NCDP Clips August 1, 2013

AG Roy Cooper urges McCrory to veto voter ID bill, educators fret over future, Rural NC’s tough unemployment numbers, U.S. House Republicans crumble on budget, Harry Reid requests budget conference for 17th time, How #NCGA extremism may affect #NCSEN race, dead-heat in Kentucky Senate race, State Department blasts Assad’s instagram account and Republicans budget war on the poor

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Facing South: Southern elected officials take stands against voter ID
In North Carolina, Attorney General Roy Cooper (D) has objected to the restrictive photo voter ID bill that now sits before Gov. Pat McCrory (R), who has said he would sign it. Cooper sent a letter to McCrory asking him to veto the bill to "prevent the confusion and cost of a legal battle." Cooper has not only been critical of the pending voter ID law but also penned an amicus brief for the Shelby v. Holder U.S. Supreme Court case on the Voting Rights Act, arguing in support of keeping the Section Five federal preclearance provision for voting changes fully intact.

University Herald: North Carolina Legislation Makes Voting Harder for College Students
"It’s clearly targeting student voters," Diana Kasdan, senior counsel at the New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice, told the Chronicle of Higher Education. "They tend to vote Democratic, and it’s a Republican-controlled state legislature that passed it." In a press conference Friday, McCrory was asked about the removal of pre-registration for future voters under the age of 18. According to the Associated Press, the Governor admitted to not reading that part of the bill. "I don’t know enough, I’m sorry, I haven’t seen that part of the bill," McCrory said.

The Daily News: Make redistricting fair to N.C. voters
The process for drawing legislative and congressional districts in North Carolina is not intended to serve the voters. It serves politicians — specifically, the politicians who control the General Assembly. That stands the principle of government by and for the people on its head. It matters little that a three-judge panel has ruled that the state’s latest redistricting is legal. There’s often a huge disconnect between what is legal and what is fair and right. And this redistricting plan, like countless gerrymandering efforts before it, is a slap in the face to voters.

The Guardian: North Carolina Republicans slammed over ‘suppressive’ voting bill
Civil rights advocates and experts in election law are stunned by the scope of the new law. What began in April as a 14-page bill mainly focused on introducing more stringent ID rules, ostensibly to guard against voter fraud, snowballed over the last week as it passed through the North Carolina Senate. By the time it was passed by both houses late on Thursday night, the bill had become a 57-page document containing a raft of measures opposed by voting rights organisations.


ABC 11: Some educators worry about future in North Carolina
After Republicans took away their job security in the budget, and didn’t give them a raise when their average pay is near the bottom of the pack nationally, some are wondering why a new teacher would want one of those jobs or any in this state. "What they’re telling me is this makes them feel like the General Assembly doesn’t care about the work they do," said Nilles. Because of that feeling, the chatter among many teachers now is what to do about it. Some already have one foot out the door.

WRAL: McCrory calls for fewer tests, extra teacher pay
Speaking at the North Carolina Chamber’s annual education conference in Chapel Hill, McCrory said business owners repeatedly tell him that they cannot find qualified employees for their job openings. The state needs to do more to prepare students for the workforce, he said. Outside the Sheraton of Chapel Hill hotel, a crowd of teachers and education advocates protested McCrory’s appearance, which comes less than a week after he signed a $20.6 billion budget that includes $20 million over the next two years to allow children from some low-income families to attend private schools and that eliminates the tenure rights of veteran teachers.

Q Notes: UNC system to consider gender-inclusive housing ban
The proposed policy will be considered at the UNC Board of Governors’ meeting on Aug. 8-9 in Chapel Hill. It is nearly identical to a bill proposed in the North Carolina Senate in April. It would prohibit all UNC campuses from offering “gender-neutral” housing. Proponents of the gender-inclusive housing proposals say allowing students to choose their roommates regardless of their gender will increase safety for all students, particularly those who identify as gay or transgender.


Carolina Public Press: 8 WNC counties post double-digit unemployment
The department’s figures show 44 of the state’s 100 counties with more than 10 percent unemployment. Those counties included the Western North Carolina counties of Avery, Cherokee, Graham, McDowell, Mitchell, Rutherford, Swain and Yancey. With a rate of 15.2 percent, Graham County held the highest unemployment rate in the region for the month.


Wonkbook: This is what it looks like when the Republican budget falls apart
Republicans endorsed the vague outlines of Ryan’s budget early in the year. But now they’re realizing they can’t pass the documents that make those cuts specific — they’re simply too deep. But they can’t back out of the Ryan budget, either. The result is a mess — although one that may make at least a few Republicans, including Hal Rogers, more eager for a face-saving budget deal in the fall.

Roll Call: With a THUD, Congress Kicks Another Can Down the Road
On domestic spending, it’s been assumed all year that the two halves of Congress were on a collision course. What came as a stunning surprise was how the appropriations process crashed in the House on Wednesday — or, as those with knowledge of congressional lingo can appreciate best — how it landed with a thud. Abandoning the bill was also a tacit concession that the House GOP high command’s strategy for the fall fiscal fight has fallen apart. The bill foundered not only because a couple dozen conservative Republicans thought it would spend too much, but also because a small but pivotal number of Republican moderates had joined virtually all the Democrats viewing the depth of the proposed cuts as too deep.

NBC News: First Thoughts: Landing with a THUD
There’s one conclusion to draw from this development: House Republicans simply don’t have the votes. And if they can’t pass this bill, it’s hard to imagine how they can pass any kind of legislation relating to funding the government, which only strengthens the White House’s hand in the upcoming fiscal fights.

Greenville Online: Pelosi: GOP to blame for partisanship
Painting the GOP as unwilling to cooperate to solve problems is key to Democratic efforts to win back control of the House next year, Pelosi said. "I see a revival of bipartisanship, of people saying, ‘What is this thing that they are opposed to everything?’ This is not a manifestation of most Republicans in the country. This is an ideological wing. "There’s really a heightened awareness (from voters) of Republicans’ obstructing, obstructing, obstructing everything that comes down the pike," she said.


Bustle: Harry Reid on Federal Budget: “It’s Time to Set Aside Partisan Differences”
Senate Democrats have now requested going to conference 17 times in order to deal with the pressing issue of the federal budget – and each time, a Republican senator has objected. “The economy is at risk. It’s time to set aside partisan differences,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Monday on the Senate floor. Reid said that Democrats and Republicans need to work together on a compromise that would replace "hard-hearted" sequester cuts, and that a budget committee conference is the best way to do so.

Politico: Kirsten Gillibrand intensifies effort on sexual-assault bill
Military sexual assault is dividing the Senate but not along typical partisan battle lines. This war has Democrat fighting Democrat and Republican fighting Republican — with the two sides slowly solidifying ahead of a floor vote expected for this fall to remove the Pentagon’s chain of command from prosecutions of major crimes. Much is at stake in this battle — with Gillibrand proposing the largest overhaul to the military’s modern-day justice system since its creation in 1950. While Gillibrand welcomes the provisions Levin and McCaskill have already added to the bill, she says more must be done to give victims assurances that they’ll get justice after reporting an alleged crime.


POLITICO: North Carolina’s rightward turn could be boon to Kay Hagan
But Don Taylor, a professor of public policy at Duke who is plugged in to Democratic political circles in the state, said Republicans may have misread their mandate. By pushing so aggressively on the policy front, he said, the GOP could prompt a course correction back to Democrats in 2014… “If the Republicans had taken a more, ‘Let’s run the trains on time,’ sort of country club, business issues [approach], they could have run the state for 25 years,” he said. “But they screeched way right. They couldn’t help themselves. And so they are doing more to rehabilitate the Democratic Party in six months than in what might have taken six years.”

Indy Week: How Democrats can reclaim North Carolina government
I’m not going to kid you. If your goal is to win our state back from the reckless Republicans who run it now, there’s no easy path. But in response to the No. 1 question people ask me, the answer is yes. There is a path. And it begins in Wake County. The challenge for the Democrats is to win control of the Senate or House by 2020, allowing them to negotiate the next redistricting with the Republicans. Ideally, the Republicans will lose both houses … or stop being radical reactionaries.

National Journal: Democrats Using Voting Rights Issues to Protect Senate Majority
Black turnout will be pivotal to the re-election of vulnerable Senate Democrats in the South, including Kay Hagan in North Carolina, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, as well as to Democratic hopes of picking up an open Senate seat in Georgia. Those states could be decisive in determining whether the Democratic Party maintains control of Senate in 2014. The heated Virginia governor’s race in November will serve as a test run for the party’s ability to mobilize black voters without the first African-American president at the top of the ticket.

Greensboro News & Record: No Senate run for Ellmers
U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers’ political shop sent out an announcement shortly before 6 p.m. She won’t be running for the U.S. Senate next year. Her full statement is below. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, has said he’ll decide by the end of this month, which comes Thursday, so the race could really take shape by the end of the week.

Huffington Post: Kentucky Senate Poll Shows Alison Lundergan Grimes A Serious Threat To Unpopular Mitch McConnell
New poll numbers released on Thursday hold troubling signs for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). According to the survey — conducted by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling on behalf of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America — Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s Democratic secretary of state who officially entered the race on Tuesday, leads the longtime senator by one point, with 45 percent to McConnell’s 44 percent. While her lead is within the margin of error, the poll also underscored some broader issues that McConnell is likely to face as he campaigns for a sixth term.

POLITICO: Kentucky Senate election 2014: Poll predicts tight race
Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes are running roughly even in the 2014 Kentucky Senate race, according to a new poll commissioned by two liberal groups. Kentucky voters said they would vote for Grimes over McConnell, 45-44 percent, and 11 percent said they were undecided, according to the poll.

Politico: Arkansas’ Tom Cotton to run for U.S. Senate
Arkansas is one of a handful of Republican-leaning states represented by Democrats — Louisiana, North Carolina and Alaska are others — that are critical to the GOP’s chances of flipping the Senate next year. The party needs to net six seats to capture the chamber. But Democrats say history is in their favor, noting that only three of their incumbents have lost in the past decade.


NBC News: ‘Despicable PR stunt: State Department criticizes Assad Instagram account
The photos are glossy snaps of Assad and his glamorous wife, Asma. Harf encouraged people to ignore the polished images, which she said are "not indicative of the horrific situation on the ground that [Assad] is causing for his own people." “To see what’s really happening right now in Syria, to see the horrific atrocities in Homs and elsewhere, we would encourage people to take a look at unfiltered photos of what’s actually happening on the ground," Harf added.


POLITICO: GOP’s budget war on the poor
Time and time again, Republicans ask drowning Americans to stay afloat without a life raft. This budget hearing is but one more tactic to grandstand and push vulnerable Americans aside. Democrats in Congress are committed to fighting this destructive agenda, forging ahead, and looking for solutions.First and foremost, we are working to put Americans back to work and replace the across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration, that are a drag on our economic recovery. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated last week that failing to replace these damaging cuts will cost up to 1.6 million American jobs by the end of FY 2014.

NYT: Republicans—Blinded by Self-Righteousness
This is the perpetual Republican Party conundrum: moderate, or go harder right. And many still seem to believe that going harder right is the best way to go. They have learned nothing. They can see no other way. They are so convinced that their way is the right way, but it’s just misunderstood, not clearly explained, not persuasively advocated. That’s what can happen in political echo chambers — faltering positions are reinforced rather than rightfully abandoned. Voices for moderation are maligned as agents of moral erosion. Giving a little feels like giving up.

Indy Week: This week in disappointment: the worst representatives money can buy
Here are the five worst House lawmakers judged by the inanity of their legislation and the damage they inflicted on North Carolina. It was tough to winnow the list, but not as tough as finding a moderate, reasonable Republican. They are as rare as sex-selective abortions.

Salon: The Republican Party is now paralyzed
Cut to yesterday, more than two years later, and depressingly little has changed. There Obama stands; still president, still trying, and still finding no serious partner with whom to bargain. This time around, Obama is essentially asking to trade a cut to corporate tax rates in exchange for greater investment in jobs programs and public infrastructure. It’s a perfectly sensible deal, too, one in which each side gets something they’ve long wanted, and each side gives the other something they’d, in a perfect world, probably rather not. Needless to say, Republicans hate it.


BuzzFeed: The 18 Worst Things For Left-Handed People
I can no longer be silent on the daily oppression of the left-handed community! Hear our pain, world!


Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @Micah4NC

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