what does Bob Diamond deserve?

Monday, June 27, 2016

BREAKING NEWS (With Implications for North Carolina)

(Hattip: Politico) The U.S. Supreme Court just struck two key provisions of a sweeping anti-abortion law in Texas, ruling that the state had imposed unconstitutional burdens on women's access to abortion.

Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with the court’s liberals in the 5-3 decision, the most significant abortion ruling in a generation. The decision marks the first time the court has put limits on state abortion legislation in more than 15 years.

In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a group of Texas abortion clinics challenged the state law that required health providers have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and perform abortions in ambulatory surgical centers.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Rep. Jonathan Jordan: More Radical Meddling in Local Governments

You know something's up when "Blogger" over at Watauga Conservative sez NC House Rep. Jonathan Jordan is in bed with the wrong people.

What's Jordan done? Introduced a bill (which has already passed the NC House) that will remove local municipalities from the approval process of big building projects. Jordan sez he wants to "level the playing field," which is Republican-speak for "unleash big developers from zoning restraints."

Boone, you awake?

According to the Watauga Democrat, "Under the bill, developers can surpass boards of adjustments and choose that appeals of zoning and building decisions be heard by Superior Court or business court if they assert that an ordinance violates federal or state constitutional law, is preemptive or presents excessive authority, violates common law or statutory vested rights or constitutes a taking of property."

If they assert. Merely.

That language would force towns like Boone to defend development regs constantly in court, purely on the basis of an assertion by Mr. Big Businessman that his rights have been violated. Republicans of Jordan's particular stripe always believe that any limits, or hoops-to-jump-through, or hindrances to their plans, are insufferable violations of personal rights, so a lawyer of Jordan's stripe ought to get plenty of business from this law.

Jordan actually introduced H483, "Land Use Regulatory Changes," in April of 2015, and it passed the House that same month with little debate. It's moving through the NC Senate now. According to the League of Municipalities, the major harms in the bill are not insignificant, particularly the usurpation of local control:
Increased litigation and litigation costs would result from the bill because it allows individuals to skip a Board of Adjustment appeal and take cases directly to Superior Court for a new and full review; protections for neighboring property owners would be weakened by a number of provisions, including by eliminating an existing legal rule that discourages continuing development during an appeal; several changes to existing performance guarantee rules could leave local taxpayers to foot the bill if infrastructure fails, and leave purchasers in the development damaged should that occur.
Big Brother has a Big Belly for meddling and for seizing local power.

There's No End to the Republican Extremism in Raleigh

Perhaps worried that their troops won't turn out in November, Republican Overlords in the NC General Assembly decided to goose right-wing voter turnout by unveiling a bill yesterday containing "a constitutional hat trick," as WRAL's Laura Leslie dubbed it -- three proposed amendments to the state constitution tucked into a single bill. All three, if approved by a three-fifths vote of both the House and the Senate, would appear on the ballot in this November's election.

One of the three, in particular, is guaranteed to rev up the know-nothings who hate everything: a so-called "taxpayer's bill of rights" (TABOR) which the Overlords aren't calling by that name, because since Colorado tried something very similar in 1992, TABOR has had only bad press and worse fall-out for the single state that ever tried it:
A Taxpayer Bill of Rights or TABOR is a constitutional measure that limits the annual growth in state (and sometimes local) revenues or spending to the sum of the inflation rate and the percentage change in the state’s population .... Overriding these limits requires voters’ approval or some other high bar, such as a supermajority vote of the legislature.
Colorado enacted the nation’s only TABOR in 1992 but suspended it for five years in 2005 in response to a sharp decline in public services. Though anti-government groups have promoted TABOR proposals in at least 30 states since 2004, no other states have adopted it. [Center on Budget & Policy Priorities]
 God help us.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Virginia Foxx Labors Long and Delivers an Opinion on the Democratic Sit-In

What She Said
“I agree with Speaker Ryan that this [Democratic sit-in on the House floor] is nothing more than a publicity stunt.” 

What She Meant
Shit! Wish we'd thought of that!


What She Said
“We are not going to bring up a bill, which was already defeated in the Senate, that violates the Fifth Amendment and takes away a citizen’s due process rights.”

What She Meant
You see what I did there? I made it a Constitutional issue, that any suspected terrorist on the "No Fly" list has a Constitutional right to buy an AR-15, a right which I'm not going to interfere with, because I'm a little teapot, short and stout. This is my handle. This is my spout. Tip me over and pour me out.