Saturday, November 29, 2014

Surprise, Lee County! You Get Millions of Tons of Coal Ash for Christmas!

Lee County, NC, is high on the target list for immediate fracking for natural gas. Now it's also about to receive a snoot full of Duke Energy's coal ash. Are the citizens happy?

Duke Energy wants to put millions of tons of its precious coal ash into open-pit clay mines in both Lee and Chatham counties. Duke Energy has put in its applications for permits to its wholly owned subsidiary, the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which is sure to approve them.

Some slick Duke Energy boys in expensive suits showed up earlier this month at a Lee County Commissioners meeting in Sanford and reassured the folks that everything was copacetic, that there was no danger, that ... blah blah blah. According to WRAL, the crowd of citizens who showed up to hear Their Slicknesses weren't buying what Duke Energy was selling. Every single speaker in the public hearing spoke against putting coal ash into Lee County, and they chanted "shame on you" at the end of the public hearing.

One resident spoke directly to the Duke representatives, “I’m sorry. I’m sure you’re all very nice people, but you are not here for the betterment of my community.”

Incidentally, Republican Rep. Mike Stone, a great champion for fracking who represented Lee County, lost his seat to Democrat Brad Salmon in the elections just passed. So there's that.

Can These Bones Live? (Ezekiel 37:3)

Joseph Palermo, a history prof, offers an indictment of sorts of the contemporary national Democratic Party (which I certainly endorse) and a prophecy going forward if things don't change (hat tip: GC):
Right now we are facing one of the worst configurations of unchecked corporate power, militarism, market fundamentalism, and environmental crisis than at any time in our history, and the messaging coming from congressional Democrats right now appears to be that becoming Republican-Lite is the smart path forward.
Palermo's forecast of what the new Republican majority in the U.S. Senate, combined with the old Republican majority in the U.S. House, will attempt come January seems pretty likely:
The Republican-controlled 114th Congress will attempt to privatize everything from the U.S. Postal Service to Social Security. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his associates will try to gut every social program that benefits working people from Food Stamps to Medicaid. They’ll snuff out sustainable energy investments and plow ahead with expanding fossil fuels. They’ll figure out new ways to sell old wars. They’ll push austerity for anyone who can’t afford to attend a $30,000-a-plate fundraiser. They’ll push “free trade” deals that outsource jobs while leaving American workers holding the bag. They’ll slash unemployment insurance and other “entitlements.” And they’ll ensure that our economy continues to work for the benefit of the richest 1 percent.
Meanwhile, what does (and did) the Democratic power players in Mugstomp-on-the-Potomac do, the Claire McCaskills, the Mary Landrieus, the Kay Hagans?
Unlike the Republicans, Democratic politicians seem to always neglect the care and feeding of their own base. They’re quick to turn against any organized movement from the Left – be it Occupy Wall Street, the World Climate Movement, teachers’ unions, students’ organizations, environmentalists, or the protesters acting in solidarity with the African-American community in Ferguson, Missouri – yet all the while they expect to win their votes.
Which brings Palermo and us to 2016 and the prospects of Hillary at the top of the ticket:
Unless Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders jumps into the Democratic primaries and caucuses and give the party’s base something to vote for, the Democratic constituencies will limp into 2016 just as uninspired as they were 2014. The Republicans’ cynical structural advantages they’ve institutionalized in recent years — infinite access to dark money, gerrymandered districts, voter suppression of minorities and young people – will stand rewarded and putting the brakes on the incessant move toward corporate oligarchy in this country will be even harder to fight back against.
It may be slightly different in North Carolina, with a profoundly disappointing first-term Republican governor running against a power-house Democrat who does not yet appear afraid of his own shadow, unlike those national party types.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Why You Should Never Let Them Privatize Your Water

Aqua North Carolina, a private corporation and a subsidiary of a bigger Pennsylvania company, managed to buy municipal water systems in 52 of North Carolina's 100 counties, mainly because local governments, led by people who had no foresight or vision of the civic compact, did not want to fund infrastructure and upkeep for the greater good. Now see what's happening.

Privately owned water resources for urban and suburban communities. Water sold to citizens for profit, not for the civic good. What could possibly go wrong?

Aqua North Carolina convinced the North Carolina Utilities Commission, now under control of the Privatization Brigade in Raleigh, to allow them to increase prices they charge for water (often clouded with sediment and smelly, according to customers) without going through the full cost-increase approval process, which would allow for customer push-back. No, the Utilities Commission decided it could allow for "smaller, more frequent rate increases" while cutting out the public's ability to protest.

Thank God for Attorney General Roy Cooper. He is now suing the Utilities Commission for that particular power-grab (really, for being the hand-maidens and enablers of the water bandits). Gawd only knows how the state's Supreme Court will rule.

It's a fine day in North Carolina when a company like Aqua North Carolina becomes the sole source of water for 250,000 of our citizens, and the state's Utilities Commission allows them "small, frequent rate increases" while silencing the public.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Heeeere's Danny!

Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest will be celebrating the Christmas season with a high-dollar fundraiser ... for himself.

A week from Thanksgiving in Charlotte, Dan will shake your hand and get his pheromones all over you for the measly starting sum of $500. For $5,000, you'll get nuzzled, "before a general reception that will include people who give less."

If this ain't a slick politician and arch conservative getting ready to primary a weak sitting governor in 2016, I don't know what it is.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

NC's New House Speaker

With Thom Tillis gone on to glory in Mugstomp-on-the-Potomac, NC House Republicans met yesterday to nominate a candidate to take Tillis's former post as Speaker of the House. Rep. Tim Moore of Cleveland County won on the first ballot against five rivals.


He's a lawyer. He's a Southern Baptist. He doesn't have his name on a lot of crazy legislation (though, of course, he always voted with the majority on a long list of bad laws since 2011, so there's that). He looks very "establishment," which in North Carolina in this year of our Lord is conservative enough.

Time will tell.

The only thing that might prevent Moore from being elected to the speakership (election by the full House will happen in mid-January) would be a behind-the-scenes deal struck between the Democratic minority and a Republican rival to Moore who could get at least 15 other Republicans to buck the caucus. Doesn't seem likely.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Virginia Foxx Said What?

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx issued a statement on President Obama's executive action on immigration. Considering her own personal history and the way she has benefitted financially from Hispanic immigration (like here and here and here and definitely here), we feel embarrassed for her ... since she's clearly incapable of feeling embarrassed for herself.

(My mother always warned me to beware of the person who doesn't feel embarrassment.)

Personal message to Virginia Foxx: if President Obama is violating the Constitution, then why don't you and your chums in Congress impeach him? Otherwise, you're just blowing rancid smoke.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Night of the Knucklehead

Last night was Nathan Miller's last meeting as a voting member and Chair of the Watauga County Commission. We found out that he had some unfinished grudges.

The Watauga County Planning Commission presented its recommendations for a 90-day moratorium on certain development in the Boone extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) while the Commission grapples with what regs will best serve the residents there.

The motion to hold a public hearing on a 90-day moratorium -- a public hearing only -- eventually passed 4-1, with Miller casting the lone nay vote. Miller made it abundantly clear that he didn't want any special protections for the former ETJ, so he didn't see any point in a public hearing.

Miller declared that the recent election was the only "referendum" that mattered on Sen. Dan Soucek and Rep. Jonathan Jordan's law in Raleigh denying Boone its ETJ. The people reelected Soucek and Jordan … so there! The people therefore obviously supported the Soucek/Jordan action against Boone, according to Miller.

The fact that Jordan didn't carry Watauga County at all and Soucek only won Watauga by 213 votes would appear to undercut Mr. Miller's "referendum" argument. Commissioner Billy Kennedy pointed out that he got more votes in Watauga than either Soucek or Jordan, so by Miller's curious logic, the county might be a good deal more progressive than Miller wants to believe.

Commissioner John Welch was also not buying Miller's argument. Welch pointed out that this was a low-turnout election, so trying to claim a mandate for wide-open, wild-west, steep-slope & high density building -- an issue that actually wasn't on the ballot anywhere -- was misguided.

The Planning Commission had held three community meetings in the ETJ area, seeking citizen imput about what planning regs would most protect their homes and quality of life. Miller and fellow Republican commissioners David Blust and Perry Yates made a belly-aching show of grief that only 125 citizens -- out of more than 3,000 (probably) who live in the ETJ -- came out to those community meetings, proving -- evidently -- the people don't care what now happens in the ETJ.

Welch directed a question to Watauga Planning Director Joe Furman: "What percentage would you say, of those who attended those meetings, were in favor of keeping the existing development rules in the ETJ?"

"Fully 80%," Furman answered.

Welch turned to Miller. If you want to base assumptions on low turnouts, he said, why isn't that 80% as important as the election results?

There was something like a shouting match after that, with David Blust smugly declaring to Billy Kennedy that he had only won his reelection in tiny little Boone and hadn't won otherwise in the vast Watauga County landmass. Meaning, we have to assume, that in Blust's eyes a vote in Beaver Dam is worth two in Boone, or some such nonsense as that. Otherwise, we think the "one person one vote" principle still rules our democracy.

(While we're all trying to make hay out of election numbers, I really must point out that Mr. Blust won his two-year term on the Commission by a margin of 360 votes, in the whole vast landmass of Watauga County.)

Anyway, there will be a public hearing at 6 p.m. on December 16 on whether the county will adopt a 90-day moratorium on certain development (only the specific items governed by the county's existing High Impact Land Use Ordinance) until the Planning Commission can study and write an ordinance governing the former ETJ. By December 16 there will be a new man presiding as chair of the County Commission … though not necessarily a new political philosophy. It's still a 3-2 Republican majority on the commission, with no significant history of differing very much from "Millerism."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Redefine This!

“Marriage has always been defined throughout history one way and re-defining marriage is a special right. It’s not an equal right. Interracial marriage was an equal right because it was excluding a group. This is a redefinition. It’s a fundamentally different thing.”

--NC Sen. Dan Soucek (R-Bubbletown), in the Avery Journal

There are times -- really, most of the time -- when the stupidity of Senator Soucek just leaves you speechless.

You Can't Eat It Or Drink It, But You Sure as Hell Can Pay for It!

The hand-picked ... is stooges too strong a word? ... the hand-picked appointees to North Carolina's new Coal Ash Commission have generously decided that you and I and every other rate-payer in North Carolina will have to bear the cost of the coal ash cleanup that billion-dollar corporation Duke Energy should pay for but doesn't want to.

Here Sit the Stooges
Perfect example of the privatization of profit and the socialization of costs, the only brand of socialism that conservatives seem to love.

Oh, you chose those Coal Ash Commissioners by choosing their puppet-masters in the North Carolina General Assembly. You did it. Now choke on it.

Ben Ray Lujan for DCCC

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has chosen New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan to head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the very important "chief campaigner" position that recruits congressional candidates and raises money for the 2016 races.

Not Jim Himes.

For which we're grateful.

Lujan is Hispanic. His father was Ben Lujan, who once served as speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives, and his cousin is Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, another member of New Mexico's congressional delegation.

Who knows if he's the right person for this job, but he's young, he comes from a political family, and he seems to represent a grassroots rather than a Wall Street approach to the direction the party needs to take.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Phil Berger: Why Is This Man Grinning?

This man, Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), Republican leader of the NC Senate ... sez he's still opposed to Medicaid expansion in North Carolina.

So federal taxes paid by North Carolina residents will continue to help expand Medicaid coverage in other states, while some 500,000 poor and the elderly continue to sicken and suffer without help in North Carolina.

If Berger is "agin it," it won't happen.

Doesn't matter what Governor McCrory wants to do. He's a paper tiger.

Doesn't matter what Thom Tillis said about reconsidering it. That was just a sop thrown over his shoulder as he decamped for Mugstomp-on-the-Potomac, the Emerald City.

Phil Berger ... the Father of Suffering.

Gov. McCrory Feels Miss Tami's Whip

This person, Tami Fitzgerald, head of the NC Values Coalition, chief anti-gay cheerleader, and enthusiastic demon-hunter, blistered Governor Pat McCrory because he said he would take no action to fight a Federal judge's overturning of North Carolina's anti-gay marriage amendment.

What She Said
“Where was the governor's concern for the defense of our Constitution when a rogue judge enjoined the marriage amendment that 61 percent of North Carolina voters passed?”

What She Meant
Closets are for furs and gay people. Look it up!

What She Said
 “It is a shame when our governor is more interested in expanding his executive power than he is in actually protecting and defending a real threat to our Constitution — the overreach of power by a federal judge who enjoined the marriage amendment and forced same-sex marriage on our state.”

What She Meant
If anyone is going to overreach her power, it's going to be me!


Guess the Guv will be taking a plate of cookies to Tami Fitzgerald.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Virginia Foxx Lost Watauga County ... Again

No coverage in any local press we've seen of this interesting reversal of election night final numbers. Following the canvass of the vote yesterday by the Watauga County Board of Elections, Josh Brannon won Watauga County by two votes.

The Great Voter-Fraud-Hunt Fail of 2014

In Forsyth County, whose local Board of Elections is wackier if not as out-and-out corrupt as Watauga's.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Nearer, Our Wall Street, To Thee

Our own dyspepsia with the Obama administration grew after January 2009 the closer to Wall Street the president cozied up. The damping down of economic populism throughout the Democratic Party, from the top down, is at least partly to blame for the following recent developments: the electoral losses in 2010 and 2014, the blossoming of the Tea Party, and the Occupy Wall Street (and everywhere else) movement. Some of us believe that the loss of our populist edge is largely to blame for those displays of discontent.

Do you hear the loud smacking of lips coming from the canyons of Wall Street at the prospect of a Hillary Clinton candidacy? Yes, it's drowning out progressive and populist groans at the thought of even more sell-outs to the bankers and the other "lords of the universe."

That's why the Elizabeth Warren talk isn't going away. She looks very much like the best potential candidate, with plenty of economic smarts and a toughness of spirit. Hillary is stale bread compared to Elizabeth.

Jim Himes
Now comes news that the leading contender to become chief Democratic campaign operative, candidate recruiter, and fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is a former Goldman Sachs vice president and hedge fund suckup, Jim Himes of Greenwich, Conn. Nancy Pelosi gets to make the appointment.

Robert Kuttner asks, rhetorically, "So the last thing Democrats need going forward is an even closer affinity with Wall Street, right?"

Goddamn it all to hell if this comes to pass. The love of money is the root of all evil. I learned that in Sunday School. If the Democratic Party wants to become fully irrelevant, or merely the semi-official handmaiden to the billionaires (which is essentially what it's been for the last six years), then by all means, Nancy, signal your abandonment of the people by the appointment of Jim Himes as head of the DCCC.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Redecorating the Thom Tillis Way

Apparently, Thom Tillis, newly elected to the U.S. Senate from North Carolina, has real style. He's also an arrogant martinet, according to both Republican and Democratic members of the NC House, who just woke up to the fact that Mr. Tillis ordered a $120,000 make-over of his former House chamber without talking to anyone. Because he could.

Let's see ... Mr. Tillis will be up for reelection in 2020, a presidential election year when Roy Cooper will be running for reelection to the governor's mansion.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

That's Interesting

Paul Woolverton, reporter at the Fayetteville Observer, tweeted a few minutes ago:
"Gov McCrory on WFNC in Fayetteville, says he needs to talk w/ his wife before committing to reelection run"

Monday, November 10, 2014

O Where Are the Ebolas of Yesteryear?

This map circulated widely prior to November 4 on Republican social media and right-wing websites. Please note that an Islamic State HDQs is confidently located in Mexico, wherefore the massive outbreak of ebola in Dallas. You remember that, right? There was always a master plan, don't you know, to take down the United States via an unstoppable disease.

Standard Operating Procedure among the Republican brethren, who are much more motivated by fear and hatred than by any vision of effective government.

Has Fox News even uttered the word "ebola" since the election?

Do the low-information voters who bought into this crap even notice that the whole threat has simply evaporated?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Tropic of Cancer

The Watauga Conservative published this map of Watauga County, showing the precincts in and around Boone that voted Democratic this week amid a sea of Republican red. Author "NewGuy" then suggested that Boone is a "cancer" at the heart of Watauga County.

The direct quote: "We are a conservative county with a liberal cancer in it's center!"

"Liberal cancer."

Which actually explains a lot about recent GOP activities. It explains why Rep. Jonathan Jordan and Senator Dan Soucek could decide to abuse their power and single out Boone for special punishment among all the cities of North Carolina.

It explains why Watauga County Commission Chair Nathan Miller could abuse his power to deny Boone it's fair share of sales tax revenue.

It explains why Stacy C. Eggers IV ("Four") would conspire with two Republican members of the Board of Elections to abuse their power and apply radiation to the "cancer," an attempt to shrink it down to a size that would fit in one Early Voting site.

It also explains the brand of "Christianity" that the pious frauds over at the Watauga Conservative actually practice: if you remove the humanity of your enemies, reduce them to hated germs, then you can safely advocate for their extermination.

You can also safely ignore the hundreds of Democratic and progressive votes in those other 16 precincts that NewGuy pretends to see as "pure" red. You can also conveniently ignore that Watauga County has swung decidedly Democratic as a whole in several past election cycles, and will again.

But never mind. Let's play out the solution to having a "liberal cancer" in the heart of your real estate. Let's close Appalachian State University and scatter all those students to other cesspools of sin and exile those radical professors to states that might appreciate them. Yes, let's! Then we'll see how all you developers fare with your rental properties and your cash flow. While we're at it, let's shutter the Watauga Medical Center, since it's full of over-educated professionals who tend to vote Democratic.

After you finish cutting out the "cancer," let's see what jobs, what economic opportunity, what prospects for the future are left to you cancer-free, short-sighted, and illiberal people.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The Cynicism of Anne Marie Yates

Watauga County Republican Party Chair Anne Marie Yates, surrounded by clueless members of the Young Republicans at Appalachian State University, told the High Country Press on election night: "This election should put to rest all the nonsense of voter suppression being claimed by the liberal wing of the Democratic Party."

"Nonsense," huh? Not according to the Chief Resident Superior Court Judge of Wake County, who found ample evidence of voter suppression in Watauga County and ruled it unconstitutional.

Pitiful, that ASU College Republicans not only allow Anne Marie Yates's nonsense to go unchallenged but also appear to applaud efforts to keep college students from voting.

The Concentrated Mind of Gov. McCrory

"When a man knows he is to be hanged, it concentrates his mind wonderfully," said Dr. Johnson, and Governor McCrory appeared to be concentrating with unusual clarity yesterday, not as he contemplated Republican wins but as he looked ahead to his own reelection campaign in 2016.

McCrory told WRAL that the GOP needs to "govern with humility" (like that's in their DNA!): "Even though we won, we shouldn't spike the ball. We should behave as though we've been to the end zone before and continue to govern, continue to lead .... North Carolina is still very divided. We've got to recognize where there's differences and then try to have conversations."
That's a worried man right there. Meanwhile, Republican Grand Ayatollah Phil Berger was indeed spiking the ball just like McCrory said he shouldn't: "We think it's a validation by the voters of the direction that we've taken North Carolina in over the past four years," Berger said.

McCrory says he wants to reconsider the expansion of Medicaid. Guaranteed: Berger won't hear of it. McCrory says the few silly vetoes he offered the General Assembly in 2014, and which his Republican allies quickly squashed, were just "a statement, not necessarily to win a battle with lawmakers," a pathetic admission of his total castration at the hands of Mr. Berger, who runs the General Assembly with an iron (extremely conservative) fist.

McCrory realizes that the Republicans haven't yet experienced a state-wide test of their extremist agenda. The Kay Hagan race wasn't it. The General Assembly races just concluded, in those highly gerrymandered districts, wasn't it either. McCrory's reelection struggle in 2016 will be it, and so far the forecast is cloudy with a chance of hail.

McCrory knows it, which means he may be the smartest right now that he's ever been.

That Was Not Our Last Calf-Roping

That was not our first rodeo. Won't be our last, either. We know the taste of arena-floor dirt. Improves your perspective and adds nutriments that are otherwise rare to the diet. You know the old saying: What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

2016 won't be the same for either party. Turn-out for Democrats and the unaffiliated is bound to be much stronger, even if all the voter suppression practiced by our General Assembly and The Guv stands up in court.

Locally, progressives held their own and even improved their situation. Sheriff Hagaman buried Randy Townsend, despite an early voting site in Deep Gap generously provided by our partisan Board of Elections.

It's steady-state on the county's Board of Commissioners, two Democrats and three Republicans. But at least the Nathan Miller Era will be over come the first of December. He has no more public office to abuse the power of. Republican Commissioner David Blust will have to run again in 2016 along with Republican Perry Yates. Without Miller pulling their strings, what will they do for direction? Will they put Democrat-turned-Republican Jimmy Hodges in as their Chair?

Democrats will now dominate the Watauga County Board of Education, first time in a long time. Republican Ron Henries, who got thrown under the party bus back in May because he voted not to ban books, is now being celebrated on the local conservative blog as one of their wins on Tuesday, as though we all don't remember how he was treated months ago. Bottomline: Wataugans have only one book-banner left on the school board, and that took a good deal of "single-shotting" by the conservatives.

NC House member Jonathan Jordan lost Watauga County, and state Senator Dan Soucek came within 226 votes of losing his home county too. If voters want more backwardness and bullshit, they'll certainly get it from Jordan and Soucek. But 2016 is coming.

For those without love for the North Carolina General Assembly -- which means those who've been paying attention to the extremist agenda in Raleigh -- the brightest spots on Tuesday night were in Buncombe and in Wake counties.

Tim Moffitt, the smug Buncombe County representative who engineered the seizing of Asheville's water system without compensation to the city, was defeated by Democrat Brian Turner. Moffitt thought he might be in line to succeed Thom Tillis as Speaker of the NC House. Oops.

Another Buncombe County Republican House member, freshman Nathan Ramsey, also lost to John Ager.

But Wake County was the real stand-out for a local slaughter of Republican office-holders. Another Republican NC House member, Tom Murry, used an election-day stunt to try to fool pro-education voters. The Murry campaign paid temp workers to hand out fake endorsement cards from the NC Association of Educators. The NCAE had actually endorsed Murry’s opponent, Gale Adcock. The fake endorsement cards were exposed on local television, and Adcock went on to beat the faker.

All four incumbent Republican county commissioners in Wake County, including Jesse Helms's nephew Paul Coble, were swept out of office by four Democrats.

Perhaps most significant of all races statewide, Democratic Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judges won all their races, except for that 19-candidate race for the Court of Appeals, where Republican John Tyson won because all Democrats did not unite behind one candidate.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Final Numbers

Sheriff of Watauga County
Hagaman (D), incumbent 9,822
Townsend (R) 7,503

County Commission District 3
Kennedy (D), incumbent 8,811
Lerch (R) 8,253

County Commission District 4
Turnbow (D) 8,246
Blust (R), incumbent 8,834

County Commission District 5
Kinsey (D) 7,968
Hodges (R) 9,164

Watauga County Board of Education
Fenwick (D) 7,200
Holste (D) 6,047
Michael (U) 6,175
Cornett (R) 7,383
Henries (R) 6,555
Trivette (U) 4,999

NC House Dist. 93
Counts (D) 8,625
Jordan (R), incumbent 8,705

NC Senate Dist. 45
Sponenberg (D) 8,388
Soucek (R), incumbent 8,815

Monday, November 03, 2014

Voter Suppression in Forsyth County Also Backfires

The Forsyth County Board of Elections reduced Early Voting locations in downtown Winston-Salem to one, eliminating a site on the Winston-Salem State University campus. It's been the pattern all across North Carolina, including in Watauga County: squeeze the urban locations for Early Voting in an attempt to discourage urban voters.

But on Saturday, the last day of Early Voting, hundreds of people jammed the downtown Winston-Salem site, determined to "vote with a vengeance" against the blatant voter suppression that was going on. The last people in line on Saturday voted at 4 p.m.

Making long lines is just another tactic, and how have the Republicans accomplished that? One way was to eliminate straight-ticket voting, so that every voter has to mark potentially dozens of bubbles, which takes a long time. Someone tweeted on Saturday: "Hope the people made to wait long hours to vote are thinking of the politicians who created this situation!"

Make Early Voting inconvenient, slow up the lines, jam up the voters for hours -- maybe they'll just get discouraged and go away.

But, no, in Forsyth County, people were VOTING WITH A VENGEANCE and did not get discouraged. Chad Nance described the mood in line as "cheerful" and the line itself as "historic."

Watauga County Not the Only Place With a Dickish Board of Elections

Lincoln County has presented its own spectacle of blatant voter suppression during Early Voting, and it took another lawsuit to partially rectify the State Board's rubber-stamping (again) of a local board's attempt to keep Democratic voters away from the polls.

The Republican majority on the Lincoln County BOE cut Early Voting hours in the county's main city, Lincolnton, to 38 hours while increasing hours at more rural, satellite sites to 70 hours each. Lincolnton is where 31% of the county's black voters live.

When the Lincoln Co. BOE's first Early Voting plan included no hours past 5 p.m., the SBOE sent it back and insisted that at least one Early Voting site needed to include hours past 5 p.m. The Lincoln BOE then reduced the hours in Lincolnton to 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. -- hours guaranteed to keep working people away from voting -- and increased hours at the rural satellite sites.

The Chairman of the Lincoln BOE was quite explicit to the local press about why they did that: We didn't want to make Early Voting "favorable to the Democratic Party." He really said that.

On October 6, a group of Lincoln County voters sued the SBOE and members of the Lincoln County BOE in Wake Superior Court. A week later the Lincoln County BOE caved and extended the hours at the Lincolnton site. It's unclear what's become of that lawsuit in the meantime, but we suspect it's still active, and the concerned voters of Lincoln County will still get their day in court against the increasingly partisan hackery epitomized by the NC State Board of Elections and their agents in the 100 counties.