Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gov. McCrory: "I Was Told To Stand Here"

You can't fix the "dumb" that Pat McCrory suffers from.

He waits until all the polls say that Thom Tillis has the Republican senatorial nomination locked up, and then he wades into that spitting match and endorses Thom Tillis.

Is anyone advising Pat McCrory about politics? Why would anyone tell him it's a really good idea to impose himself into an inter-party pissing match? The 15% of the Republican base voting for Doc Brannon are going to hate him for it, and they're the types never to forget nor to forgive.

McCrory has been doing what Tillis and Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger have been telling him to do all along. It's to Tillis and Berger's benefit, not to McCrory's. Does he look small in that photograph above, or what?

This Man Is a "Bought" Judge

Mecklenberg Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson is running for a seat on the NC Supreme Court, and he's being backed by Koch brothers money, among other big corporations.

Not that those "dark money" sources are promoting Levinson. No, they're tearing down the sitting incumbent Robin Hudson, who's running for reelection and who's being smeared every 15 minutes on TV as "soft on child molesters."

Scott Moneyham got to the truth of the matter yesterday. The damage that Koch money is doing to Robin Hudson is nothing compared to the damage they're doing to the entire judicial system in our state: "By bringing highly-charged partisan politics into these races, the real losers are the people of North Carolina. These ads encourage judges to decide cases based on partisan political considerations, and not fair interpretations of the law and constitution."

If Judge Levinson were interested in justice and not in personal advantage, he'd already have denounced the attacks on Hudson. If he makes it to the high court, he can sit with that other judicial "merchandise," Judge Paul Newby, who got his seat similarly bought for him in 2012.

Those guys are not put on the bench to render justice. They are there to render unto Caesar.

Wisconsin Voter ID Law Struck Down

Yesterday. By a Federal judge. Thus increasing the legal precedents against North Carolina's law, which doesn't go into full effect until 2016.

In the meantime, the targets for court action need to be the squeezing down of Early Voting, the deliberate fencing out of young voters, the elimination of straight-ticket voting, the barring of out-of-precinct voting ... and the list goes on.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

At the Republican District Attorney Forum Last Night

Both Nathan Miller of Watauga County and Seth Banks of Burnsville treated Watauga Countian Britt Springer like the incumbent in the candidate forum last night hosted by the local bar association. They treated Springer like the incumbent because she's been a prosecutor in the DA's office for more than a decade and has vastly more experience with trial work than either Miller or Banks.

Springer is a very tall person. The two men in comparison seemed like small-breed dogs trying to bring down an elephant. They didn't make much headway.

The fiercest feist dog was Nathan Miller. He listed as his "seminal experience" in preparing for this race his last four years on the Watauga County Commission. During the last two years, he's been chair of the County Commission. He said he was distinguished in that role by making so many people mad at him, proving in his own mind that he's some kind of paragon of fixed values. Others might suggest that he's been a paragon of vindictiveness, prepared to take revenge, belittle people he considers beneath himself, mean to a fault, and assertive of a rank partisanship not prone to take prisoners.

A question, "Do you believe in capital punishment?" brought from Miller a "yes! but it's not carried out swiftly enough." Then he quickly added that he wasn't talking about hauling a prisoner from the courtroom outside and stringing him up, which made me think that was precisely what he was talking about. It fits his profile.

Miller also said he wasn't going to leave his conservative Christian beliefs outside the courtroom if he becomes District Attorney. He said that in response to a question, "What place does religion have in the courtroom?" What exactly Miller meant to imply by that was very unclear ... that a member of the Muslim religion better watch out?

Near the end of the forum the candidates were allowed to ask each other a question. Both Banks and Miller went after Springer with aggressive questions about her record as an assistant district attorney, questions which Springer struggled with a little in Banks's case and easily batted down in Miller's. When it came her turn to ask a question, Springer declined to do so, saying the exercise seemed to breed mainly hostility. Then she delivered the Line of the Evening: "I would just like to thank Seth Banks for running a clean campaign."


What that comment implied about Miller was left hanging, unaddressed. Perhaps others in that courtroom knew what was being referred to. Perhaps others were as much in the dark as I was. But I suspect Nathan Miller knew what she was referencing.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Relax: The Tea Party Can Do a Fine Job of Educating Your Children

It's obvious that the Republican Clown College in Raleigh is poised to put the educational standards in our public schools into the hands of "political appointees."

Oh great.

A new Academic Standards Review Commission, "made up of political appointees," will now likely have a big thumb on the scales of academic standards in reading and math.

Who will appoint the political appointees? Mainly politicians who are terrified of riling up the Flat Earth Society Tea Party, the Know-Nothings of the 21st Century.

The same polecats who have made our public teachers just about the lowest paid in the whole country, the same poltroons who deny science, the birdbrains who decreed that sea-level rise will not come to the coast of North Carolina, the hammerheads who want to gamble with our well water via fracking, the same pinheads who think that ballot-access ought to be as hard as getting a mortgage ... yup, this fine collection of disbelievers in democracy and the liberation of a good education should do a fine job setting standards in our schools.

Read more here:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Andrew Cox, in The Appalachian, 24 April 2014.

Sign of the Times

These signs appeared suddenly in time for the start of Early Voting in Watauga County.

The only not-so-minor problem: There's no "Paid for by..." on them, which means they violate North Carolina elections law.

Hmmm. Who did pay for them? What Republican/Tea Party entity/individual decided to throw Ron Henries under the bus?

The sub-text seems pretty clear: Vote for the Book-Banners!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Shots Fired at Thom Tillis Now Coming From Inside the Republican House Caucus

Rep. Robert Brawley from Iredell County trots out a laundry list of problems he has with Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis, problems that will evidently cause Mr. Brawley to vote for a different candidate in the upcoming Republican Senate primary.

The gist:

1. Tillis likes money more than he likes principle.

2. Tillis will railroad his colleagues in order to get his "friends" appointed to significant posts, because those friends gave Mr. Tillis money.

3. Tillis says stuff that isn't true and stuff that even he doesn't believe.

4. Tillis fired Brawley from his Finance Committee post. Brawley says it was because he stood up to the Speaker. Tillis apparently suggested it was because Brawley is mentally unstable. Does Brawley's writing and publishing his complaints against Tillis prove it?

(Mr. Brawley's previous appearance in political news.)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Well Bless His Heart

Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis, who had earlier declined to participate in the Republican Senate debate on WRAL, has suddenly "cleared his calendar" of those pesky conflicts. He will participate, after all, in next Wednesday's televised debate.

Could the clearing of his calendar have anything at all to do with the fact that he's struggling mightily to gain even an inch on clinching the nomination? Might it have anything to do with Carter Wrenn's blog post today?

Naw, we didn't think so either.

Shhh! Not a Word of This to Miller, Blust, and Yates!

Boone and Blowing Rock named among Top 17 small cities in NC

Two Ways NC Republicans Are Hurting Our Citizens

1. Failure to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which would have cost the state nothing for the first two years and only 10% after that.

Next door in Wilkes County, 512 citizens could not get health insurance coverage because they make less than $11,490 a year ($23,550, for a family of four). They could be covered by Medicaid, but Governor McCrory and the Clown College cut off that option in their spite against President Obama.

2. Yesterday in Wake County, we found out that over 600 public school teachers have resigned since last July, many of them in frustration and in mid-stream, because of the way the Governor and the General Assembly have exhibited their spite toward public education.

Probably many of you reading this personally know a school teacher who has quit in the last nine months and moved on. I do. She's now working in Tennessee for substantially more money.

The Wake County resignations are 41% higher than last school year, an "alarming" statistic that has school administrators across the state concerned about the "brain drain" and a resulting teacher shortage.

Congratulations, NC Republicans! Your rancid and reckless ideology is driving North Carolina into a hole that will take decades to get out of.

Dan Soucek and Jonathan Jordan: You have direct responsibility for this pain, all of it!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Once a Swindler, Always a Swindler?

Now appears that Tea Party Senate candidate Greg Brannon is a serial plagiarizer. He copies other people's work.

Not the first time, either.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hey Rub-a-Dub-Dub...

...three men in a tub, and they all sailed out to sea.

The three-man Republican majority on the Watauga County Commission formed a belt line last night and whipped the dickens out of Boone Mayor Andy Ball for having the gall to ask that sales tax distribution to the four towns in the county be returned to a more equitable per capita (population) basis rather than the current ad valorem (property value) basis.

Commissioners Nathan Miller, David Blust, and Perry Yates trotted out their lists of past beefs with Boone, their grievances, their grudges going back decades in some cases, but they readily admitted that their self-righteous spite sprang mainly from the on-going feud Mr. Yates's daddy-in-law Phil Templeton has with anybody and everybody who won't let him do precisely as he wishes as a millionaire land developer.

How dare the Town of Boone let its concern for maintaining development standards get in the way of Mr. Templeton's offer to buy the old high school property for $19 million! Well, Boone dared, and the three men in Nathan Miller's tub exacted their punishment: the redistribution of sales tax revenues so that Boone is hurt to the tune of almost $2 million, while the other three towns get a windfall.

Make that "a windfall" with a kick-back provision for the county: the three other towns get to keep 40% of their new sales tax allocation while kicking back to the county a whopping 60%. A gentlemen's agreement, so to speak (and begging the pardon of actual gentlemen everywhere). Everybody is making out like bandits, except Boone.

What's not to like about that? Government by revenge. The "social contract" as vendetta.

No one disputes the fact that Boone raises over 60% of all the sales taxes collected in Watauga. After Miller/Blust/Yates meted out their punishment last year, Boone now receives back some 12% of that revenue to support its budget. Before, when the distribution was based on population, Boone received between 24% and 25%. With four towns in the county, the largest and most productive, as far as sales tax revenue goes, was receiving one-fourth of those revenues, while raising most of it. Seems fairly equitable that one-fourth of the towns would get one-fourth of the revenue.

Last night, Mayor Ball asked Commission Chair Nathan Miller if he thought it was fair that Boone raise 60% of the revenue and get 12% of it in return. You could see the ire rise in Miller. It's plenty fair, he replied with noticeable venom.

(It's still remarkable to me that a man of this temperament, with this understanding of balance in the world of justice, is now seeking to become the District Attorney for the 24th Prosecutorial District. A prosecutor ready to ride a grudge into the ground.)

Last night, and with something of a rhetorical flourish, Commissioner David Blust asked Mayor Ball if ASU students wouldn't be included in any per capita calculation, as if to suggest... what? Mr. Blust never finished that thought. We assume he was implying something nefarious -- he has a history of malice-afore-thought toward ASU students. Perhaps he was suggesting that college students in the town of Boone aren't actual, "legitimate" residents, even while they drive our streets, walk our sidewalks, drink our water, and put great strain on our infrastructure, and even while they add tremendously to the grand total of sales tax revenue that Mr. Blust willfully denies the Town of Boone.

Anne Marie Yates, Commissioner Yates's wife and Daddy Templeton's daughter and incidentally the chairwoman of the Watauga County Republican Party, was doing a victory lap out in the lobby with leaders of the other towns. Ms. Yates was unable to get her slate of family and friends elected to the Boone Town Council last fall, but obviously the next best thing is to enjoy the suffering of the powerless.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thom Tillis Ducks Out of WRAL Senate Debate

Why would the supposed front-runner in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, a supposed front-runner who is stuck at 20% in most polling, decide to forego a major televised debate with his chief rivals? (Reference: "Thom Tillis To Skip Major GOP Primary Debate")

a. He's afraid of a high-profile misstep (the WRAL interrogators ain't patsies!).

b. He's so got this race in the bag that he can afford to exhibit his native hauteur.

c. He doesn't want to dignify the clown show running against him by being photographed with them.

d. He really does have a "scheduling conflict" that he simply can not get out of (those expensive haircuts take advance planning, bitches!).

Garbage In, Garbage Out

A General Assembly task force on public teacher compensation issued its Republican-written report yesterday and recommended ... another study.

It is being roundly booed this morning. Rep. Tricia Cotham of Mecklenberg County called it "fluff."

Teachers were using stronger language, and the teachers who were actually on the panel are saying they were subjected to four meetings over two months and were spoon-fed Republican propaganda. They certainly weren't listened to.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Poor Man Is Running for Senate

Will Stewart is running against Kay Hagan in the Democratic primary. He hasn't got a chance, naturally, but I like him. He reminds me of what Democrats are supposed to stand for.

Kay Hagan often doesn't. She reminds me most strongly of ... bankers, money-changers, skin-flints. She has voted in ways in the Senate that have made me howl at the wall. While she takes many positions that I find fault with, I cannot find fault with Will Stewart.

I have been on his website. He's been a carpenter. He's lived on the streets, and he still lives below the poverty line. He came up poor, but he's scrambled and survived. He speaks directly and plainly. He says that Hagan serves corporate interests, and he got that right.

“I’d bring a witness to the reality of living as a poor person in America,” Stewart told a reporter from the Raleigh N&O. He said he’d also be “a witness of the effects of Capitol Hill’s decisions. I’ve watched friends and neighbors get foreclosed while Wall Street gets a walking pass.”

I'm sorry he doesn't have a shot. Instead, we'll either get Corporate Tool # 1 or Corporate Tool # 2, and that doesn't strike me as healthy.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Preacher with a Switchblade

Rob Christensen profiles the Rev. Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist in Charlotte and also a candidate in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Harris is planning on a "strong turnout effort" on May 6, "rooted in the churches."

Rev. Harris has hired Tom Perdue as his chief political guru, of whom Christensen says, cryptically,  "he owns one of the biggest switchblades in the South."

Which sent us to The Google. Tom Perdue is a "take-no-prisoners political operative" who is "brilliant and ruthless" and known for sliming Republican candidates he's hired by other Republican candidates to slime.

Read more here:
Read more here:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Are You Ready for Greg Brannon's Wave, North Carolina?

Republican/Tea Party Senate candidate Greg Brannon, the wild-eyed Cary groinycologist, is predicting that he will win his primary with Thom Tillis "outright."

“We are going to win this without a runoff. There’s no doubt in my mind. The wave is coming,” Brannon told Glenn Beck.

Hmmm. Maybe it's one of those political tsunamis that is imperceptible in the deep waters of mid-April, but will grow into a skyscraper as it reaches the shallows of May 1st.

Or maybe it's the rhetoric of a delusional fanatic who breathed in too much of that Glenn Beck incense.

We're pulling for ya, Dr. Brannon, but so far we haven't spotted "the wave." We've got our personal coast guard on 24/7 alert to spot any white water coming our way. All we've seen so far are some ripples from someone peeing in the pool.

Read more here:

More Evidence That "Voter Fraud" Claims Are Total Horses**t

The Institute of Southern Studies has this mounting evidence that Monsieurs Tillis and Berger were blowing smoke -- or bad intestinal gas -- when they jumped on the bandwagon earlier this week, trumpeting "massive" voter fraud in North Carolina based on unverified computer programming.

Gosh, after all the heavy-breathing, you'd think they'd come up with even one measly documented case.

Otherwise, when might we expect an apology for trying to incite a stampede?

Republicans, Come to Las Vegas for Its ... Rock-Climbing?

The Christian right is becoming alarmed that the Republican National Committee might actually pick Las Vegas for its next national convention. The Rev. Fred Dobson, arbiter of all that's holy Republican, says that delegates to a convention there might not be able to stand up to the temptations.

"Even though Vegas has tried to shore itself up and call itself family-friendly, it’s still a metaphor for decadence," Dobson said. "There’s still 64 pages of escort services in the yellow pages."

Nevertheless, Las Vegas is considered the front-runner for the next convention. Maybe it has something to do with Republican gambling kingpin Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire who launched Newt Gingrich on us in 2012 and who now has his Hoveround pointed squarely at Chris Christie.

The best part is how Las Vegas is trying to rebrand itself for the Republican decision-makers: "The city's promotional video for the convention does not feature any gambling. Instead, it emphasizes Las Vegas' hotels, sunshine, rock climbing, proximity to the Hoover Dam, NASCAR, places of worship, and the 'growing Asian population. The video pans to Disney's logo."

Oh, we get it! "Rock climbing" is code for "getting your rocks off."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Human Wreckage Caused by Amendment One

Soon after Amendment One banning gay marriage went into effect in North Carolina, it was challenged on constitutional grounds in federal court, but that case has stagnated in the Middle District (Greensboro) because Judge William Osteen appears to be waiting for the Fourth Circuit to make a decision about the Virginia ban on gay marriage, which was struck down by another federal judge in February. A Fourth Circuit ruling on Virginia could well also render unconstitutional North Carolina's hateful law.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed yesterday in North Carolina for an expedited decision, asking the judge to order North Carolina to recognize marriages performed in other states and to throw out its law that allows only one partner of unmarried couples to adopt.

Because ... of this, situations like that of Esmeralda Mejia and Christina Ginter-Mejia, a Hickory couple who were married in Maryland and who have a seven-year-old son. Here are the facts that prompted the ACLU to seek expedited legal relief for this and other North Carolina couples.

Because of North Carolina's inhumane and unconstitutional Amendment One, the couple's marriage is not recognized, nor are they both legally recognized as parents of the seven-year-old. Only Christina is recognized by NC law as a parent, while Esmeralda is "a legal stranger in her son's life," according to the ACLU.

Esmeralda is "a retired Army major and decorated Desert Storm veteran and has fought cancer for more than 20 years. The disease took part of a lung and three ribs. It also brought on a 2008 liver transplant and forces her to take a heavy battery of drugs." Neither the seven-year-old son nor Christina can receive any of Esmeralda's veteran’s or Social Security benefits as long as North Carolina doesn’t recognize the marriage.

Is there anything "Christian" about that?

Esmeralda fears that her next visit to the emergency room may be her last, and of course she worries about the future of her family.

While Judge Osteen waits for the Fourth Circuit to act, and we all hold our breath for what that court might decide, real North Carolina lives are hanging in the balance. The ACLU is saying, "These people can't afford to wait."

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

You Don't Say!

 — Tax cuts that state lawmakers passed last year have trimmed the amount of revenue North Carolina is collecting to the point where promised raises for teachers are at risk. (WRAL)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Dan Soucek's Ineffectiveness in the NC Senate

The North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research has published its "effectiveness" rankings for all members of the General Assembly. Senator Dan Soucek ranks in the bottom half of all senators.

Jonathan Jordan fares much better in the House, ranking 33rd out of 120 members.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Where There's Smoke, There May Only Be Someone Farting into the Wind

More excellent evidence that the sudden eruption of "voter fraud voter fraud" in North Carolina last week (check out the Watauga Conservative for just one example of hyperbolic face-fanning) was nothing but politically motivated stampeding of the voter suppression wildebeests.

Chris Fitzsimon's "Monday Numbers" this morning points out that Republican General Assembly leaders Thom Tillis and Phil Berger rushed out their allegations about massive voter fraud on the basis of unproven, incomplete, and inconclusive investigations by the State Board of Elections, based on the monumentally inept suspicions of the Kansas Secretary of State, who has a long history of passing gas in the general direction of people actually voting, which conservative Republicans so obviously despise.

The Kansas Secretary of State created the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which is what turned up the 765 North Carolina citizens who may (or more likely may not) have voted twice, in this state and some other state, the allegation or implication of which sent Tillis and Berger screaming at the rafters.

Farting into the wind:
0—number of cases across the country that Korbach’s office could identify as of October 2013 in which evidence of voter fraud found by Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program has resulted in actual criminal charges (“Special Report – Who’s driving North Carolina’s latest voter fraud hysteria?” Institute of Southern Studies, April 4, 2014)
17—number of alleged voter fraud cases identified by the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program in Colorado in early 2013 and turned over to the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office (Ibid.)
17—number of the 17 alleged voter fraud causes found in Colorado that were dismissed in July 2013 after the District Attorney found that none of them involved actual fraud and that the allegations were “politically motivated.” (Ibid.)
How 'bout you howling monkeys in the Republican Party let us know when you actually find any actual evidence of voter fraud, especially any species of voter fraud that would have been prevented by your hallowed voter photo ID law.

District Attorney Candidate Forum

Should be interesting:
What: DA Candidate Forum
Location: Watauga County Courthouse (Superior Courtroom)
Date: Monday April 28, 2014
Time: 5:30-7:30pm

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Going ... Going ...

Gone by summer (possibly)!

What? North Carolina's noxious Amendment One.

On February 14, a federal judge in Virginia ruled that state's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. The appeal on that case will reach the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 13. The Fourth Circuit is notoriously one of the most conservative panels in the nation, but with anti-gay legislation falling all over the nation, observers fully expect the Fourth Circuit to strike down Virginia's ban.

If Virginia's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional, so is North Carolina's.

We expect the Fourth Circuit to do the right thing and rule that such bans -- whether in Virginia or North Carolina -- violate the federal equal protection clause.

News&Observer has a full article on this today.

Andrew Cox, in The Appalachian, Appalachian State University

Friday, April 04, 2014

The Premature Ejaculations of Tillis and Berger

Guest blogging: Atticus Finch, Jr.

Thom Tillis and Phil Berger claim voter fraud? Let's think about this with some common sense and some basic math skills, shall we?

Fact: 765 NC registered voters had the same first name, last name, DOB, and last 4 digits of SSN as someone in another state.

The Republican talking point/implication: These 765 people committed voter fraud by voting in NC and in another state!

In the past, when these anomalies arise, it almost always turns out to be a mistake somewhere; for example, some well-intentioned Board of Elections worker simply got the DOB wrong or the SSN wrong. I've certainly made this mistake before, as likely you have. And the new voter photo i.d. legislation Tillis and Berger passed can't do anything about these kinds of errors. These are human errors regardless of whether you show a state-issued photo i.d. or not. 

But let's tackle the Tillis/Berger claim directly with some analytical skills that our NC youth learn while they are in school (although perhaps Tillis and Berger didn't!).

#1 -- The Geographical Analysis 
There is a key assumption in this claim of voter fraud: that these 765 double entries are the same person voting in two states. But notice that they did not dig deeper to see if they could physically be the same person. (My elementary school math teacher called this "making sure your answers make sense.") While someone may be able to drive from their poll site in NC to some poll site in SC or VA or TN, it would NOT be possible to vote in Alaska or Oregon. The data needed to answer this is, of course, available. But was that analysis done? Doesn't seem so, but then why ruin a great headline like "Voter Fraud" with prickly facts?

#2 -- The Probability Analysis 
You should not believe that the same first and last name alone would indicate voter fraud! There are just too many John Smiths out there, right? For fun, look at, and you'll discover that there are 46,000 John Smiths in the U.S.! When any middle name does NOT get factored in, that means that John W. Smith and John A. Smith are being considered the same person by this analysis.

Okay, but throw in the same DOB, and it really becomes convincing that this is voter fraud, right? That this must indeed be the same physical person. Except that probability theory (Google "birthday paradox") says there is a 50% chance of two people having the same birthday in a group of only 23 people! If we divide our 46,000 John Smiths into groups of 23, we get 2,000 groups, and about half of these groups will have two people (both named John Smith) with the same DOB.

But what about the last 4 digits of the SSN? Let's think about that in a couple of common-sense ways. First, how many people share the last 4 digits? Let's take a specific example: 3-7-2-5. How many other SSNs end with 3725? With 5 digits to the left of these, there are 100,000 SSNs ending in 3725! And, oh my, this is beautiful! there are another 100,000 SSNs that end in 3726. And another 100,000 ending with 3727. That's a surprising amount of overlap. In fact, applying the same probability method as in the birthday paradox, in a room of 215 people there is a 90% chance that two people have the same last 4 SSN digits.

But put it all together and surely the odds become astronomical and thus prove this data has identified the same physical person committing voter fraud. By my rough calculations, in a room of 2,250 people there is a 50% chance that two will have the same DOB and last 4 SSN digits. So let's get our John Smiths (all 46,000 of them) into these groups of 2,250 each. That makes 20 groups, and so there are about 10 John Smiths with the same DOB and the same last 4 SSN digits.

Wow! I bet that if Tillis and Berger dig deeper they might even find some of those 765 persons supposedly voted not only in NC and one other state but possibly in even more states. They might even find a John Smith who voted in 10 states! Or they might find that these are not the same physical persons after all.  

#3 -- The Superlative Adjective Analysis
Tillis and Berger are claiming that these 765 sure cases show "alarming evidence" of voter fraud. I call your bluff on the word alarming. I've already shown that there are most assuredly NOT 765 cases of voter fraud. But what if there were? Would it be an "alarming" number? One that required immediate action? Let's see: There were about 4,500,000 NC residents who voted in 2012. And 765 divided by 4,500,000 = 0.00017, which is one HUNDREDTH of one percent. Alarming? Consider a different context: If I weigh 200 pounds and want to lose some weight with a new diet, and then lose 0.017% of my weight ... wow! that's 0.034 pounds or 0.544 ounces or 15.4 grams.  That's about the same as a ball point pen. Yeah, not that impressive after all.

I truly look forward to the deeper analysis of the NC State Board of Elections, but I'm not holding my breath because I don't believe that either Tillis or Berger really care. They've done their grandstanding with their weak set of facts and want to move as quickly as possible away from any real truth.

More Hollywood, Not Less

North Carolina's tax credits for film and television production are set to expire at the end of this year, and some Republicans in the General Assembly will take their marching orders from the John Locke Foundation, which hates Hollywood and hates Hollywood's money flowing into the state. In fact, the sock puppets working for the John Locke Foundation claim that the state's "film incentives" produce a "negative budgetary impact."

Buffalo dust!

A new, non-Pope funded study of the film industry in North Carolina by Robert Handfield of the North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management found this: 
Beginning in 2007, when the incentive was first enacted, through 2012, the film and television industry has spent $1.02 billion in the state and generated a projected $170,000,000 in tax revenue. The cost of the credit over the same time period was $112,000,000. The result means that, for every dollar of credit issued, the industry generated $9.11 in direct spending and contributed $1.52 in tax revenue to North Carolina. (Hattip: WRAL)
The City of Charlotte has never looked better than it does in "Homeland." The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce ought to be giving a subsidy to that show.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

First They'll Celebrate the "Fraud," And Then They'll Check for Evidence

Republican members of the General Assembly were joyously leaping to conclusions yesterday about massive voter fraud because a computer program found people with the same name and birth date supposedly voted in two different states of the union.

Not double-voted in North Carolina, mind you, but supposedly in North Carolina and, say, Vermont.

Kim Strach, executive director of the State Board of Elections, kept reminding the lawmakers that nothing was proven yet and that they shouldn't leap to conclusions. But the lawmakers were making like hot popcorn kernels and were hitting the legislative pot lid plink plink plink.

Congratulating themselves for passing Voter ID law and General Voter Suppression measures last year they were!

But here's the thing: The Republican Voter ID law would not -- NOT -- have prevented a single instance of double-voting in North Carolina and, say, Vermont (if it happened at all).

And how does the cutting of Early Voting by a full week prevent double voting? How does banning polling stations from college campuses prevent double voting? How does the elimination of "transfer" or out-of-precinct voting prevent double voting?

It doesn't. It wouldn't. It didn't.

Our legislative Republicans and their enablers are such transparent cheerleaders for "It's My World and You Should Just Get the Hell Out of It!"

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

But, Oh, My Aching Back!

Don't look for much here in the way of scorched-earth politics while we're experiencing this delayed spring.

I'm digging. I'm weeding. I'm lifting perennials and dividing them and potting up the extras. I'm finishing the pruning. I'm mulching. I'm making potting soil. I'm quilting clods and thanking God for no wind and no snow.

Political commentary will return, like the wind and the snow.