North Carolina Republicans lost the Supreme Court, but are they plotting to steal it back?

The headline above is the Daily Kos version of a widely reported story late in the week.

When Republicans don’t win, they change the rules of the game to suit their needs. It’s become the GOP way nationwide, and that could play out in North Carolina. One of the bright spots that emerged for Tar Heel Democrats on Tuesday was the election of a progressive judge over a conservative one, giving the court a 4-3 Democratic majority as of next year. Unless GOP lawmakers find a way to add seats to the court, reports Mitch Kokai.

“State lawmakers could vote to expand North Carolina’s Supreme Court by up to two additional members, according to the N.C. Constitution. There’s been speculation about such a move in the wake of challenger Mike Morgan’s victory over incumbent Bob Edmunds in this week’s state Supreme Court election. […]

Observers have asked whether the N.C. General Assembly could expand the number of justices to blunt the election’s impact. The answer is yes.”

The court currently has one chief justice and six associate justices, but the state constitution says, “the General Assembly may increase the number of Associate Justices to not more than eight.” Adding more than two associate judges would require a constitutional amendment.

But time is of the essence there if Democrat Roy Cooper ultimately succeeds in defeating Gov. Pat McCrory. Governors are responsible for appointing new justices. If Cooper prevails, he’ll take office on Jan. 11, 2017.

The newspaper dropped on my driveway each day is the News and Record. Its version is this:

State GOP leaders could neutralize Democrats’ Supreme Court majority by adding justices

Within that article are comments from Bob Hall, executive director of some commie outfit known as Democracy NC (we know when they call it “Democracy NC” what THAT means!). Bob says “he has not heard specifically of a legislative effort to add justices to the Supreme Court.

If it is true, Hall said, then

“it’s completely hypocritical and astonishing that a group of elected leaders who say that the will of the people matters would try to circumvent the will of the people in this Supreme Court race.”

Hall said the same voters chose to elect Republican Donald Trump as president, re-elect Republicans U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and N.C. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and, apparently, deny McCrory a second term.

“That shows a will of the people to have both parties with a role in control of the political process in North Carolina,” Hall said.

“Therefore, it would be expressively outrageous and an abuse of power to permit the additions to the Supreme Court because it would allow the legislature to conduct an outright takeover of another branch of government.

Bob is being kind and charitable and diplomatic in his language, as strong and unmistakably true as it is.  When you lose, you lose.  You don’t work the refs, you don’t get to change the rules, you don’t get to put extra time on the clock. Cleveland Indians Lost The World Series, But Are They Plotting To Steal It By Adding 2 More Games?  

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The disgusting chutzpah, the towering arrogance, the unmitigated, transparent attempt by North Carolina Republicans to control each and every aspect of state government in ways like adding more justices is no different than a military coup, just without the guns. But it fits perfectly with what we saw last week in the presidential election.  A guy who nakedly ran on all kinds of caudillo, strongman, dictator precepts… the wall, the ethnic slurring and scapegoating for all problems, America First, the threats to jail the opponent, militarism, drain the swamp (but scrape bottom of swamp and dredge up Gingrich and Giuliani)… who could be surprised that the Triple-A teams at the state level wouldn’t be inspired to justify their anti-democratic means to their one-party, autocratic ends, even more boldly and brazenly than ever?

By 1937, Franklin Roosevelt was having many of his New Deal initiatives struck down by a conservative-leaning Supreme Court.  So he came up with the BS idea that the court should add one extra justice for every one that was over 70.  This was under the guise of charity to the elderly, since those old judges obviously couldn’t keep up with the workload.  Known now as “court packing,” FDR was blasted by nearly everyone for his transparent plan to add more justices friendlier to him.  He lost a lot of credibility for that scheme, paid the price and New Deal legislation was finished as the idea went away.  More here. By a different name, North Carolina Republicans may try the same thing.  This really needs attention to be paid and stopped.  But the track record for checking the national and state Republican power grab recently is dismal.  Ironically, it is often the courts that have been a last backstop, on voting rights, minority rights, abortion rights… the whole menu.  Changing the refs ends all hope.  Sadly, it must be said, that if even a small percentage of those who are pissed off enough at Trump being elected who are marching nightly had expressed that anger by voting, we’d be in quite a different place today.

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Hillary Clinton and Renee Ellmers: A Tale of Two Women

Instant Karma’s gonna get you
Gonna look you right in the face
Better get yourself together darlin’
Join the human race

–John Winston Ono Lennon

History will look back on the night of June 7, 2016 (and the early hours of June 8, 2016) as a remarkable period of time in American history, particularly as it relates to women. Hillary Clinton’s victories in Tuesday’s primaries put her in line to become the first female nominee of a major political party in our country’s history. That’s the headline

But, there were other stories of female candidates that were playing out the same day that Secretary Clinton recorded her historic triumphs. In tiny Dunn, NC, a congresswoman headed to the polls to cast her vote in the Republican primary

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) on Tuesday commented on a woman’s weight during an exchange caught on video.

“You’re eating a little too much pork barbeque,” Ellmers said in Dunn, N.C., according to CBS’s local affiliate. “Whoo!”

CBS’s local affiliate identified the woman asMaggie Sandrock, former chairwoman of the Harnett County Republican Party who once supported Ellmers but is backing her opponent this cycle. Shortly after the video clip went viral, Ellmers lost her primary.

“Typical Renee,” Sandrock said when asked about Ellmers’s remarks. “She has become a mean girl on steroids, in my view.”

While Hillary Clinton was trying to show women everywhere that the days of keeping women down were over, Rep. Ellmers decided to give aid-and-comfort to misogynists everywhere by reinforcing the stereotype that women are catty to each other on the most petty levels possible. One can almost imagine a scenario, not unlike the first Terminatorwhere Ms. Ellmers cycled through a few options that scrolled in front of her eyes before playing the “fat card”. She completely skipped over “you smell” and “nobody likes you”

At this point, it’s important to realize who Renee Ellmers is and how she got to be the representative from North Carolina’s 2nd district. Six years ago, the man who previously represented NC-2, Bob Etheridge (D) had a You Tube moment

And that was pretty much it. Ellmers was swept into office in the “Tea Party” midterms of 2010. She appropriately showed contempt for Obama, Obamacare, and Bo Obama. That was enough to turn out the voters who hated Obama and sent Ms. Ellmers to Washington. She’d never held elected office before. Heck, she wasn’t even born in North Carolina. Didn’t matter. All that mattered is that she had that sweet “R” by her name and she was going to give Barack Obama hell

When she got to DC, she rose to prominence…at least visually

Boehner and Ellmers 1Boehner and Ellmers 2

GOP leadership loved to put her right next to Speaker Boehner at press events. Message: Hey, we’re not just a bunch of white guys. We’ve got ONE WOMAN. Whoa! In that one picture, we’ve got TWO! Suck on that, Gloria Steinem

But, as often happens with the anti-establishment types, Renee was seen as a sellout in her home district. I mean, she failed to impeach Barack Hussein Benghazi Jihad Solyndra Death Panel Obama, so what good was she, anyway? There were missteps along the way, such as the “I need my paycheck” stinker during the 2013 government shutdown. Also, there were those nasty rumors about a sordid affair. While nothing was ever proven, Ms. Ellmers, presumably, struck a bow for women everywhere as she held on to her job, while the man in question resigned and headed back home to California. Suck on that, Susan B. Anthony

Which brings us back to Tuesday: Rep. Ellmers had become so unpopular to the folks back home that she was being primaried. Now, kids, that means people in her own party were trying to take her down

And they did

Despite last-ditch efforts, Rep. Ellmers lost her primary

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump made a late endorsement for Ellmers over the weekend and recorded a robocall to try to save her, but it was too late to make much difference. Instead, Ellmers placed a distant second behind Rep. George Holding and only narrowly edged ahead of a third challenger, physician Greg Brannon

My God! Built up by one orange man (Boehner) and torn down by another (Trump). If Donald can’t save you…

Certainly, there were a lot of factors here, including a redrawing of Ellmers’s district, which left her in a tough spot. But, I’d like to think the karma gods took a moment to reflect and said “Let’s take out that woman who called the other woman fat”. Simple, decisive action from the people who balance the universe. And Renee was gone

However, I’m sure that Ms. Ellmers has made many important contacts in the last six years in our nation’s capitol. And I hope these contacts bear fruit as Ms. Ellmers transitions into the next phase of her life. I don’t know if there’s a fat shaming think tank, but, if there is, my bet is they’re on the phone right now to Renee. Or perhaps she could be Fox News official “Hillary’s cankles” correspondent

After all, Renee: Some women were meant to lead a great nation. And some were meant to take cheap shots in a parking lot in Dunn as they exit public life

 

 

Kenneth Starr, Jesse Helms, and Bill Clinton

As Donald Trump continues his I Love the 90s tour, it’s instructive to look back and remember some of the details relating to the impeachment of our 42nd president

Kenneth Starr was a pivotal character in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. He had been appointed as a special investigator to look into Whitewater. For those of you not old enough to remember, Whitewater was the Benghazi of it’s time: Conservatives relentlessly pursued it, knowing that it would end the Clintons. In the end, nothing was there. There’s a reason that Donald Trump doesn’t add this to the litany of Hillary’s sins. Even he knows the witch hunt was bollocks

It seems impossible to believe, but the expansion of the Whitewater investigation lead us down the primrose path to the discovery of Monica Lewinsky and her affair with President Clinton. Conservatives were so enraged at Bill Clinton and his “far left” policies that they went to great lengths to try to destroy him, politically. One of the political figures most intent on destroying Clinton was North Carolina’s senior senator, Jesse Helms

Helms served thirty years in the United States Senate and delighted his supporters by mocking Ted Kennedy and, generally, opposing anything that didn’t help Big Tobacco. Helms said no quite frequently and he said it loudly. This earned him the title of “Senator No”, which he wore proudly

By the time the 90s dawned, Mr. Helms needed some new material. His homophobia still scored points for the fans, but he needed a little something that let him pivot and refresh his act. Enter Slick Willie

Bill Clinton stood in stark contrast to Jesse Helms. He was handsome, well-spoken, Ivy educated…hell, Bill Clinton had even been to Europe…AND LOVED IT! Jesse Helms made it his life’s work to hound Bill and Hillary Clinton, with some help from his buddy Lauch Faircloth

In one particular episode, Mr. Helms said that if Mr. Clinton was so popular on military bases in North Carolina that “he’d better have a bodyguard” if the president visited. Mr. Helms quickly called the comment “a mistake”, but his fans loved it

And, so it was, that when it came time to appoint a special investigator to Whitewater, Mr. Helms made sure his lawyer buddy from the Big Tobacco wars was put in charge: Mr. Starr

Mr. Starr has been in the news a bit recently. First, he made some surprising comments about the man who was impeached, in great part, thanks to his efforts

His genuine empathy for human beings is absolutely clear. It is powerful, it is palpable. The folks of Arkansas really understood that

 

Umm…thanks? I can only imagine the mix of emotion that must have entered Bill Clinton’s mind when he read that

Also, Kenneth Starr may or not still be president of Baylor University

So, you see, when you see Donald Trump revisiting Monica Lewinsky and the impeachment of Bill Clinton, it’s another great gift from the wellspring that is/was Jesse Helms. His legacy lives long and now his words are coming out of the mouth of a tangerine billionaire

On behalf of the citizens of North Carolina, you’re welcome

Some Good News About North Carolina’s HB2

On Wednesday’s Brad & Britt Podcast, we discussed a story about Braeburn Pharma deciding against cancelling an expansion in the state. From the article:

In the company’s statement, Sheldon said that she elected to keep the company in North Carolina after meeting with Attorney General Roy Cooper, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate who urged Braeburn to stay in the state and fight discrimination.

“The Attorney General argued that Braeburn could help more by advocating from within North Carolina than by protesting through departure,” the statement said

This indicates good news for North Carolinians who have been fighting HB2 for two months. Business leaders may get the message that they can talk to someone other than the governor for reassurance. This could mean that some business leaders don’t have confidence that McCrory will be North Carolina’s governor next year (Cooper is mounting a stiff challenge and is the Democratic nominee for North Carolina’s top office)

The state had previously enjoyed a progressive, pro-business reputation going back decades to leadership provided by governors like Terry Sanford and Jim Hunt. It is difficult to gauge the exact economic impact from HB2, but multiple stories have told stories of companies cancelling plans to come to North Carolina and organizations cancelling plans to hold gatherings in the state

In the next six months, Cooper and McCrory will mount a vigorous campaign for the office. Cooper will be able to tout the fact that Braeburn was given comfort by him at a time when the chips were down. This could be very helpful in reaching out to traditionally Republican voters and independent voters, who may not be engaged on LGBT issues, but are concerned about the negative economic impact of HB2. This will be key to Cooper’s campaign if he is to get beyond the Liberal vs. Conservative paradigm

This could amount to a “lack of confidence” vote from the business community for McCrory, which could mean bad news for the governor in November

Our States as LAVAatories of Democracy–Exhibit A: North Carolina

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When Justice Louis Brandeis first spoke of the states as “laboratories of democracy,”  in a famous dissent in The New State Ice Company v. Liebmann decision, he could have never envisioned in 1932 that 84 years later that a bastardization of his concept would be at the center of this most unexpected legal and political smackdown: Whether or not the totally unenforcible, unnecessary, purely ideological and blatantly discriminatory North Carolina state law (HB2) should stand.  Remember, this is about a wide-ranging law that was rammed though at midnight with no discussion or dissent allowed, signed by the governor just hours later. It bigfooted a Charlotte law that had specifically guaranteed transgendered folks the right not to be discriminated against as they choose to use facilities that correspond to the sex of their choice.  That was the least of it.  This letter, from savvy attorney Joseph Stavola, appeared in the News and Record of Greensboro 5/9:

HB 2 supporters, you’ve been played. The legislative majority’s real agenda had nothing to do with an imaginary bathroom problem. It was to quietly further their vision of how to make North Carolina “business friendly”: freeze the minimum wage and free employers under state law to fire employees because of race, religion, age, etc., or to tell customers who are different to leave the premises for that reason alone.

I want to see a letter to the News & Record from any of you justifying why the citizens of North Carolina deserved the repeal of state legal remedies for workplace discrimination. That is what was really inside this Trojan Horse law, and its sponsors knew you’d all be distracted by a debate about what might be going on in the stalls of women’s rooms. The legislative majority could have written and passed a bill that was confined to the bathroom issue alone, but it didn’t. Have you asked yourselves why? So let’s hear from you; tell us that you support HB 2 in its entirety and applaud (NC Senate Leader) Berger (R) and Governor Pat McCrory (R) for diminishing the rights of you, me and every single citizen of North Carolina.

McCrory, caught between rockheads and a hard political place, upped the stakes Monday and guaranteed one of his standard talking points would come to pass.  “This is no longer just a North Carolina issue,” he said Sunday on Fox. “This is a basic change of norms that we’ve used for decades throughout the United States of America and the Obama administration is now trying to change that norm — again not just in North Carolina, but they’re ordering this to every company in the United States of America — starting tomorrow I assume, or Tuesday.”
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Maybe they thought six weeks ago that with the probability of Trump at the top of the ballot, this issue would blow up into a wonderful, base-building diversion that would excite the knuckle-dragging base to turn out in record numbers.  It’s backfired big time, with every Republican running for office, from Senator Richard Burr to McCrory himself to candidates further down the ballot buying extra campaign underwear as they lose support in every poll you can find. Nationalizing the subject makes it worse. Late in April, Public Policy Polling took a run at it.  I doubt Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.30.52 PMthings have gotten more favorable in the last two weeks.  But as Elton John sang, Sorry Seems to Be The Hardest Word.

HB 2 Deeply Unpopular in North Carolina; Voters Think It’s Hurting State. PPP’s new North Carolina poll finds minimal support from voters in the state for HB 2, and that voters think its passage has hurt the state in several ways. Just 36% of voters in the state support HB2, to 45% who are opposed. Independent voters are against it 33/46, and Democrats (20/63) are more unified in their opposition to the bill than Republicans (56/24) are in their support. Voters think the bill is having a bad effect on both the state’s economy and its overall reputation. 54% think it’s had a negative impact on North Carolina’s economy, to only 11% who think it’s having a positive impact.

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, in a spectacularly strong response to Pat McCrory doubling down and splitting his cards by going on pugnacious, classic George Wallace/Orville Faubus/Lester Maddox-Southern Governor-style offense and suing the Feds, said this:

Let me speak now to the people of the great state, the beautiful state, my state of North Carolina.  You’ve been told that this law protects vulnerable populations from harm – but that just is not the case.  Instead, what this law does is inflict further indignity on a population that has already suffered far more than its fair Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.33.49 PMshare.  This law provides no benefit to society – all it does is harm innocent Americans… It was not so very long ago that states, including North Carolina, had other signs above restrooms, water fountains, and on public accommodations, keeping people out based on a distinction without a difference. We’ve moved beyond those dark days.

The News and Observer of Raleigh explains the federal government’s view: The Justice Department says HB2 violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which governs employment, Title IX dealing with education and the Violence Against Women Act, which was reauthorized in 2013 to include gender identity as a protected class. McCrory’s lawsuit only addresses the Title VII employment protections, and concerns whether all state employees have the same right of access to restrooms.

The Republican majority in North Carolina has painted itself so far into it’s own too-clever-by-half corner that they are willing to risk billions of dollars in federal aid to public safety and the University of North Carolina system.  Of course, since these guys hate public education, in general, maybe this was part of their brilliant plan all along.

NC’s General Assembly: The Week Ahead

Amid much strife and controversy over North Carolina’s so-called “Bathroom Bill”, our General Assembly will be back in session doing The Work of the People™ this week. Let’s look in our crystal ball and see what we can expect from this group of exceptional public servants

MONDAY, APRIL 25: President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate Phil Berger, Sr. (R-Tidy Bowl) introduces a bill setting aside $12.9 million for construction of a giant banner that says “F–k You Obama!” that will stretch from Hickory to Wilson and will be visible from space. When a reporter challenges Berger and calls the act “nakedly political”, Berger responds that tourists will come from miles around to see the banner and their revenue will replace revenue from the “dirty hippies who come to wallow in the filth of The People’s Republic of Asheville”

Meanwhile, Governor McCrory is said to be sitting in a quiet room, weeping softly as he watches “Sleepless in Seattle” and eats Ben and Jerry’s Blue Bell Ice Cream™. After some investigation, it turns out the ice cream was a gift from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who sent it to McCrory after some companies thinking about relocating to North Carolina did and about face and went to Texas, instead

TUESDAY, APRIL 26: In a fit of pique, House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Saniflush) nearly beats a page to death after someone puts a “Pecker Checker” badge in Moore’s bathroom. Declaring “If someone doesn’t take the blame for this, I will end this boy’s life”, Moore holds up the page’s nearly lifeless body as his phone rings. Someone has programmed “Born in the USA” as Moore’s ring tone, which sets him into an entirely new fit of absolute rage. Before State Troopers can separate him from the page, Mr. Moore can be heard shouting “KING KONG AIN’T GOT S–T ON ME!”. Troopers then tase him and he loses consciousness

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27: House and Senate Republicans propose a law outlawing any radio station in North Carolina from playing the music of the rock group Pearl Jam. A reporter suggests that Republicans are simply proposing the ban because Pearl Jam cancelled an April 20th show in Raleigh, citing their opposition to HB2. Speaker Moore calls the band’s fans “socialist wieners” and states that “their 90s nostalgia is really getting in the way of our 80s nostalgia”

Meanwhile, Governor McCrory is feeling well enough to get lunch at a Subway™ on Fayetteville Street. When someone pulls out an iPhone to record him, the governor shrieks, declares the device to be “a tool of the devil” and sprints down the streets of Raleigh back to the Governor’s Mansion

THURSDAY, APRIL 28: After Attorney General Roy Cooper condemns a Republican proposal to ban Bruce Springsteen “or any non Duke-related New Jerseyite” from traveling to North Carolina, Berger and Moore attempt to extract Cooper from his office physically. Cooper is able to keep the duo at bay by flashing a picture of Caitlyn Jenner to the men via his phone. This has the effect of garlic to vampires and the men run from Cooper’s office, hissing and gasping for air

Meanwhile, House and Senate Republicans introduce bills banning “German porn”, and allocating $6 million for a study of the 1992 film “The Crying Game”

FRIDAY, APRIL 29: Governor McCrory is remanded for psychological evaluation after being pulled over doing 100 mph in Petersburg, VA. Authorities believe he was traveling to the DC area to do harm to Meet the Press host Chuck Todd. McCrory’s wife tipped off the authorities after discovering e-mails detailing the governor’s failed attempts to hire a hit man through Craig’s List. Ironically, even killers-for-hire were morally opposed to doing business with McCrory

At arraignment, a judge politely refuses the governor’s request for a “private commode”

NC Republicans Urinate On Their State. Ain’t Things Great?


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Determined to walk off the Cliff of Intransigent History, we end another week with the pressure continuing to build against HB2 (The Infamous North Carolina “bathroom bill”) and its supporters.

NBA Goes to the Line- Commissioner Adam Silver had been hedging until Thursday, having said no decision could POSSIBLY be made about the 2017 All Star Game scheduled for Charlotte because playoff games are being held in Charlotte right now (did somebody say those home games must be moved?) and the league has a team there (no kidding, Adam!…did someone say Michael Jordan should be forced to immediately move the team to Toledo?)… a totally fake slippery slope argument that no one was making. The All-Star Game (only) has been the topic, as a singular, big event. Directly comparable to the NFL yanking a Super Bowl from Arizona in 1990 over the Martin Luther King holiday.  Silver unfudged the fudge Thursday, saying “the NBA has been clear that if the status quo in North Carolina remains in place the All-Star Game would have to be moved.”  The league, of course, hadn’t been so clear until that more definitive statement, but it’s never too late to do the right thing.

Incalculable, Self-Inflicted Reputational/Economic Damage In Billions-  It’s one thing to buy a stock, watch it tank, realize it’s never coming back, finally selling it and taking the loss.  You made a bad decision, you digest it…. you move on. It’s Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 10.53.23 AManother thing to buy a stock, watch it tank, realize it’s never coming back, refusing to sell it, never acknowledging your bad judgement… riding the stock down all the way into the toilet out of pique, spite, and arrogance. So far, that’s what appears to be happening with the adherents of HB2.  The more the concert cancellations pile up, the more that companies, both large and small, express their hesitance to expand or relocate to North Carolina, the more overall permanent damage that is done to North Carolina’s former reputation as the “smart, progressive” member of the Old Confederacy with the great Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 11.22.11 AMuniversity system (also being destroyed in a separate crime)…. the more damage done, the stubborner they get. At a news conference on the upcoming legislative session, NC Senate leader Phil Berger referred to the law as “our commonsense bathroom safety bill” for its measures governing transgender bathroom access in many public buildings.

Berger digs in, says HB2 fixes not needed

WWE Announces HB2 Trump vs Cruz Restroom Stall Match!  Not really, but these two heading to opposite sides of the ring on this is the perfect campaign metaphor for the unforeseeable, unintended consequences of the law’s Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 11.33.46 AMpolitical effects anywhere and everywhere politicians are asked about it. On the Today Show Thursday, Donald Trump smartly went full Libertarian/hands off/status quo in opposing HB2: “There have been very few problems, leave it the way it is,” he said. “North Carolina, what they’re going through with all of the business that’s leaving and all of the strife, and that’s on both sides, you leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate. There has been so little trouble.”…  When asked about which bathroom Caitlyn Jenner would use in the Trump Towers, he said she could use whichever bathroom she chooses. He was also asked if he had any transgender people working for him, he said he did not know.

Ted Cruz saw an opening:  “Donald Trump is no different from politically correct leftist elites. Today, he joined them in calling for grown men to be allowed to use little girls’ public restrooms,” Cruz said. “As the dad of young daughters, I dread what this will mean for our daughters — and for our sisters and our wives. It is a reckless policy that will endanger our loved ones.” Cruz said the famously outspoken real-estate magnate succumbed to “political correctness.  This is not real tolerance. The Left wants to force its belief system onto Americans across the country and silence people of faith in the public square,” Cruz said. “Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump is all too eager to join them.” Ohio Gov. John Kasich has also said he would not sign or support a law similar to North Carolina’s.

The irony of the most potty-mouthed person to ever run for president sounding reasonable and inclusive, using this issue to cut through to Democrats and liberals should be lost on no one.  Right now we’re all on this crazy tour leading to who knows where….

 

http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/extreme-bathrooms/video/trump-tower-s-5-star-bathroom

 

Pat McCory’s Poll Numbers: Worse Than You Think

Many people are talking about the new Elon University poll, showing Governor McCrory trailing trailing Attorney General Roy Cooper 48-42 (with a 4% margin of error) ahead of their November showdown. Matthew Winkler of Bloomberg is scratching his head because Pat’s commitment to HB2 has hindered his ability to tell the “Carolina Comeback” story. SLOW DOWN, MATTHEW! Even before McCrory signed the “Bathroom Bill” into law, he was a fairly unpopular governor, who faced stiff competition from a seasoned, organized foe. With Donald Trump on top of the ticket, the uphill climb would probably be too great. With Ted Cruz, still tough, but doable

When you go back in history and examine North Carolina’s gubernatorial races, you see that the bad news is even more profound for McCrory. Since 1980, incumbent governors have run for re-election four times (winning all four contests) and they averaged 57.25% of the statewide vote. Even if we take away Jim Hunt’s gaudy numbers (62% in 1980 and 56% in 1996), we get to a level of support that’s 55.5%. Even if we give McCrory all four points in the margin of error, that only gets him to 46%, which is a little less than Richard Vinroot did in 2000 against Mike Easley, but a little better than Patrick Ballantine did against Easley four years later (Jim Martin’s 55% is the worst performance by an incumbent since 1980)

But, what is the absolute floor for Pat McCrory in November? It’s a safe bet that he’ll outperform Beverly Lake’s 37% in 1980.If we throw that one out, the second-place finisher in North Carolina has done no better than 43% (which was what McCrory’s challenger Walter Dalton earned in 2012). But, remember, those were all non incumbents, who faced major obstacles in terms of basic resources like name recognition. Jim Gardner in 1992 and Robin Hayes in 1996 both were fairly well-known to followers of state politics, but they didn’t have the name recognition of Jim Hunt. That’s probably why each garnered only 43% of the vote

The Cooper campaign must be ecstatic. Cooper has floated around Raleigh for a while, but he doesn’t have the name recognition of Pat McCrory, who was fairly well-known as Mayor of Charlotte before mounting a losing then a winning campaign for governor

Curiously, North Carolina’s gubernatorial races haven’t been terribly close in the past 36 years, with the exception of McCory’s losing effort, a 50-47 affair in 2008

Of course, there’s a lot of ground to cover until November and many factors simply can’s be accounted for. North Carolina’s Voter ID law will be in effect for the first time in a general election. These laws have traditionally knocked a couple of points off of Democratic totals. We also don’t know who will be on top of the Republican ticket come November. Political experts say that a Trump nomination could depress GOP turnout. A Cruz nomination would only be a little more helpful to McCrory. And, of course, any number of catastrophic events could change the election. But, still, Cooper’s got to be happy about his standing six months ’til judgment day

It remains to be seen if a repeal of HB2 would help McCrory much. At this point, the damage may already be done. But, before we get too cocky about Roy Cooper’s chances, remember a North Carolina incumbent governor hasn’t been defeated since 1892…which is a tad misleading because the position was a one (term) and done proposition until the state constitution was amended, allowing Hunt to run for a second term in ’80

Beating an incumbent is never an easy task and the Cooper campaign would probably be happy with a neck-and-neck performance, at this point. As it is, they’re ahead of the game. But, we’ve got a lot of game left to be played

A Thousand Words

 

Photo credit: Mark Binker, WRAL.com (twitter.com/binker)
Photo credit: Mark Binker, WRAL.com (twitter.com/binker)

What you see above is a man who finally understands that his empire is crumbling. We’ve been given few glimpses in history to the exact moment that someone realizes it’s over. Governor Pat McCrory finally realized he had followed a path of doom around 1:30 pm on April 19th, 2016. That’s when he was informed that the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against barring Gavin Grimm, who was born a woman, but identifies as a man, from using the men’s restroom. Legal experts say that the ruling puts North Carolina’s controversial HB2 out of commission

Maxine Eichner, a University of North Carolina law professor who is an expert on sexual orientation and the law, said the ruling — the first of its kind by a federal appeals court — means the provision of North Carolina’s law pertaining to restroom use by transgender students in schools that receive federal funds also is invalid

“The effects of this decision on North Carolina are clear,” she said, adding that a judge in that state will have no choice but to apply the appeals court’s ruling

Already, some are comparing the McCrory pic to this

Andy Card tells President Bush America has been attacked
Andy Card tells President Bush America has been attacked

Shortly after 9:00 am on September 11th, 2001, President George W. Bush was told by Chief-of-Staff Andrew Card that planes has crashed into the World Trade Center. That wasn’t the photo that struck me when I saw McCory’s moment. This one was

Y.A. Tittle

That is Hall of Fame quarterback Y.A. Tittle, photographed on September 20, 1964 as a member of the New York Giants, after being hit by John Baker of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the old Pitt Stadium. Tittle suffered a concussion and a cracked sternum on the play. He would play the rest of the season, but the once-mighty Giants finished with worst record in the league. In 1963, he threw 36 TD passes (a record that stood until Dan Marino broke it in 1984) and earned MVP honors. The next year, he was done

The photo became one of the most celebrated sports photographs of the entire 20th century. It captured a celebrated athlete at a moment of vulnerability, at a time when sports media portrayed football players as masked gladiators, conquering any obstacle they pleased. Humanity wasn’t part of the equation in 1964. Tittle would be tagged as “weak” and “helpless” for many year thanks to his moment captured in time

Ironically, the photo was beneficial to Baker, who used it when he ran for Sheriff of Wake County, NC (where he was born and raised) in 1978. He won and served for 25 years. Wake County is where Pat McCrory lives…for a little while longer

It was only yesterday that the fresh-faced former Mayor Pat took the oath-of-office and became the monstrous Governor Pat. Currently, North Carolina is a national punchline and McCrory shoulders a large portion of the blame. He continues to squawk that his solutions are “common sense”. He goes on television with a smile that’s so forced that it’s surely been applied with a sandblaster. Mr. Binker’s picture is a true glimpse inside McCrory’s soul. The consultants are far away and he’s trapped with his own thoughts. The neurons fire rapidly and he searches for the moment it all went wrong

Back to our friend, Mr. Tittle: He finally learned to embrace that awful photo. In 2009, he put it on the back cover of his autobiography. He told the Los Angeles Times

That was the end of my road. It was the end of my dream. It was over

Pat McCrory has just awoken from his dream. Let’s hope North Carolina is about to awake from it’s nightmare

 

Thank You Pearl Jam

At about 11:15 pm on August 6, 2000, I fell in love

It happened at the Greensboro Coliseum on the occasion of my 30th birthday. Pearl Jam was playing and Eddie spotted a kid close to the stage. He said something like this

I’ve been looking at this kid up front and he’s recording the show. And I don’t have a problem with that. I really don’t. It’s just that we’re about to play a romantic one and I wanted you to be able to dance with your girl. I just wanted to put your tape recorder up here on stage, so you can get a better sound

He then put the kid’s tape recorder by the onstage monitors and the band launched into their cover of “Last Kiss”. At that moment, I knew I would love that band for the rest of my life

Saturday night, before the show in Greenville, SC, my buddy Scott, who I went to high school with, asked me if he thought they would cancel Wednesday’s show in Raleigh. I told him that I was pretty confident if they were going to cancel, they would have already sone it

I hadn’t factored in a disastrous performance by Pat McCrory (R-Hamlet NC) on Sunday’s “Meet The Press”

Pretty sure that Pat’s appearance sealed the deal and rendered this Screenshot_2016-04-18-18-25-48-1

useless as PJ cancelled Raleigh on Monday

Their official statement:

It is with deep consideration and much regret that we must cancel the Raleigh show in North Carolina on April 20th.

This will be upsetting to those who have tickets and you can be assured that we are equally frustrated by the situation.

The HB2 law that was recently passed is a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens. The practical implications are expansive and its negative impact upon basic human rights is profound. We want America to be a place where no one can be turned away from a business because of who they love or fired from their job for who they are.

It is for this reason that we must take a stand against prejudice, along with other artists and businesses, and join those in North Carolina who are working to oppose HB2 and repair what is currently unacceptable.

We have communicated with local groups and will be providing them with funds to help facilitate progress on this issue.

In the meantime we will be watching with hope and waiting in line for a time when we can return.

Perhaps even celebrate.

With immense gratitude for your understanding,

Pearl Jam

 

I don’t know if I’ve been prouder of this band

Make no mistake, I wish they would have made this decision last week or the week before, but what they said here is huge and makes a massive statement. Springsteen has always been a hero to Eddie, so it’s no surprise that he followed the lead of The Boss

I am ashamed of the leadership of my state. They have turned this place I loved into a place I barely recognize. North Carolinians were never people who were fearful or suspicious of each other. We never went out of our way to make people who were different feel strange. We accepted people who weren’t the same with open arms. It’s all changed now. My family has North Carolina roots going back a century and a half. If not seeing Pearl Jam once is enough to wake people up and give me my state back, I’m all for it

This really sucks for the fans because Pearl Jam hasn’t played Raleigh in 13 years. In fact, since a John Kerry fundraiser in Asheville in ’04, the band has only performed one North Carolina show (Charlotte, ’13)

As I watched a tremendous show in Greenville on Saturday, I became emotional thinking about what awaited me Wednesday. I felt that Eddie had made his decision and he would surely roll out an old chestnut from the Bush days. At that point, PJ was quite adamant about their opposition to the Iraq War and they started playing the old protest song “Here’s to the State of Mississippi” by Phil Ochs at their shows

It is a sad, mournful, despairing tune that pleads for those who have done damage to our country to get out. PJ’s version changed the lyrics to reflect Bush, Cheney, etc.

I closed my eyes Saturday and imagined how Eddie might lay into North Carolina by changing the lyrics on Wednesday and I got pretty emotional just thinking about it. Mississippi was shorthand to a generation of Americans for everything that was wrong about this great country. To think that North Carolina has become the modern-day Mississippi for LGBT folks, hurts me deeply. We can tell these people that we don’t support HB2 all we want, but it’s still a law and it’s still a North Carolina law

There’s a part of me that hoped Eddie would sing these hard truths to us on Wednesday, but I’m not certain I would have been able to bear it

God has richly blessed me in my life in so many ways. God has seen fit that I should attend 11 Pearl Jam shows, each unique memories I will carry for me to the grave. I hope the Lord makes it so that I can see my favorite band a 12th time one day. But, my greater hope is that He lets me see the day when I get my state back