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Monday, October 6, 2014

Breaking: Amendment One is about to fall.

Posted By on Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Because the Supreme Court declined to review it, the Fourth Circuit ruling striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage will also become law in North Carolina. photo by Bob GearyPaula Womack and Jane Weidig were married in Massachusetts. Soon, their marriage will be recognized in North Carolina.This means Amendment One will be unconstitutional as a matter of federal law. North Carolina will be required to recognize same-sex marriages from other states and, presumably, to allow same-sex couples to be married in our state. I wrote about the Fourth Circuit decision a few weeks ago. The Supreme Court just opened its...

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Updated: 4th Circuit strikes down Va. same-sex marriage ban; Cooper drops Amendment One defense

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Breaking news 2: Attorney General Roy Cooper just finished a press conference. He said he's dropping his defense of Amendment One in the four N.C. cases brought by LGBT advocates. The 4th Circuit ruling is binding on N.C. judges, he says. So it's his obligation, if and when any of these cases moves forward — three are stayed currently, and the fourth has yet to be heard — to inform the judge as to what the law is now. And the law now, Cooper said, is that Amendment One is unconstitutional according to the binding Circuit Court decision. "Our lawyers...

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Pro-LGBT group calls on Roy Cooper to drop Amendment One defense

Posted By on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 3:03 PM

In a post yesterday, I noted that as Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring was stepping up on the issue of same-sex marriage rights, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper was shrinking from an important immigrant rights issue — thus adding to Cooper's list of disappointing legal positions, including his defense of racial gerrymandering, of voter-suppression legislation, of anti-choice legislation and of Amendment One. Cooper's defense of Amendment One, the North Carolina ban on same-sex marriages, is the opposite of what Herring's doing. Herring announced that he will not defend Virginia's statutory ban in court; he will argue instead that it...

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Today: Virginia's AG goes bold, unlike our AG Roy Cooper

Posted By on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 3:54 PM

It can't be a good day for N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, who's all but declared his candidacy for governor in 2016. On the same day that Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, also a Democrat, announced that he will not defend Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages because he's convinced it's unconstitutional — a courageous stand — Cooper's office released a disappointing and weakly reasoned advisory opinion on immigrants' rights. Attorney General Roy CooperThe opinion: Young immigrants who are legal residents of North Carolina because of their protected status under federal law are nonetheless not entitled to in-state tuition rates on...

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Career employee to DENR Sec. Skvarla: Take this job and shove it.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 2, 2013 at 6:42 PM

A friend forwarded this to me. It's the resignation of an unhappy — to put it mildly — career official in the Asheville regional office of Division of Water Quality in the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). It arrived with the official's name on the From: line. I removed the name in an abundance of caution, and because it's not "who" resigned, it's "how." An email I sent came back with an auto-reply. "I've retired," it said. This, my friends, is how you remove yourself from a right-wing administration. (If you can. If you can't, start leaking...

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Monday, August 19, 2013

NCDP on Sen. Kinnaird: A true Tar Heel hero.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 4:12 PM

State Sen. Ellie Kinnaird of Orange County, a leading progressive voice on a wide range of issues, is leaving the General Assembly after 17 years in the Senate. Her departure comes on the heels, as it were, of decisions by state Reps. Jennifer Weiss, D-Wake, and Deborah Ross, D-Wake, to leave as well — Weiss didn't seek re-election in 2012 and Ross, who was re-elected, departed to become general counsel at the Triangle Transit Authority earlier this year. Sen. Ellie KinnairdThis isn't just a changing of the guard among Democrats, it's three notable women leaders lost from the General Assembly...

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

NC Libertarians: Republican anti-voting bill "a nightmare for free elections"

Posted By on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 at 1:29 PM

I was thinking earlier today, which one of the N.C. Republican Party's moves in the General Assembly this year is the worst. The competition is stiff. But throwing obstacles in the way of voting is certainly in the running for worst, because it screws with a fundamental pillar of self-government. Which is what the Libertarian Party of N.C., not a bunch of flaming lefties surely, had to say this morning: Libertarian Party opposes HB 589 RALEIGH (July 24) - The Libertarian Party of North Carolina issued this statement by J.J. Summerell, party chair, regarding HB 589: “Just when it didn't...

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bob Hall: Senate rewrite of H-589, out today, is an anti-voting nightmare written by political bullies.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 11:38 AM

[Updated to correct the bill number in the headline. Not Senate Bill 589, but House Bill 589 as rewritten by the Senate. Sorry: RJG.] When I need to know about election laws, I turn to Bob Hall, executive director of Democracy North Carollina. He's the expert. He's also seen it all, so he doesn't exaggerate, doesn't say the sky is falling when it isn't. Hopes for better days even when it is. Today, as the Senate Republicans unveil what is perhaps the worst anti-voting bill in any state since Jim Crow and prepare to push it to enactment over the...

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Friday, July 12, 2013

[Updated x 2] Pat was there: Governor's tale has grain of truth, at least

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 1:10 PM

[Update x 2: McCrory spokeswoman confirms, Governor hasn't been at a protest, but he does walk from the Mansion to the Capitol — which is not really what he said on Wednesday. The question remains why he won't listen to the protesters or meet with their leaders? http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/07/12/3026255/mccrory-says-he-mingles-with-protesters.html] When Gov. Pat McCrory told a reporter in Wilson on Wednesday that he frequently wades into the Moral Monday crowds, perhaps he meant that he sometimes walks by — incognito — with his earbuds on. @patwasthere — hahaAnyway, after I posted on Facebook that the Governor's claim to have been a regular...

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Who's the moron? Sen. Thom Goolsby on the protests he calls "Moron Mondays"

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 3:07 PM

He's keen to start executing people again in NC, and he sneers at the concept of racial justice. In fact, sneering at black people seems like it's a specialty of state Sen. Thom Goolsby: Sen. Thom Goolsby, R-New Hanover, on "Moral Mondays." He calls them "Moron Mondays." Speaks — reeks — for itself: ncspin.com/2013/06/10/mor…— Bob Geary (@rjgeary) June 10, 2013 Click on the link within the tweet to read it all. Here's an excerpt: The circus came to the State Capitol this week, complete with clowns, a carnival barker and a sideshow. The “Reverend” Barber was decked out like a...

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Scenes from Moral Monday at the General Assembly: June 3 should be the biggest yet

Posted By on Fri, May 24, 2013 at 11:21 AM

The General Assembly isn't in session on Memorial Day — next Monday — so no "Moral Monday" protest is planned. The next one, on Monday, June 3, is shaping up as the biggest yet. A "Mega-Moral Monday," if you will. As the poisonous policies of the Republican legislature are thrown at us, people are rising up in righteous outrage, using the great tool of nonviolent civil disobedience to call these politicians to account. Do read Will Huntsberry's account of the protest four days ago. And if you wonder what this all looks like, the NAACP has an excellent videographer helping...

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

[Kicking can / Update X 2] House not ready to renege on Dix Park lease just yet

Posted By on Wed, May 22, 2013 at 4:47 PM

[Update x 2, 4 p.m. Wednesday] The House Judiciary Committee approved a substitute bill for Senate Bill 334 and sent it to the House floor. Does it renege on the state's lease with Raleigh? No and yes. It says the lease is invalid, but takes no action to dissolve it for a year. Does it allow Raleigh to proceed with planning for Dix Park? Yes and no. Raleigh is invited to negotiate with the state through April, 2014 — with all issues on the table. Rep. Justin Burr, who spoke for the bill, repeatedly suggested that rather than lease Dix...

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

[Updated] Wake County voters are 2-to-1 for Dix Park plan, strongly oppose state reneging: Public Policy Polling

Posted By on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 9:36 AM

indyweek.com [Update, 10:30 a.m. Dix Park supporters are gathering on the site this afternoon at 5. See below for more.] Wow, if there was any question about whether the Wake County Board of Commissioners — the Republican-led board of commissioners — were representing their constituents or their political party by coming out against the Dix Park plan, it's answered in the poll released today by Public Policy Polling. They're sure not representing their constituents: Republican state senators have passed a bill to invalidate the City of Raleigh’s lease for the former Dorothea Dix campus, but at least in Wake County,...

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fitzsimon: State Republicans aim to reduce voter turnout — because more voters bad for GOP

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 at 12:32 PM

The bill Chris Fitzsimon is talking about in the tweet below is House Bill 451, introduced yesterday by Rep. Edgar Starnes, a Republican from Hickory. (Democracy NC calls it the "Screw the Voter Act of 2013" — like!) As brazen as so much of what the Republicans have been doing is, this legislation is quite possibly the worst example of their partisan hackery yet. That is, unlike their Voter ID stuff, they can't even pretend that this bill has any public benefit. Its purpose is to reduce the number of Democratic voters — who've flocked to the early-voting sites and...

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Voller to Dems: March with me at HKonJ-7 in Raleigh on Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 3:57 PM

At his first press conference since being elected state Democratic Party chair, Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller called on Democrats to take a stand against the Republican-led "radical, reactionary legislature" by joining in the 7th annual HK on J march and rally Saturday in Raleigh. from WRAL.comDemocratic Chair Randy VollerThe HKonJ website has details. The march, organized by the state NAACP and many other groups, starts at Shaw University at 10:30, heading for a rally in front of the General Assembly building on West Jones St. HKonJ is short for historic thousands on Jones — and thousands do march. Voller was...

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Crack-up: Duke Energy says good-bye to a nuclear plant in Florida, leaving customers with the bill

Posted By on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Perhaps this will cause Duke Energy to reconsider building more nuclear power plants? MT: Duke Energy to retire idle Florida nuclear plant. Duke customers pay, not Duke shareholders. newsobserver.com/2013/02/05/265… via @newsobserver— Bob Geary (@rjgeary) February 5, 2013 Seems like there are cheaper, more reliable ways to generate electricity. ** The N.C. Utilities Commission holds a public hearing on this very question Feb. 11 in Raleigh....

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mansfield out of race for Dem Party Chair, leaving Voller or ???

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Former state Sen. Eric Mansfield is out of the contest for state Democratic Party chair, citing the ill health of his mom. That leaves Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller unopposed at this point — nine days before the Feb. 2 election meeting of the party's State Executive Committee To read Mansfield's statement, click on the link in the tweet embedded below. Bob Etheridge is said to be considering a run in Mansfield's place. I gather this is the party establishment, such as it is, squirming unhappily at the prospect that Voller could prevail? Voller time? “@nationhahn: I am sad that my...

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

From wars to schools to transportation: New DOT Sec. Tony Tata, renaissance man!

Posted By on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 11:43 AM

(Updated to include McCrory press release, below, with bios of Tata and three other appointments, including two with extensive Duke Energy backgrounds — like McCrory himself.) Tony Tata, ex-Army general turned ex-Wake schools superintendent, will be DOT secretary in the McCrory Administration. Puts me in mind of the "Welcome Back, Kotter" theme song. Ironic, in that bus transportation snafus led to Tata's ouster by the current Wake school board. Or, at least, they were the stated reason for ... General Tony Tata, fmr Wake Co superintendent, will serve as Secretary of the Department of Transportation #ncpol twitter.com/PatMcCroryNC/s…— Pat McCrory (@PatMcCroryNC)...

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Monday, December 31, 2012

"Justice demands": Gov. Perdue issues pardons of innocence to Wilmington Ten

Posted By on Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Photo courtesy of N.C. Governor's OfficePerdue signing 10 pardons. Good news on New Year's Eve in the Wilmington Ten case. Gov. Bev Perdue has come through with the hoped-for pardons of innocence. Her office sent us the photo. Gov. Perdue's statement follows: “I have spent a great deal of time over the past seven months reviewing the pardon of innocence requests of the persons collectively known as the Wilmington Ten. This topic evokes strong opinions from many North Carolinians as it hearkens back to a very difficult time in our state’s past, a period of racial tensions and violence that...

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Video sweepstakes parlors? State can ban 'em, N.C. high court says

Posted By on Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 12:37 PM

photo by Bob GearyThe setup in Roanoke Rapids Another tough break for the palace in Roanoke Rapids formerly known as the Randy Parton Theater. Let's see if the Republicans in Raleigh change directions now and let them stay open — w/ campaign contributions cheerfully accepted. Supreme Court upholds state ban on video sweepstakes machines - ow.ly/g6GBs #ncga #ncpol— NC Policy Watch (@NCPolicyWatch) December 14, 2012 A unanimous Supreme Court opinion, with a sharp rebuke to the plaintiffs written by Justice Robin Hudson. In a word, Ouch! Plaintiffs have attempted to “skillfully disguise[ ]” conduct with a façade of speech to...

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

NC Dems Chair Parker won't run again ... again.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

That's right. David Parker wasn't going to run again for state Democratic Party chair the last time he got himself re-elected Democratic Party chair. But that was then, and this time, he really, really means it: Friends, North Carolinians, and Fellow Democrats, I will not seek re-election as Chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party at our February 2, 2013 meeting in Durham. I have enjoyed my two years of service to our State and to the Democratic Party. There is much work to be done on the vital issues of good government, public education and job creation in North...

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Dix Park decision tomorrow: "A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save this jewel."

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 3:35 PM

photo by Bob GearyJay Spain atop Dix Hill Seven years of advocacy, and tomorrow the prize will be won if the Council of State votes to approve a lease giving the city of Raleigh constructive control of the 306-acre Dorothea Dix Hospital tract. The advocates, members of the allied groups called Friends of Dorothea Dix Park, Dix306 and the Dix Visionaries, are cautiously or incautiously optimistic about the vote. The dream of a great destination park up on Dix Hill, overlooking downtown Raleigh from the south, is within reach. There's opposition to it on the political right from Americans for...

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AG Roy Cooper punts to Duke Energy in the NC Utility Bowl.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 1:03 PM

As expected, the N.C. Utilities Commission today ended its "investigation" of Duke Energy's tactics in the merger with Progress Energy, approving a settlement which IMHO falls short of even slapping Duke E. on the wrist. On the pinkie finger, maybe. Joining in the NCUC's unanimous "OK, whatever ... " decision, state Attorney General Roy Cooper — through his consumer protection chief, Kevin Anderson — announced that he, too, is finished investigating and isn't going to do anything either. Rather, as Cooper's separate settlement with Duke states, the AG wants to "move forward in a positive manner" as he recites what...

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

N.C. Utilities Commission to Duke Energy: We give up

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Is there any other way to read this than that the N.C. Utilities Commission, having huffed and puffed at Duke Energy's sleight-of-hand in the "merger" with Progress Energy, is now issuing a collective, "Never mind"? The alternatives included revoking its merger approval, a whopping fine, ousting Jim Rogers and installing a new CEO (or, if Duke balked, revoking the merger) ... am I missing any? Instead, we have a trivial levy, Rogers stays on for another year, the Duke Energy board remains in control, but it is required to "receive comments" from time to time from the Commission. I thought...

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Friday, November 2, 2012

(Updated: Now, it's on Sunday, details still TBD) Bill Clinton coming to Raleigh: N.C. in play

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 3:59 PM

So yesterday we learned that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney has N.C. on their travel schedules for the rest of the campaign. Then we learned Michelle Obama will be in Charlotte Monday. And now we know that Bill Clinton is due in Raleigh on Saturday morning Sunday. [Update: The campaign has moved it back a day.] Where in Raleigh? Don't know. When? Early, I think — but don't know. I'm sure the campaign is scrambling to find a suitable venue — and have it help with Early Voting turnout, not get in the way. N.C. State, maybe? More when...

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