Tuesday, May 31, 2016

16 Ways of Looking at The Foxx: Why the Tea Party Doesn't Like Her

Brant Clifton outlines the major reasons why Pattie Curran should definitely, positively win the current Republican primary against V. Foxx. Good luck with that project, Ms. Curran.

And now, with apologies to Wallace Stevens:
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a Foxx  
Are less than one.

Friday, May 27, 2016

What Is Margaret Spellings Up To?

Thomas Mills connects some first dots in the Margaret Spellings era for the University of North Carolina system. Ain't looking good.

"It seems our university system is about to become yet another experiment for the conservatives who took over the state."

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bidding for the Support of Public School Teachers

State Republican leaders -- Guv, NC House, NC Senate -- are now out-bidding one another to buy back the votes of public school teachers with promised pay-raises.

As Samuel Johnson famously said, "When a man knows he is to be hanged, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."

The "hanging" looms on November 8th.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Queen of the Buffet!

Announcement came this morning that Congresswoman Virginia Foxx will chair the Republican National Committee's Platform Committee.

Look forward to all the thorns of disapproval and whips of scorn.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Roy Cooper Saves Jobs for North Carolina, While Gov. McCrory Sputters

Attorney General Roy Cooper
Braeburn Pharmaceuticals was planning a $20 million expansion into North Carolina, with 52 new high-paying jobs, but HB2 made the company change its mind. "After the passage of this [HB2] --what we consider quite unjust law -- we decided to rethink the situation," said the president of Braeburn Pharmaceuticals.

Bottomline: the company has decided to stay and complete its expansion in North Carolina. Why? Not because of our "Carolina Comeback" governor, though Squishy wants to claim the credit. No, it was because of our Democratic Attorney General. "Roy Cooper absolutely pushed us to stay and fight [the injustice] from within," the Braeburn president said.

Meanwhile, Gov. McCrory's fiction-writers put out a press release taking credit essentially for Braeburn's turnaround and blaming Roy Cooper for driving away business from the state. When the truth is exactly the opposite of that.

And now the governor's prevarication has been exposed by a WFAE report. Once the governor's "yarn" was exposed, his press office suddenly clammed up about their claims, while the president of Braeburn Pharmaceuticals had plenty to say.

Bill Aceto Acted Unilaterally in Demanding No Early Voting Site at ASU Student Union

Nancy Owen
So it's abundantly clear that Watauga Board of Elections Chair Bill Aceto acted unilaterally -- on his own -- while implying that he was speaking for "the Board of Elections" in demanding that no one ask for nor expect an Early Voting site in the ASU Student Union this November (where more people voted early per hour during the March primary than at all other Early Voting sites combined in the county). Aceto penned his letters to ASU Chancellor Sheri Everts, Caldwell Community College President Ken Boham, and the ASU Student Government Assn. without even informing nor consulting with his fellow Republican member Nancy Owen. (Aceto's letters are reproduced verbatim in the previous two posts, down column.)

Nancy Owen, who's actually the secretary of the Board, was kept in the dark. So if it wasn't clear to her before, she should know by now that she's merely a tool of Bill Aceto and of the real director of the Board of Elections, county attorney Stacy C. Eggers IV ("Four"). She's merely taken the place of the previous tool, Four Eggers' own brother Luke.

Nancy Owen certainly knows the "party line" -- prevent ASU student-voting at all costs -- but does she realize the damage being done to her own reputation? Or does she care?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bill Aceto Also Attempted To Intimidate the ASU Student Government

Bill Aceto, Chair of the Watauga Board of Elections, wrote an identical letter to the president of the Appalachian State University student government, suggesting strongly that students not even ask for Early Voting in the ASU student union. Don't even think about it.

To repeat the obvious, the real reason Aceto and the Watauga Republicans want to rule out the student union is because it was the most popular and heavily utilized Early Voting site in the entire county -- by voters of all ages who reside all over the county -- during the March primaries. The Republicans are not about to let that happen again. Over their dead bodies.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Bill Aceto Is His Name, Voter Suppression Is His Game

Bill Aceto, Republican Chair of the Watauga County Board of Elections, wrote a letter to the presidents of Appalachian State University and Caldwell Community College which is unusually revealing about Mr. Aceto's continuing efforts to put stumbling blocks in the path of student voters.

1. In his letter (below), Mr. Aceto speaks for the Board as though discussions and votes have been held. We are told that he is acting and speaking unilaterally, or else the two Republicans have been meeting privately without the Democratic member.

2. Mr. Aceto says the Board is looking at the possibility of establishing Early Voting on either the ASU or the Caldwell Community College campus. As far as we know, there is still a standing court order that an Early Voting site must be placed on the ASU campus. We would welcome a site on both campuses.

3. Mr. Aceto lists three sites that the Board is considering. All three are on the far edges of the campus. He does not list the Student Union, where the site was located for the March primary. He goes further on page 2 of his letter and explicitly rules out the ASU Student Union: Don't even think about recommending the Union for Early Voting, he says.

4. Mr. Aceto justifies ruling out the Student Union by alluding to numerous complaints about the "buffer zone." An examination of the "complaints file" in the Board of Elections office reveals no complaints -- zero -- dealing with the Early Voting site in the Student Union in the 2016 primary election. There were complaints about Election Day voting at the Legends site, mainly about how long and slow the lines were (which is on Mr. Aceto and his administration of voting in this county).

5. It is clear that Aceto, his boss "Four" Eggers, and the rest of the colluding power structure in the local Republican Party will continue to flaunt their subversion of Judge Donald Stephens' order from 2014 to make voting accessible to ASU students ... until the entire power structure is changed in the state of North Carolina.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

McCrory Law Suit Will Be Heard by Terrence Boyle

Judge Boyle
Governor McCrory and his legal team sued the Feds over HB2 in the Eastern District of North Carolina, which is almost entirely stocked with Republican/conservative judges. It's a miracle! Because who should draw the McCrory suit but one of the most notorious conservatives on the Federal bench in North Carolina, Judge Terrence Boyle.

Boyle cut his teeth in the "culture wars" of the 1970s as an aide to Senator Jesse Helms. He was elevated to the Federal bench by President Ronald Reagan and twice nominated for a seat on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals by both presidents Bush. Those nominations failed because both times the U.S. Senate was under Democratic control, and Democrats considered Boyle a regressionist on civil rights.

Currently, Boyle is one of the best known judges in the Eastern District of North Carolina and serves with an all-white cast of other, mainly Republican judges. The Eastern District encompasses 24 counties including much of the state's "black belt" -- demographically, the Eastern District is 27 percent African American -- yet in its 143-year history, that court has never had a black judge.

President Obama has appointed two different black women to that court. The first was blocked by Senator Richard Burr -- because he could -- and Burr has promised to block the second one as well. Currently, the Eastern District has a vacancy on the court going back more than a decade, because both presidents Clinton and Obama have been stymied by Republican senates.

So ... Judge Boyle will hear McCrory's complaint that HB2 does not violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964. How inexplicably fortuitous for McCrory's lawsuit to fall into the lap of a judge already hostile to the Civil Rights Act of 1964!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Twisted Logic of Governor McCrory

So the governor sued the federal government over bathroom policy. Then Messrs. Berger and Moore sued the federal government over the definition of civil rights. Then the federal government returned the compliment and sued the state for being so plime-blank stupid. And evil. (You can read all about it in the N&O.)

If you force yourself to read through the governor's suit (written by too-clever-by-half lawyers), you're confronted by some astounding logic:

HB2 doesn't discriminate against transgender people because transgender people don't actually exist. The only thing that exists is the "thang" between your legs when you were born. Every employee of North Carolina is required to use the toilet that conforms to that "thang." “All state employees are required to use the bathroom and changing facilities assigned to persons of their same biological sex, regardless of gender identity, or transgender status,” reads McCrory's complaint. See, everyone has access. Where's the discrimination in that?

That constitutes a denial that a transgender person has a different “gender identity,” which flies in the face of reality. But the governor has decided to stake his fortunes on that equation: if "gender identity" doesn't exist, then there is no discrimination in HB2.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article76601387.html#storylink=cpy
The governor's complaint also argues that transgender citizens can’t be discriminated against because they are not specifically named in Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964. Which sounds like a tacit admission to us: North Carolina is discriminating against transgender citizens because they're unprotected by federal law. Open season!

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article76601387.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, May 09, 2016

When Logic Fails, Throw "Liberal" at Them!

After Gov. McCrory tried to claim on Fox News Sunday that the federal government is “telling every university that accepts federal funding that boys who may think they're a girl can go into a girls' locker room or restroom or shower facility,” host Chris Wallace pressed McCrory on his party’s repeated attempts to portray transgender people as perverts and pedophiles (hat tip: ProgressNC):
CHRIS WALLACE: How many cases have you had in North Carolina in the last year where people have been convicted of using transgender protections to commit crimes in bathrooms?
GOV. MCCRORY: This wasn't a problem. That's the point I'm making. This is the Democratic Party and the left wing of the Democratic Party --
WALLACE: But have there been any cases of this?
MCCRORY: Not that I'm aware of.
WALLACE: Have there been any cases in the last five years?
MCCRORY: Why did the Democratic Party in Houston, Texas --
WALLACE: But I guess the question is, forgive me, if I may, sir, why not just then let it go? If there's not a case of transgender people going in and molesting little girls?
MCCRORY: I haven't used that at all. This is an issue of expectation --
WALLACE : Well, you did say a boy who thinks he's a girl going into a girls bathroom.
MCCRORY: And that's where there's an expectation of privacy. When you go into a restroom, or your wife goes into a restroom you assume the only other people going into that restroom or shower facility is going to be a person of the same gender. That's been an expectation of privacy that all of us have for years.
WALLACE: But if there's no problem, then why pass the law in the first place?
MCCRORY: There can be a problem, because the liberal Democrats are the ones pushing for bathroom laws. And now President Obama and one of my successors as mayor of Charlotte wants government to have bathroom rules. I’m not interested in that. We did not start this on the right. Who started it was the political left. In Houston, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina. And now, frankly, in Washington, D.C.
Are you frankly not embarrassed to witness our hapless governor on TV?

Gov. Squishy Attempts To Form a Coherent Thought. Epic Fail

On Fox News Sunday yesterday, the following "sentence" came out of Pat McCrory's mouth, an attempt to explain why he would/could not assent to the U.S. Justice Department's Monday deadline:

“I’m not going to publicly announce that something discriminates, which is agreeing with their letter, because we’re really talking about a letter in which they’re trying to define gender identity, and there is no clear definition of gender identity.”

Perhaps realizing that he was making no sense whatsoever, tipped off by the tiny bubble of poisonous spit forming on the right side of Chris Wallace's mouth, McCrory hurriedly reverted to his rehearsed talking point:  

“It’s the federal government being a bully.”

Whew! That was close. McCrory was almost lost forever in the swamp of his confused, misinformed, and country-club addled brain. But he pulled it out! It's the federal government being a bully! Hurray!

Never mind the bullying of transgender citizens by the Republican super-majority in the North Carolina General Assembly, the bullying which McCrory sanctioned by his signature and which he now desperately wants to forget.

Friday, May 06, 2016

NC Supremes Bob Edmunds Must Face Challenger

Ruling  Stands: "Retention Elections," unconstitutional

The "retention election" law passed in 2015 -- overturned by a 3-judge panel as unconstitutional in Feb. 2016 -- will stay overturned because of a 3-3 tie today on the NC Supreme Court

Sabra Faires
Last February, a special three-judge panel ruled in Sabra Faires et al. v. State Board of Elections et al. that the Berger-Moore innovation called "retention elections" was and is unconstitutional. The "retention election" law (passed quietly in 2015 to go into effect in 2016) effectively applied to only one human being, sitting Supreme Court Justice Bob Edmunds (R), up for reelection in 2016, because the retention election law mandated that any Supreme Court justice (and only a Supreme Court justice, on which, see below) up for reelection in 2016 (which would be Edmunds alone) did not have to run competitively against a known opponent but was subject to a voter plebiscite instead -- voters would vote only on whether Edmunds should be retained -- "yes" or "no" -- not on him or his known opponent. Under the Berger-Moore law, if by some fluke voters in the majority said "no," then the governor would get to appoint Edmunds' successor. Nice touch, that!

Sabra Faires, a lawyer in Raleigh who also wanted to run for Edmunds' seat, cried foul and sued on constitutional grounds: "retention elections" fundamentally violated the meaning of "election" as a choice. A special three-judge panel in Wake County agreed with her.

The State Board of Elections naturally appealed ... to the NC Supreme Court. The Supreme Court took the case. Interesting, since the retention election law, if it stood legal challenge, would eventually apply to the longevity of every last one of those justices, a clear conflict of interest. Edmunds, of course, recused himself. The remaining six justices split along partisan lines, creating an unbreakable tie of 3-3, Republicans Mark Martin, Paul Newby, and Barbara Jackson on one side, Democrats Sam Ervin IV, Cheri Beasley, and Robin Hudson on the other.

Bob Edmunds
When she spoke in Watauga on April 16, Sabra Faires said that she and the other plaintiffs did not make an issue of the conflict of interest (which plaintiffs could have, calling for a special and impartial panel). With Edmunds recused, it seemed pretty predictable that the court would tie 3-3, which would mean the lower court ruling would stand.

There will be an election in November between Bob Edmunds and whoever comes out on top in the primary June 7th: Sabra Faires, Daniel Robertson, or Mike Morgan. Take a guess who I'm voting for.

Footnote: Why the Retention Law Applied to Supreme Court Justices Alone
Berger Family Values
The original draft of the retention election law included all appellate level judges, meaning both NC Court of Appeals judges and Supreme Court judges. Written to include the appeals court, the law would have ruled out Phil Berger Junior's ability to challenge Linda Stephens. If she were "retained" under a new law, Junior Berger would be shit out of luck.

Phil Berger Senior, who runs Republican government in Raleigh, changed the law to apply only to the Supreme Court, and paved the way for his son.

House Speaker Tim Moore: "When I Sits, I Sits Loose"

NC House Speaker Tim Moore set off irony meters across the wide world of sports yesterday when he said that the General Assembly just couldn't, really couldn't move fast enough to meet the Monday Department of Justice deadline for amending NC's law singling out transgenders for unequal treatment -- the notorious HB2.

“We will take no action by Monday,” said Moore. “That deadline will come and go .... The legislative process doesn’t work where a response can be given by just a few days, so we’re going to move at the speed that we’re going to move at to look at what our options are at this point.”

We're going to move at the speed that we're going to move at.

Love that guy's way with words!

Critics everywhere were moving much quicker to point out that it took the General Assembly, with Mr. Moore leading one chamber of it, about 12 hours to build that thing called HB2, ram it through committees in both chambers, run it through "floor debate," pass it, and send it off to Governor Squishy who hurriedly signed it.

Twelve hours.

But under threat by the U.S. Department of Justice of legal action for violations of civil rights, Mr. Moore is now Mr. Slow Deliberation, mainly because he, Senate Boss Phil Berger, and Governor Squishy have their joint slogan position straight, that poor little "state's rights" are valiantly standing up to "Federal overreach," that Southern Republicans will fight Obama's tyranny, come what may, that you can't force good Christians to go against the Word of God, which somewhere (maybe Leviticus?) says it's righteous to persecute those going under the heading of LGBT.

Yeah, that'll rally the yahoos and win the fall election.

Or maybe not, when the North Carolina educational system, from kindergarten to universities, lose over $4 billion in Federal funding.

Heck of a job, Timmy!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Turns Out, Governor Squishy Will Fit Going Down That Drain

So this happened. The U.S. Department of Justice informed the governor that HB2 violates federal civil rights laws, and North Carolina has until Monday to announce that it will not attempt to enforce the law.

Not that Phil Berger and Company ever intended to enforce it, or had the wherewithal to enforce it. It's unenforceable, at least the who-uses-what-bathroom provision. The rest of it was typical Raleigh-dictating-to-cities what they can do/say/think about any issue carrying the odor of progressivism. Oh, and then there was the payout to the NC Chamber of Commerce, guaranteeing no businesses can be sued for being dicks and no city can raise the minimum wage.

How did McCrory react to the DOJ letter? He spoke at an NC Chamber of Commerce event soon after receiving the Justice Department letter, and he immediately chose the path of every Southern segregationist from decades ago, blasting the meddling, over-reaching bullies in the U.S. Gubmint who intend to force your baby girls into locker rooms with perverts.

So he's going down that drain, whining all the way.

It used to work, that tactic. It worked when it was desegregation. It worked when it was school busing. You could count on Southern whites rising up in anger against Washington DeeCee, vowing "segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever," and then changing their voter registration from Democrat to Republican because Lyndon Baines Johnson was giving away the country to the blacks.

Will it still work when the target group is the smallest and weakest segment of our population, trying to find their identity and keep their balance in this precarious world?

Whatever else happens, Governor McCrory has found his identity, or took what was thrust upon him by smarter and more cynical men, and he will go down in state history as the huge, hapless tool he is.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Will Hasan Harnett Sue the NCGOP?

The Tea Party insurgents in the North Carolina Republican Party have not gone quietly into that good night. Once their leader, the now former Chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, Hasan Harnett, was ousted from his post last Saturday, we're hearing only war drums on the Neuse.

Chief drummer Brant Clifton at The Daily Haymaker is now calling new party Chair Robin Hayes the "Big Dummy," and Harnett's chief defender in the closed-door "trial" that was held by the GOP executive committee last Saturday is loudly proclaiming that the whole process was "illegal and illegitimate."

Illegal is an interesting word here, since Hasan Harnett himself is now speaking publicly: “I am in the process of reviewing all options for next steps and will communicate my plans soon,” Harnett wrote to his supporters on-line.

"All options" might logically include a lawsuit based on that allegation of illegal process.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Flop Sweat: When the Cake You Baked Falls Flat

NC Senate Boss Phil Berger and NC House Boss Tim Moore and the Blount Street Eunuch Pat McCrory ought to read this poll and repent their sins, but they won't.

They're dug into their foxholes, where they're about to be buried.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Mr. Keep-Our-State-Straight Is a Graduate of AppState

NC Senator Eldon Sharpe "Buck" Newton III made some headlines this week at a pro-HB2 rally in Raleigh that was characterized yesterday on the editorial pages of the Charlotte Observer as a hate-fest worthy of the darkest days of the 1950s.

Buck Newton wants to be Attorney General of North Carolina. Of such are nightmares made.

Buck Newton graduated from Appalachian State University with a political science degree and went immediately to work for Jesse Helms. Now he's working to rid North Carolina of difference and drive us down the hole that Jesse Helms started digging so many decades ago.

In response to Buck's "coming out" at the HB2 rally, this got posted on Facebook:
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 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.
Taylor Batten wrote in his Charlotte Observer editorial:
Supporters of House Bill 2 have dubbed it the Bathroom Bill, as if the legislation isn’t much broader than that, as if it doesn’t take North Carolina back to the days where discrimination is an accepted way of life. The rest of us have to decide if that is OK.
It ain't okay, and there's something bad wrong with Buck Newton.

NCGOP, Bow to Your New Leader

Robin Hayes!

Robin Hayes?

The Robin Hayes who as a U.S. Congressman from the NC-8 cast the deciding "yes" vote on the Central American Free Trade Agreement in 2005. Which makes Robin Hayes about as un-Trump as you can get in the Republican Party.

Which is exactly what the Tea Partiers supporting ousted NCGOP Chair Hasan Harnett -- yes, they ousted him yesterday -- thought all along, that the establishment, country-club Republicans are not capable of sharing power with the insurgents. Evidently Dallas Woodhouse is fine with Robin Hayes, which is what matters.

Insurgent blogger Brant Clifton immediately called Robin Hayes "the big dummy" and predicted renewed civil war in NCGOP ranks. It may be a hot summer.