Monday, October 31, 2016

McCrory Still Hasn't Got a Clue About Anything

Yesterday, Governor Pat McCroy appeared on Fox News and touted exit poll data that suggests lower Democratic turnout in the state’s early voting period when compared to “the Obama voters [who] were coming out four years ago at this point in time.” [Video of his talking, empty head at this link]

Oh, cool, governor! Voter suppression actually works. Why didn't you say that?

The three-person Republican majority on the State Board of Elections, at their marathon meeting on September 8, did their best to limit early voting in North Carolina, despite the ruling of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. And that's why the turnout numbers are down, Governor Dumbhead.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Rep. Jordan Has a "Tell"

Rep. Jonathan Jordan,
fleeing an interview request in 2015
by WBTV reporter Nick Ochsner
According to the Watauga Democrat, at Monday night's Chamber of Commerce candidate forum, this happened:
When [Sue] Counts challenged [Rep. Jonathan Jordan] on his record on education, telling him to ask teachers whether they were satisfied about their pay, Jordan pointed out that his children attend Ashe County public schools.
"If you think I'm going to short-change education, you're crazy," he said in a raised voice.
Maybe he should have pounded the table too ... to drown out the marching boots of reality.

They're marching, all right. North Carolina teachers are headed for the exits still, going to other states to find teaching jobs where politicians actually value their contribution to society.

The just-released report, “State of the Teaching Profession in North Carolina,” identifies 828 individual teachers who left NC in '15-'16 to teach in other states. This is the second highest number of NC teachers who have left in a given school year to teach in other states, and it’s the second highest percentage of teachers leaving to teach in other states since the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction started tracking the category in 2000.

Jonathan Jordan has been a lock-step Republican in Raleigh and a blatherer of misinformation in his House district, as he claims to be a great champion of public education. Teachers know better, and surely the parents of students also know better.

There are 3,000 fewer teaching assistants than when Jordan and his pals took office in Raleigh. Teachers juggle a chronic textbook shortage. Teachers buy more of their students’ classroom supplies as their own salaries rank only 41st in the nation.

Quite the record, Mr. Jordan. Raise that voice and pound that table! We know what that means: you're lying.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Quick! Throw This Drowning Man an Anchor!

NC House member
Chris Malone
Poor, pitiful Republican! Chris Malone, who represents a Wake County house district well outside the urban core and who proudly voted for HB2, has just had an eleventh-hour conversion. He sent out a mailer saying this:

“HB2 is costing Wake County and North Carolina too much. I call for a full repeal of HB2 now. I also support adding anti-discrimination language to state laws. I call upon law enforcement to enforce existing laws banning inappropriate behavior in public facilities.”

The bill that discriminates against transgender citizens was supposed to rally the Christian right to the Republican banner in North Carolina this year. Hasn't worked out that way, as even the blindest of the brethren can recognize the bleeding of economic development as a result.

Even more interesting: the anti-HB2 mailer was paid for by the NCGOP. Whaaaa? The main cheerleaders for HB2 have visibly cracked under the pressure? When asked about it, the NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse wrapped himself around the trailer hitch trying to explain the flip-flop but still managed to blame Roy Cooper for HB2. BWAhahahaha!
“It is my understanding that Malone has adopted the same position as many of our elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, that both the Charlotte ordinance and HB2 should be repealed,” Woodhouse said in an email Wednesday. “Malone and Republicans believe that would have happened already if Roy Cooper had not leaned on legislative Democrats supporting compromise, telling them that turmoil was better for Democrats than solutions.”
"Turmoil"? You got it, Mr. Woodhouse. You wrote it, you passed it, you defended it, you go down with it!

Okay: Here's the Anchor We're Throwing Mr. Malone
While serving on the Wake County School Board back in 2012, Chris Malone got himself implicated in a scandal with the notorious Debra Goldman, a fellow Wake County School Board member at the time. Goldman herself, after losing a state-wide race for NC Auditor, went on to an even bigger, more baroque scandal, while Chris Malone got himself elected to the NC House where he has now proved himself rudderless.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

BREAKING NEWS: Another 730 Jobs Lost Because of HB2

CoStar Group, a real estate research firm, announced Monday that it had chosen Richmond over Charlotte for its research operations center. Say buh-bye to 730 jobs, Mecklenburg County, and an estimated $250 million in local investment.
CoStar officials had earlier focused their search on a new office tower under construction at 615 S. College Street in uptown Charlotte, where it would have been an anchor tenant, said the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. But the company’s board rejected the location because of HB2, which limits protections for LGBT individuals, the sources said. [Charlotte Observer]
Less than two weeks left before that man who signed that law and who continues to defend it is gone for good!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Skvarla Shakes His Pom-Poms

This is either John Skvarla
or Charles Nelson Reilly
Next to Governor Squishy Hisownself, the dumbest member of the McCrory administration in Raleigh is John Skvarla, who used to be McCrory's appointee to head the Department of Environmental Quality, until he did a face plant into coal ash, at which point McCrory appointed him to head the Commerce Department, where he mainly leads cheers for Squishy's "Carolina Comeback."

According to Skvarla, speaking yesterday in Matthews, HB2 has had zero effect on North Carolina's economic well-being. “It hasn’t moved the needle one iota,” Skvarla said, holding an unmelted pat of Country Crock on his tongue the whole time.

Let's consult the dictionary, shall we? Iota -- noun, 1: the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet; 2: an infinitesimal amount.

Skvarla's statement is in the negative: HB2 has not "moved the needle" even an infinitesimal amount. Has not!

Not the loss of 400 new PayPal jobs in Charlotte? Not the loss of athletic tournaments and championship games, with meals sold in restaurants and beds rented in hotels? Not the loss of tickets sold at concert venues of canceled entertainment? Not the cooling of interest by out-of-state investors unwilling to relocate business to the "bathroom state"?

Then, in a truly Trumpian moment, Skvarla contradicted his whole "not one iota" claim by admitting that he had lashed out at PayPal for jilting the state, because, you know, one lashes out when one isn't affected at all by another's actions.

PayPal has our bowl!
"We want our stuff back," Skvarla apparently snarled at PayPal, referring to a carved oak ceremonial bowl that had been presented to PayPal by Governor Squishy back when the company announced its expansion into North Carolina.

Not one iota, but clearly one bowl's worth!

If I were casting the movie version of this historic time, I would cast Charlie Nelson Reilly as John Skvarla.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Let's Show Judge Bob Edmunds the Way To Go Home

The dark shaded area in that map is North Carolina House District 48, which a panel of three federal judges last August singled out for special comment: "one of the most bizarre and sprawling districts" enacted by the NC General Assembly as part of their racial gerrymandering, now ruled unconstitutional. (In a bizarre twist, the three-judge panel left these gerrymandered districts in effect for the 2016 elections.)

Anyway, NC Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds is catching flak because he had ruled, in advance of the three-judge federal panel, that districts like this one were perfectly all right with him. The three-judge federal panel overturned him, and thereby hangs Judge Edmunds' reelection prospects.

He's being attacked in a 30-second TV ad for approving of racial gerrymandering, and Republican big-wigs in the state (GOP Exec. Dir. Dallas Woodhouse, NCGOP Chair Robin Hayes) are screaming bloody murder, that their Supreme Court Justice Edmunds is being unfairly "race-baited."

The TV ad spotlights US House District 12, not NC House District 48, but the point the ad is making seems amply justified in respect to any of the heavily gerrymandered districts enacted by the Republican General Assembly and which Republican justices on the NC Supremes find no fault with.

Edmunds needs to go. Just remember how the Republican overlords in the General Assembly attempted to jury-rig Edmunds' reelection with the "retention election" scheme, also ruled unconstitutional.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

What's Going On in Caldwell County?

Franklin Graham
News arriving from next door in Caldwell: Republican volunteers were apparently handing out sample ballots at Early Voting marked "Christian candidates" and some were overheard claiming that Democrats "support imposing Sharia law in North Carolina."

Deanna Ballard, Franklin Graham's assistant, was appointed to the NC Senate seat (Dist. 45) after Dan Soucek quit -- another Franklin Graham assistant. Deanna Ballard is now listed prominently on that slate of "Christian candidates." Ballard is running for reelection.

Her opponent, Caldwell County Democrat Art Sherwood, issued a statement: "I know the GOP does not hold exclusive ownership of Christianity, because it is my Christian faith that led to me to seek office – proudly as a Democrat .... Since when did lying become acceptable in the Bible?  With the vulgar Donald Trump at the top of the GOP ticket, claims by Republican poll workers that the GOP represents Christian values is laughable.”

Friday, October 21, 2016

Throwing Us a Line

4-hour wait time to vote reported at this
Mecklenburg Co. site yesterday. Very
hot in the sun!
Some people saw the long lines yesterday on the first day of Early Voting as a celebration of democracy. I get that. But I also see those long wait times as the last gasp of voter suppression.

Fact: We have fewer Early Voting sites open right now in North Carolina than were open in 2012. High Point Enterprise reporter Paul Johnson noted that Guilford County voted 11,000 people on the first day of Early Voting in 2012, with numerous polling sites open. This year, the Guilford BOE Republicans opted to open only one site this week. Consequently, early voting on the 1st day in Guilford was down from 11,000 to under 2,000.

The worst reports we've seen are from Mecklenburg County, whose two Republican BOE members are well-documented enemies (scroll down!) of Early Voting. Four hours in line is unconscionable.

It's been the plan all along, IMO. When the Fourth Circuit threw out NC's election law, the ruling left the Republican Boards of Election with fewer arrows in their quiver. Without the suppressive mechanisms of a photo ID, with voting out of precinct restored, and with same-day registration revived, the Republicans were left with the singular tactic of long lines to discourage voting. Long lines because there are fewer early voting sites and reduced hours.

So far, the people look as though they intend to tough it out. Republicans claim that those long lines prove their innocence: "See, we haven't suppressed the vote." I look at those long lines and see an electorate energized against a ruthless power structure.

Yesterday in Raleigh: Shaw Univ. students
waiting to vote early
Notes on Profiling Voters
Not that all those people in line are voting Democratic!

I suspect we all do it: looking at the line of people waiting to vote and wondering who they'll be voting for. Yesterday morning in line I saw some angry faces, set jaws, pissed-off expressions. "Ah," I thought, "Trump voters!" I have noted over the years that conservatives arrive at the polls with a head of steam. You can tell from their faces that they're fuming.

In my experience, Democrats arrive at their civic duty with happier expressions, more open and jovial faces ... except, of course, for the Democrats intending to write in a name not on the ballot.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Liveblog: The Third Presidential Debate

How bad can it get?

Here we go.

Chris Wallace: Supreme Court ... next prez will have appointments to make. Where do you want to see the court take the country, and how should Constitution be interpreted?

Clinton: What kind of country are we going to be? What opportunities, what rights? Court needs to stand on side of people, not on side of powerful corporations. Court needs to stand up for women's rights, minority rights, stand up against Citizen's United. No reversal of Roe v. Wade, no reversal of marriage rights. Senate should do its job and confirm nominee that Obama sent them.

Trump: Supreme Court--it's what it's all about. Justice Ginsberg made inappropriate comments against me, and she was forced to apologize. Uphold the 2nd Amendment. I've named 20 justices that I'd draw my nominees from. They will protect the 2nd Amendment. They will interpret the document the way the Founders wanted it interpreted. The Constitution the way it's meant to be. [Duh.]

Wallace: Quotes Clinton: "The Supreme Court is wrong on 2nd Amendment."

Clinton: I support the 2nd Amendment, understand and respect gun ownership, but also believe there can be reasonable regulations. We lose 33,000 people a year from guns. Close loop-holes that allow people who shouldn't have guns to have guns.

Wallace: How will you insure that the 2nd Amendment is protected?

Trump: Doesn't answer, talks about how "extremely upset" Hillary was over Heller decision.

Wallace: Why do you support a National Right to Carry Law?

Trump: New York has tough gun laws and is one of the most violent cities. We are going to appoint justices that feel very strongly about the 2nd Amendment.

Wallace: Abortion ... Mr. Trump, you're pro-life. Do you want the Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Trump: Roe v. Wade will be overturned if I put two or three justices on the Court.

Clinton: I strongly support Roe v. Wade. Many states are putting stringent restrictions on abortion, defunding Planned Parenthood. I support Planned Parenthood. Donald has said that women should be punished for abortions. Roe says there can be restrictions on abortion so long as the life of the mother is protected. You can regulate if you're doing so with the life and health of the mother in mind.

Trump: Late-term abortion, not okay with me.

Clinton: You wouldn't talk like that if you knew some of the women I've known who've faced those decisions.

Immigration ... Mr. Trump, you want to build a wall, and Mrs. Clinton, you've offered no specific plan for immigration.

Trump: She wants amnesty. Open borders. ICE has endorsed me. Heroin is pouring across our borders. [The snot-nose has returned!] I want to build the wall.

Wallace: Why are you right and Mr. Trump wrong?

Clinton: [She personalizes the issue] ... young woman she knows whose parents are not legal. Donald has said that every undocumented person will have to be deported. Rounding up people and putting them on trains, buses, to ship them out of the country -- think about that. We need to get rid of any violent persons, of course. We are both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. I'll introduce legislation first 100 days with a path to citizenship.

Trump: Clinton wanted a wall in 2006, or thereabouts.

Clinton: Bringing immigrants out of the shadows will be good, so that employers can't exploit them.

Trump: Under Obama, millions of people have been deported. Nobody talks about it. [So he admires Obama?] "Bigly" makes an appearance.

Clinton: We will not have open borders. That is a gross mischaracterization of my plan.

Wallace: Quotes from Wikileaks about a dream of open borders.

Clinton: I was talking about energy, an electrical grid that crosses borders. The Russian government has engaged in espionage against American citizens, given stolen emails to Wikileaks to influence our election. Finally, will Donald Trump admit and condemn the Russian government for their espionage?

Trump: That was a great pivot away from open borders! People are going to pour in from Syria. We are going to stop radical Islamic terrorism. I don't know Putin. He says nice things about me. It would be a good thing if we got along well. We're in very serious trouble. Nuclear warheads, and she's playing chicken. Putin has no respect for our government. No respect for her.

Clinton: That's because Putin wants a puppet for president.

Trump: No puppet! No puppet!

Clinton: [Drills in on Russian espionage.]

Trump: She has no idea who's doing that. No idea!

[Wallace losing control]

Wallace: Mr. Trump, America's top security experts say Russia is behind these attacks. Do you condemn Russia for that?

Trump: Of course I condemn Russia! Putin has outsmarted her every step of the way! Nuclear weapons!

Clinton: Ironic he brings up nuclear weapons, since he's been very cavalier about giving bombs to other countries. He's said, "What's the point of having nuclear weapons if we can't use them?"

Trump: All I said was we have to renegotiate nuclear treaties.

Clinton: Donald wants to tear up our treaties.

Economy. You both have different ideas about getting the economy on track. Mrs. Clinton, you see a bigger role for government. Mr. Trump, you want to give big tax breaks to the rich.

Clinton: Alternative energy ... new sources, new jobs. Small businesses. An education system that prepares our kids. College should be debt-free. We're going to have the wealthy pay their fair share, more contribution from wealthy corporations. Donald's whole plan is to cut taxes, adding $20 trillion to our debt. Trickle-down economics on steroids.

Trump: Her plan is going to raise taxes. It's a disaster. [He goes back to Japan, Saudi Arabia, Korea, Germany]: "They've got to pay up!" They've got to help us out. Trade deals will be renegotiated. Jobs have fled. Cut taxes massively.

Clinton: Let me translate that if I can. He advocates for the largest tax cuts we've ever seen. He'll add $20 trillion to the debt. When my husband was president, we went from a huge debt to a huge surplus. One of the ways we go after the debt is to invest in people, skills, infrastructure. Cutting taxes on the wealthy -- we've tried that. It doesn't work.

Wallace: Mrs. Clinton, is your plan even more of the "Obama stimulus"? [Trump smiling very smugly at that question.]

Clinton: We have to stimulate the economy from the bottom up, not the top down.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, even very conservative economists who've looked at your plan say it doesn't add up.

Trump: The last jobs report was dismal -- I should win easily if that's the last jobs report! NAFTA the worst thing that ever happened to our country.

Clinton: Only one person on this stage has shipped jobs to Mexico. In fact, he's shipped jobs to a lot of other countries.

Trump: If you become president, this country is going to be in some mess!

Clinton: [Does a litany of her last 30 years of advocacy, compared to Donald's being sued for racial discrimination, taking $14 million from his daddy, insulting Miss Universe ... she pushed all his buttons. But he manages to hold it in the road.]

Fitness to be President of the United States. Mr. Trump, you denied that you ever did what you bragged about doing to women. Yet many women have come forward since saying that you did exactly that.

Trump: Those stories have been largely debunked. I don't know those women. It was Clinton who brought all this up. She and Obama have paid people at my rallies to cause violence. I didn't know any of those women. Her campaign did it. She got those people to step forward and she paid people at my rallies $1,500 apiece to cause violence.

Clinton: He's said that he could not possibly have sexually harassed those women because they weren't attractive enough.

Trump: I did not say that.

Clinton: He thinks that belittling women makes him a bigger man. We know who Donald is. It's up to all of us to demonstrate who we are and who this country is. America is great because America is good.

Trump: Nobody has more respect for women than I do, nobody. Those stories have been largely debunked. All of this was started by her and her sleazy campaign. What isn't fiction are the 30,000 emails that she destroyed. That's really what you should be talking about.

Clinton: Every time Donald is pushed on something, he immediately goes to denying responsibility. He never apologizes or says he's sorry for anything. [She runs down the list.] It's not one thing: it's a pattern of divisiveness. That is not who America is.

Trump: She caused the violence at my rallies. I'd love to talk about other things [rather than sexual assault].

Wallace: Mrs. Clinton, you promised to avoid even an appearance of a conflict of interest in dealing with the Clinton Foundation. Can you really say you kept your pledge? Why isn't it "pay to play."

Clinton: I'm thrilled to talk about the Clinton Foundation. It made it possible for 11 million people around the world to get AIDS treatment.

Trump: It's a criminal enterprise. Why don't you give back the money you've gotten from countries that have treated people horribly?

Clinton: Clinton Foundation spends 90% of the money that's donated, giving it to people around the world. I'm happy to compare our work to the Trump Foundation. Who spends big money for a six-foot portrait of himself? Who does that?

Trump: 100% of money in Trump Foundation goes to charity.

Wallace: Didn't some of that money go to settle a lawsuit?

Clinton: There's no way to know anything about his charity because he won't release his tax returns. He hasn't paid a penny in income tax. We have undocumented immigrants who pay more in taxes than this billionaire.

Trump: We're entitled to take all the deductions. If you don't like what I did, you should have changed the law [because a single U.S. Senator can single-handedly change laws!].

Wallace: Will you accept the results of this election.

Trump: I'll look at it at the time. Media has poisoned the minds of the voters. If you look at the voter rolls, you'll see millions of people who are registered to vote who shouldn't be registered to vote. [WTF is he talking about?] She should never have been allowed to run for president because of all the things she's done.

Wallace: It's a tradition in this country that the loser concedes to the winner. Are you saying that you're not prepared to do that?

Trump: I'll keep you in suspense. I'll decide at the time.

Clinton: Every time things aren't going his way, he claims things are rigged against him. Trump University gets sued for fraud, and he claims the courts are rigged. He didn't get an Emmy for The Apprentice, and he claims the Emmys are rigged.

Trump: I hould have won it!

Clinton: He's talking down our democracy, he's denigrating the very foundations of our democracy.

Foreign hot-spots. Ah, ISIS! Something Trump has been totally incoherent about.

Clinton: I'm encouraged that there is an effort, led by Iraqi Army and aided by the Kurds, to take back Mosul. I'm not for using American ground troops. I'm hopeful that the hard work that American military advisors have done will pay off. I'll push for a no-fly zone and safe havens in Syria.

Wallace: Mr. Trump, if we're able to push ISIS out of Mosul, would you be for putting ground troops in there?

Trump: Stupidity of our country. No element of surprise. Only reason they're doing it [Mosul?] is because she's running for president. [WTF?] Iran should write us a letter, "Thank you very much." Iran is taking over Iraq. We shouldn't have been in Iraq. But once we were there, we never should have left.

Clinton: I'm amazed that he thinks the Iraqi government and our allies started this military operation to help me run for president.

Wallace: You were asked about Aleppo in the last debate. You said several things that weren't true. You said it's fallen. [Trump snarls: "Have you seen Aleppo?"] Russia has admitted that they have been bombing and shelling Aleppo. You said they weren't.

Trump: [Wanders down several rabbit holes at once. What is he talking about? Apparently, it's Hillary's fault that so many Syrians are migrating.]

Wallace: You're in favor of a no-fly zone, but Obama has refused to impose one. The generals say we'll be drawn into a war.

Clinton: I'm not going to let anyone into this country who is not vetted.

Trump: Our country is so out-played by Assad, Putin, Iran.

National debt. Both of you are ignoring the problem. Why?

Trump: Because I'm going to create so many jobs! A tremendous economic machine.

Clinton: When did Donald think America was great before? He's been running down this country for decades. He took out a full-page ad when Reagan was president and criticized what Reagan was doing in the same terms he uses against Obama and my husband. He's never thought that anyone was as smart as he thinks he is.

Trump: I disagreed with Reagan very strongly on trade.

Wallace: Biggest driver of our debt is entitlements. Neither of you has a serious plan for dealing with that. Would President Trump make a deal to save Social Security and Medicare by raising taxes and cutting benefits?

Trump: Repeal Obamacare!

Clinton: My plan to raise taxes on the wealthy should replenish Social Security. The Affordable Care Act extended the life of the Social Security Trust Fund.

Clinton closing: I'm reaching out to all Americans. We need everyone to make things work for everyone. I've been privileged to see the presidency up close, and I know the awesome responsibility. I will stand up for families against powerful interests, corporations. I will make sure your kids have good educations.

Trump: She's raising the money from the people she wants to control. [Huh?] We're going to make America great again. [Slogan time!] Police are disrespected. You get shot walking to the store in our cities. All she's done is talk. We're going to make America strong again and we're going to make American great again. We can't take another four years of Obama, and that's what you get with her.

Buck Newton v. Josh Stein for NC Attorney General, guest blogging:


Buck Newton (Tea Party/Republican): and Buck Newton NC on Facebook

Newton graduated from Appalachian State University (sorry about that) with a political science degree and went immediately to work for Jesse Helms. Newton got his seat in the NC Senate during the 2010 Tea Party wave and has held onto it until announcing in late 2015 that he'd be leaving to run for Attorney General.

He made headlines in 2016 by loudly proclaiming his support ("keep our state straight!" he shouted to a rally in Raleigh) for HB2, the "bathroom bill" which has so tarnished the state in more ways than one, and for helping get it passed in a special session of the NC General Assembly.

His support for HB2 prompted this post on a Facebook thread:
I knew Buck Newton when he was in college. He was always very opinionated, angry, looked down on others, always saw things in simple terms, always quick to jump to conclusions, always claimed things were "common sense". He was always very judgmental and used bully tactics on others to make his opinion appear correct. He was always full of confidence based on simple, black and white views of the world. Several of us thought he was an idiot because of his lack of ability to see and understand what was beneath the surface of issues. This bill/law [HB2] sounds exactly like something college-kid Buck would do. Apparently, he has not grown much. There are many smart and wise people in North Carolina who see God's creation as it truly is - a very complicated marvel, so it is absolutely shocking that such a person of low understanding could rise to such power based on such a superficial foundation. Shocking. At one point in time, the earth being flat was "common sense", blacks being inferior was "common sense"... And, here we are... again.
Not for nothing did Buck Newton receive his perfect score from the American Conservative Union. He has voted to prohibit wind farms, to repeal the state's recycling program, to increase sales taxes on working families, and he has a 100% rating from the NRA (among many other things).

Josh Stein (Democrat): and Josh Stein for NC Attorney General on Facebook

Following the Tea Party takeover of the NC General Assembly in 2010, I had a hero in the NC Senate, and it was Senator Josh Stein.

Stein graduated from Chapel Hill High School and lives in Raleigh. He earned his undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and went on to Harvard Law School and the Kennedy School of Government. He has worked for the Self-Help Credit Union in Durham and the United States Senate. Prior to serving in the General Assembly, Stein spent eight years as North Carolina's Deputy Attorney General for Consumer Protection.

He was elected to the NC Senate in 2008 and has been reelected three more times. When Roy Cooper, his former boss in the Attorney General's office, announced he would be running for governor in 2016, Stein announced for the Attorney General's job. He's immensely qualified, in both character and training.

Stein became my hero in 2013 when he stood up in the NC Senate and denounced the Republican budget proposal which was robbing from public education to pay tax-cut dividends to the one percent. He's also been a champion of abortion rights, and he argued forcefully against the monster election law rewrite that has now been overturned by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals as unconstitutional.

While the North Carolina General Assembly was descending into Tea Party darkness, Josh Stein's light for justice and fair play shone bright on YouTube and gave many of us out here in the world hope that we could turn it all around eventually. Stein is still very much a part of that hope.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Who's the Coolest, Freedom-of-Speech Dude on the Planet? Not Jerry Falwell Jr.

Jerry Falwell Jr.
So this happened in Lynchburg, Virginia, at Jerry Falwell Jr.'s Liberty University.

Falwell became by last summer one of the holiest of Donald Trump's holy choir of evangelical supporters. He spoke on the Donald's behalf at the Republican National Convention.

Then he leaped to Donald's defense after the "grab her by the pussy" videotape. "We've all sinned, blah blah Praise God blah," Falwell said, which didn't in any way impress the actually strait-laced students at his own university.

The strait-laced students began circulating a letter condemning Falwell as a … well, ginormous hypocrite. So Falwell took the opportunity to get all self-righteously self-congratulatory, saying, "It is a testament to the fact that Liberty University promotes the free expression of ideas unlike many major universities where political correctness prevents conservative students from speaking out.”

Yeah, right. Today, news broke that a sports writer for the Liberty University school newspaper had his column spiked -- it won't see print at Liberty University -- by none other than that self-congratulatory prophet of free expression, one Jerry Falwell Jr., because said column by said sports writer expressed the earned experience that he had never in his several years of hearing sexual braggadocio in lockerrooms heard a fellow athlete brag about sexually assaulting women.

That student's revealing piece of prose may not have made it into the Liberty University newspaper, but The Daily Beast has printed the entire text.

McCrory's Lawyer: Yes, Gov. Squishy Has a Weak Hand

In massive release of email -- only took a lawsuit! -- McCrory's general counsel Bob Stephens is revealed to have agreed with some criticism of HB2 but admitted the truth about his boss: What good would it do to veto the law when the Berger-Moore General Assembly would immediately override the veto?

Translation: My boss is weak and ineffectual, but don't blame him for a terrible loss of business in North Carolina.

Berger v. Stephens Court of Appeals Race, guest blogging:


Phil Berger Jr. (Tea Party/Republican): and Phil 4 NC on Facebook

OMG. This guy again. Better fasten what seat belts you can find, because my appraisal of Mr. Berger is going to be a tad bumpy.

Let's get right to the point.

Phil Junior is Daddy's little boy! Phil Berger Sr. is without any doubt the real Republican power in the state of North Carolina, running the NC Senate with an iron hand and treating Gov. McCrory as a mildly tolerable infant. In that role Phil Senior has done everything in his power to make sure that sonny boy gets a seat on the NC Court of Appeals.

But first, Daddy Dearest tried to get his son a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Phil Junior ran in 2014 for the seat vacated by Congressman Howard Coble, backed by wads of money and the full-bore influence of Daddy Phil. What happened? Phil Junior lost the Republican Primary that year, which shocked everyone, not least of whom was his father.

Following quickly that humiliating defeat, Phil Junior got himself appointed to an administrative law judgeship (with daddy's help, we feel certain), earning a cool $100,000 per annum. That job has obviously proven unsatisfying (from a purely partisan perspective), so Phil Junior now has his sights set on bringing his brand of toxic partisanship to the 2nd highest tribunal in the state.

He's running against a good incumbent judge in Linda Stephens, and he's doing it (IMO) to bring the worst conservative instincts into an arena where he can do the most damage.

The final straw in why I can't stand Phil Berger Jr.? Daddy Phil, at the last minute in the short session of the General Assembly this past summer and as President of the Senate, saw to it that the law got changed as regards random "ballot order," insuring that candidates that belong to the same party as the sitting governor get listed first. So now Phil Berger Jr. is listed above Linda Stephens on this November's ballot.

Why does it matter? Numerous studies have shown that being listed first on a ballot can give that candidate at least a slight advantage, especially on down-ballot races like the Court of Appeals race where candidates aren’t as well-known as presidential or gubernatorial candidates.

So, yes, I have absolutely no earthly use for any of the corrupt, puling, manipulative, self-serving and uber-grasping Berger clan. May they all go down in flames. And stay down.

Linda Stephens (Democrat): and Re-elect Judge Stephens on Facebook

Stephens was first appointed to the Court of Appeals by Gov. Mike Easley in January 2006, but lost her seat in the general election of 2006. Easley then reappointed her to the Court of Appeals in January 2007 to fill the seat vacated by the election of Robin Hudson to the NC Supreme Court. Judge Stephens won a full term in the general election on November 4, 2008.

Stephens is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of South Carolina and received her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She's a progressive and smart judge who has benefited from the endorsements of the NC National Organization for Women, EqualityNC, the Muslim-American PAC, The Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, NC Academy of Trial Lawyers, and NC Association of Women Attorneys.

Her legal career has been a string of firsts: the first female law clerk to Judge Fred Hedrick of the NC Court of Appeals; the first woman associate, and then the first female partner with her law firm; and the first woman to serve as President of the NC Association of Defense Attorneys.

Stephens was named one of the top 50 women lawyers in the state by Super Lawyers Magazine and was listed among the Best Lawyers in America for her last 11 years in private practice. Since joining the bench, she has earned the J. Robert Elster Award for Professional Excellence and Lawyers Weekly’s Women of Justice Award, presented for “leadership, integrity, service, sacrifice and accomplishment in improving the quality of justice and exemplifying the highest ideals of the legal profession.”

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Race for Governor in North Carolina, guest blogging:

Pat McCrory (Republican): and Governor Pat on Facebook

Pat McCrory is the smarmiest car salesman on the lot.

A man who promoted himself in the election of 2012 as a reasonable moderate with a long history of more or less progressive management as mayor of Charlotte, Pat McCrory quickly turned into the weak, feckless doormat for an extremist Republican agenda promoted by more powerful men in the North Carolina General Assembly. Instead of trying to return to the mantle of "moderate Republican" in 2016, McCrory has obviously decided he can only win by grandstanding for the yahoos, aping Donald Trump, defending the indefensible (both HB2 and voter suppression, among other extremist measures), and going full Conservative Prick.

Only problem is he doesn't wear that hard-line mask at all naturally nor comfortably, so he perpetually looks like a man surprised by reality. Plus the real Republican Power in Raleigh -- chiefly Phil Berger, president of the NC Senate -- has consistently treated McCrory like a red-headed step-child, ignoring his meekest requests and full-out running over him when he's in the way. McCrory's vetoes have been overridden by the General Assembly about as often as the Republicans over-rode Democratic Governor Bev Perdue.

In short, McCrory has presided over the worst slide away from forward-thinking progressivism in North Carolina history. We can't retire this colossal failure soon enough.

Roy Cooper (Democrat): and Roy Cooper for NC on Facebook

Remember what I said in Pam's Picks back in 2012 about how important the Governor's race was?:

"Here's the thing: The Party of the Governor controls both the State Board of Elections and each and every North Carolina County Board of Elections. If Democrats do not win the Governorship, and the State House and Senate remain in Republicans hands, get ready for some serious voter suppression in North Carolina. And ASU students can bet their bottom dollar their voting precinct will be removed from the Student Union."

Well, it's certainly been a long three plus years fighting for equal voter protection here in Watauga, hasn't it?

My own greatest hope for the candidacy of Roy Cooper centers on the fact that his election will end organized voter suppression in North Carolina and especially in Watauga County … because his election will end automatically the reign of terror of majority Republicans on county Boards of Election. As we know so well in Watauga, Republicans running election machinery have been far more intent on limiting the vote than in encouraging it.

With Cooper in the governor's mansion, the voter suppression of Stacy C. Eggers IV ("Four") and Bill Aceto, current chair of the Watauga Board of Elections, will be over.

The fact that Cooper is an upstanding and effective Attorney General is just icing on the cake. I have known Roy Cooper since the early 90's, and he is one of the finest people I know. He is strong of character. He has stood up for basic fairness. He has spoken out against the extremist agenda of the General Assembly. He has defended the rights of consumers against predators of various stripes. He warned the Republican Overlords in the General Assembly when they were going too far and then refused to defend their bad laws when the federal courts unanimously ruled them unconstitutional.

This race is really, really important. Remember that on November 8th.

Lon Cecil (Libertarian):

Retired High Point engineer, Lon Cecil is making jobs the focus of his campaign. “We need to bring clean, modern industries to this state that can manufacture goods for energy, transportation and better environmental conditions. It will take more than short-term corporate tax bribes, however.”

Cecil is a newcomer to state-wide electoral politics, so it's unclear whether he might be a spoiler in the hot race for NC governor (though it's generally agreed that he will pull votes from McCrory more than from Cooper). Cecil did put himself into the US House 12th District race in 2010 and considered running again for that House District in 2014 but decided against it. He's a virtual unknown.

Cecil was born in Oklohama and got his degree there in electrical engineering. He's a veteran of the Vietnam War.

An Attack on Democracy Itself

The firebombing of the Orange County GOP office is indeed violence against the very idea of our democracy, and it must be resisted with all of our might. The perpetrators must -- and will -- be caught and punished.

It's salutary that Orange County Democrats immediately raised thousands of dollars to help rebuild that office.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

My Take on This Year's Election -- President, guest blogging:

I come from a long line of inadequately paid, hard-working, conservative folks in southwestern Virgina. Trump Country. And for a while I understood his attraction for them. He promised to get rid of the trade deals that many (including me) believe make for slave labor and slave wages. He promised not to mess with Social Security and Medicare. He supported Planned Parenthood (he's since "un-evolved" on that), and he wanted to run some bankers out of town. He promised to shake up the system.

I am a Bernie Democrat. Hillary Clinton is in my opinion far afield of anything close to a perfect candidate. For one thing, poetry's just not her thing and that sucks and it hurts her on the campaign trail too. The email server decision was dumb as hell, at best. She is prone to secrecy. She supported the war in Iraq and is hawkish, believing, it seems, that America needs to police the world. She supports fracking, for Pete's sake. And she's not a revolutionary (sigh). Clinton triangulates and compromises too much for me. I don't like her ties to Wall Street and corporate CEOs, and I don't trust her on trade or financial regulation.

But I do trust her on overturning Citizens United, pushing through debt-free college; a path to citizenship for immigrants; paid family leave; big investment in jobs; very progressive appointments to the Supreme Court; inclusion of more women and minorities in her administration; championing the rights of women and children; fighting for civil rights; addressing climate change; criminal-justice reform; LGBTQ rights; the expansion of Social Security, a public option for Obamacare (the single best way to force down insurance costs for everyone), and a hike in the minimum wage.

Besides, folks, the real Donald J. Trump is for the same things I fault Clinton for and is a certifiable nutjob with (or maybe without, who knows?) money to boot.

Trump is an authoritarian and a con man. He makes up things (sometimes just for the hell of it), and he encourages violence and fear. He is completely unqualified for public office. He is opposed to basic justice for anyone but himself, and he is selfish and a sleaze. He is incoherent on important issues like defense and trade. He is a misogynist, a xenophobe, a racist, and a sexual predator. He's a hypocrite.

I am still very concerned about Clinton, but, let's face it, she's not running against Bernie anymore. And, while I provide profiles below of both Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, I'm voting for Clinton because, bottom line, either she or Trump is going to end up in the White House, and I'm gonna make the most of the field I'm forced to play on.

Besides, I'm getting a little long in the tooth.

I don't want to spend the next four years trying to keep bad crap from happening. I want to spend the next four years trying to make progress. I don't want to spend my time trying to keep Trump from dumping millions of newly insured people off Obamacare. I don't want to spend my time trying to keep Trump from deporting five million immigrants (at least!) or forcing them to inform on their neighbors.

I don't want to spend the next four years having to fight a national stop and frisk program. I'd rather spend my time considering legit proposals that will stop the violence between minorities and community police. I don't want to spend my time fighting against yet another huge corporate tax cut. I want to spend the next four years pushing for a minimum wage and for making the very rich, like Trump, pay their fair share for building roads, and bridges, and schools, and community care clinics (and pay their taxes too).

I don't want to spend the next four years having to fight back against violations of basic human rights and decency, and respect: voter rights, abortion rights, equal pay for equal work, gay rights, and dealing with the neanderthals who insist climate change isn't real. I don't want to spend my next four years having to fight against hate and greed.

I don't want to spend the next four years freaking out about WTF/OMG does this mean: Trump has said, “We’re going to have to do things that are unthinkable."

Besides, I'm sure I'm not the only woman sick to death of men who say they "cherish women" and then go about the business of groping and assaulting us on airplanes and then bragging about it to their buddies -- in the locker room or anywhere else for that matter.

And most of all, I don't want to spend the rest of my life having to live with the inevitable devastating decisions of a right-wing Supreme Court. As noted over at FiveThirtyEight by Oliver Roeder, who simulated 10,000 hypothetical future courts under a President Trump and a President Clinton:

“If Donald Trump is elected president, the Supreme Court may, seat by vacated seat, will move rightward toward its most conservative position in recent memory. If Hillary Clinton is elected, the court may quickly become the most liberal it’s been in at least 80 years.”

Now of course it's up to us to force her to put what is the most progressive platform in the modern history of the Democratic Party into action. As Sanders put it recently: “I’m not going to sit here and say to you that Hillary Clinton is going to be great on all these issues with absolute confidence…. I’m saying that on many, many issues, her views are progressive. In many areas, they are awesome. Where they’re not progressive, we’ve got to push her."

So, it's a fact. Clinton's not progressive enough for me and many other Bernie Sanders' supporters. But I'm old enough to remind my fellow progressive activists to consider the fact that we don't think she's progressive enough has as much to do with how we have managed to push our politics leftward as it does with a rightward drift by her. And that's a good thing. And that's what I'm willing to work with because that's where we are.

Gary Johnson (Libertarian): and Gary Johnson President 2016 on Facebook

Johnson is the former Republican governor of New Mexico. I have to confess that I have a soft spot for Gary Johnson (just like my other favorite Libertarian, Sean Haugh, running for US Senate). I find myself agreeing with some of his policy positions (civil liberties and Internet freedom, for example), and I also like his demeanor (in a presidential year when candidate demeanor went completely rogue!)

Johnson supports abortion rights, gay marriage, and supports the legalization of marijuana, and he believes that the federal government should keep its nose out of these issues, but when it comes to state and local governments, Johnson believes their ability to restrict all of these rights is fair game. Johnson has some other policy positions that negate my support for him: wants to cut Medicare and Medicaid, wants to eliminate taxes for corporations, favors Charter schools over public schools, opposes any laws regulating gun ownership, and supports "Citizens United and no limits on corporacandidates." Johnson opposes government protections of civil rights, government regulations of financial institutions, and government policies to preserve the environment.

Jill Stein (Green--Write In): and Dr Jill Stein on Facebook

If you write in Jill Stein's name on your ballot under the Presidential race, your vote will be counted.

Stein has a medical degree from Harvard but has only been elected to one position: representative to the town meeting of Lexington, Massachusetts. Wanting to vote for a candidate rather than merely against one is obviously where we all want to be. Me included. I agree with Stein's opposition to fracking, her assertion that Obamacare isn't good enough, and her support for a single payer system, among other things.

Some of my progressive friends argue I should write her name in for this election because "she's not Hillary Clinton." But I prefer building authentic grassroots alternatives, instead of the Green Party's top-down vehicle for protest.

Besides, rather than articulating a compelling progressive vision for America, Stein is all about conspiracy theories. She seems to me at times to traffic in fear and paranoia, like her opposition to vaccines and her belief that WiFi is potentially dangerous. Stein believes that Trump and Clinton are equally bad. It may disappoint some of my more progressive readers, but I do not. Clinton doesn't get it for me on issues like fracking, trade and war, but Trump is a misogynist, racist, xenophobic billionaire with poor impulse control.

I agree with Noam Chomsky, a Stein supporter:

"In a swing state – a state where it's going to matter which way you vote – I would vote against Trump, and by elementary arithmetic, that means you hold your nose and you vote Democrat," he said. "I don't think there's any other rational choice. Abstaining from voting or, say, voting for ... a candidate you prefer, a minority candidate, just amounts to a vote for Donald Trump, which I think is a devastating prospect."

The bottom line is that the Green party is only on the ballot in 39 states and the District of Columbia. In North Carolina Stein is a write-in candidate, and North Carolina is in a position to make or break Trump's march to the White House this year. We don't cast our ballots in a vacuum, simply accepting or rejecting a single candidate. We have choices and the ones we make have consequences.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Will the United States of America Survive This Election?

Donald J. Trump went full demagogue in his speech yesterday in West Palm Beach. If I don't win, he told the alternately booing and cheering crowd, it's because of a giant conspiracy "against YOU." I've heard Trump supporters on camera say they're going for their guns if Trump doesn't win. Trump has laid the groundwork for that kind of violence.

So has Franklin Graham. At a "Carolina Values Summit" and rally in Raleigh yesterday, the reporter there from The Independent experienced this: old man wearing a cowboy hat lets me know who’s in charge.
He calls me a “fucking sodomite” and tells me he hopes I “burn in the fires of hell.”
But wait. I’m married, I tell him. To a woman. I have kids.
“Well, then, you’re a sodomite lover,” he snarls....
Fast-forward a few minutes. It gets personal.
I’m talking to a sweet-looking little old lady who is attending the rally with her forty-six-year-old son. When he heard my line of questioning, he grabbed his mother by the arm.
“Look at his nose,” he says. “He’s a fucking Jew-boy. Don’t waste your time with him.” (Technically, my dad is Jewish, but my mom isn’t, so, according to Jewish law, I’m not actually a Jew.)
I believe this is what the Trump fans mean when they scream their disdain for "political correctness." Yeah, we fully understand the pinch on your "freedom" to express your hatred for fellow Americans who don't attend your church.

Trump told them yesterday that if he doesn't win the election, then his politically incorrect followers have lost America forever. The whole shooting match will be over. Except for the shooting, of course.

When you've set the table for famine, what's left but cannibalism?

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hundreds of Students at Liberty University Break with Jerry Falwell Jr. Over Trump

"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."
--Isaiah 11:6 
A statement written in opposition to the presidential ambitions of Donald J. Trump and critical of Liberty University's president, Jerry Falwell Jr., for endorsing Trump has quickly gained the support of many students at the Lynchburg, Va., college.
In the months since Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed him, Donald Trump has been inexorably associated with Liberty University. We are Liberty students who are disappointed with President Falwell’s endorsement and are tired of being associated with one of the worst presidential candidates in American history. Donald Trump does not represent our values and we want nothing to do with him....
Read the entire statement and Falwell's response to it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

If You See Caitlyn Jenner in the Men's Room... should call Governor McCrory and congratulate him for being actually dumber than a two-dollar dog.

What he said last night in the debate with Roy Cooper. Pay attention! Your governor is an idiot.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Liveblogging the McCrory-Cooper Debate

My own drinking game this evening: every time Pat McCrory claims he's stepped on toes on both the right and the left, take a snort.

Star power (and an index to how important the national media considers this race) ... Church Todd in the moderator's seat.

Here we go!

1-minute opening statements. McCrory, without his glasses, goes immediately to his crisis management skills with the floods down east. "Not my first crisis." Problem-solver.

Cooper opening: Thoughts and prayers for flood victims. McCrory has taken our state backward, and he's not being honest about his record. Whoa. Cooper on the attack right out of the gate. Heavy emphasis on school funding. HB2!

1st question: Chuck Todd goes right to economic impact of HB2. How do you fix the state's reputation?

McCrory, immediately whining about the extremely liberal mayor of Charlotte, with help from the Attorney General (Roy Cooper, he's referring to you!) ... it's all their fault.

Cooper: House Bill 2 has to be repealed. We've lost jobs. McCrory continues to claim this isn't hurting our economy. Governor, what planet are you on? You've got to quit blaming it on other people.

McCrory: The Attorney General doesn't deny that he and the Mayor of Charlotte started this mess. (Did he say "this mess"?)

Cooper: Glad he's admitting it's a mess and an embarrassment to the state.

Question to Cooper: You declined to defend HB2. How can you pick and choose which laws you defend.

Cooper: I told the governor not to sign it because it writes discrimination into law. It has to stop.

McCrory: He's running a commercial against me! We've created 300,000 new jobs. His commercial is a lie. Let's get off the social issues. Let's get out of the bathroom.

Question to McCrory: Why was it okay for Raleigh to get involved in Charlotte politics?

McCrory: We had to stop government overreach. (Now, that's just too funny, considering the overreach in HB2!)

Cooper: McCrory is the one who's been all over national TV, talking about HB2.

Question: What bathroom can Kaitlin Jenner use in North Carolina? (zing!)

Cooper not answering that question.

McCrory: She can go anywhere she wants to in a private facility. If she goes to a public facility, she has to go to the men's shower. (Are you freaking kidding me?)

Cooper: Drilling in on HB2.

McCrory: Desperate to change the topic. Wants to claim that if Cooper were governor, we'd be deeper in debt.

Cooper: He promised a tax cut. He came through for the rich and for corporations. But he's raised taxes on middle-income citizens. If you go to a movie, you pay a tax, thanks to him.

McCrory: Returns to the "Carolina Comeback" as a trope. Yes or no, Mr. Cooper, are you going to raise taxes?

Cooper: We do not have to raise taxes to fix our economy.

Teacher pay. According to statistics, a teacher cannot get to $50,000 per year salary until 25th year in the profession, yet you, Goverrnor,  have bragged that the average salary is $50,000.

McCrory: We've given teachers $5,000 more. That's progress.

Cooper: My mom was a public school teacher. The governor is not being honest about these figures. We're 44th in teacher pay. Try to find a teacher who's making $50,000 a year. You need to be straight with the people.

McCrory: You're about as straight as another NC politician, John Edwards. (He's now channeling Trump! Pure trash-talk!)

Cooper: When I was in the General Assembly, we moved teacher pay from 40-something in the nation to 20-something.

Question to McCrory: You say teacher pay is not enough. Why not do something about it now?

McCrory: Whining about the terrible, horrible economic situation he had to deal with coming into office.

Question to Cooper: Where do you get the money for more teacher pay?

Cooper: Brings up the fact that McCrory moved disaster relief money to defend HB2.

McCrory: Calls Cooper a liar. (Cue the fact-checkers!)

Cooper: I helped pass through the disaster relief funds for Hurricane Floyd. We shouldn't be taking money out of that fund.

7:26: Question to McCrory about breaking his promise not to sign any more restrictions on abortions.

McCrory: Claims the laws he's signed didn't do a thing to restrict abortions. I was just protecting women's health. No challenges to our abortion laws. (Huh? Is he serious?)

Cooper: Distortion, misrepresentation of your record! He signed a law that put state government into the exam room with the woman and her doctor. He promised he wouldn't put more restrictions in place. He did. Now he's saying it wasn't a restriction.

McCrory: Why didn't you go scrub the floors in abortion clinics that were dirty?

Cooper: Another example of McCrory putting social issues ahead of the well being of all our citizens. He's putting right-wing ideological issues ahead of the good of the state.

BREAK. Lord, have mercy! This is the best debate of the season! Fast-moving and sharp.

7:31: Question to Cooper: State crime lab ... excellent service?

Cooper: This is an issue about leadership ... identifying a problem and working to fix the problem. When I took office, we had a terrible backlog in rape kits. Turns to McCrory's poor administration of Charlotte's crime lab. I'm sure we'll hear him blame it on somebody else.

McCrory: The reason Charlotte had its own crime lab was because Cooper wasn't doing his job. (Cooper set him up for that one!)

Cooper: Another distortion. The Charlotte crime lab was started in 1969. (Oh, good come-back!)

McCrory: I've asked for more money for the crime lab. I've gotten not one email from Cooper to ask for more money.

Cooper: We met with McCrory's budget director every time before a legislative session to make our requests. The governor has not been doing his job getting resources.

McCrory: Cooper's head of SBI was a political hack.

To McCrory: You signed a law keeping police body cams secret. Don't we need more openness?

McCrory: We're protecting the rights of criminals (yeah, right!). Politicians shouldn't be making the decision to release footage. It needs to be a judge. It's a perfect law.

Cooper: I'm mindful that there are communities out there that feel targeted. They want respect. Part of mutual respect is transparency.

McCrory: Typical Roy Cooper. After the law is passed, he finds fault with it.

Cooper: I have strong support from law enforcement across North Carolina. Law enforcement needs respect, needs support, but the community needs respect too.

Question to Cooper: Hillary Clinton said implicit bias is sometimes a problem with police. Do you agree with that?

Cooper: We need to emphasize community policing.

McCrory: I think there's bias in all of us. I agree with Cooper: we need more police training. But to attack police officers, as Hillary has done, is bad.

Question to Cooper: What does Black Lives Matter mean to you?

Cooper: It's true. They do matter. And they often feel targeted. What they want is to be heard and to be respected.

McCrory: I was an admirer of Martin Luther King. All lives matter.

National politics are impacting the state. To McCrory, why didn't you retract your support for Trump over the Access Hollywood tape?

McCrory: Trump needs to have his mouth washed out with soap. But so does Hillary Clinton. I'm voting for the candidate that best represents my viewpoint.

Cooper: It's hard to believe that he continues to support a candidate who has admitted to sexual assault. Governor, you've gone to Trump rallies and made jokes about HB2 on stage. McCrory and Trump are a lot alike.

McCrory:You had to make a choice to vote for Bill Clinton, didn't you?

Cooper: Trump is bad for this country.

Question to Cooper: Do you think Hillary is honest and trustworthy?

Cooper: More than Trump. She's not going to be a dangerous president, like Trump.

Question to McCrory: Is Trump a role-model for kids?

McCrory: Changes the subject to Syrian refugees. (You can run, Governor, but you cannot hide.)

Question on Obamacare. There's only one major insurer in North Carolina offering Obamacare.

Cooper: The reason for that is Governor Cooper and his pals in the General Assembly, who have fought all vestiges of Obamacare. Brings up the failure to expand Medicaid. McCrory is putting the social issues ahead of the best policies for our state, once again.

McCrory: It's a first: I'm being blamed for Obamacare. I tried to get you to fight Obamacare with other states, but you wouldn't. If you feel so good about Obamacare, get on it and give up your state insurance.

Cooper: The governor will not accept the billions in federal money that we've already paid in and get it back for Medicaid.

McCrory: Admit Obamacare is a failure. Just admit it. It's okay to admit it.

Cooper: We can make a North Carolina plan and expand Medicaid in a North Carolina way. But the governor continues to say no because of ideology.

Question to McCrory: Why won't you expand Medicaid.

McCrory: Because we don't know the costs. Whines about the Perdue administration's spending on Medicaid.

Voter ID law was ruled unconstitutional. Do you regret signing the bill?

McCrory: Absolutely not. If an ID is good enough to buy Sudafed, it's good enough to vote.

Cooper: The legislation was much broader than mere voter ID. It had to do with early voting and much more. It targeted black people and young people.

Not one question on coal ash. Thank you so much, Chuck Todd!

Closing statements, but my ears have quit listening.