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Meanwhile, the NYT…..

Big New York Times article on North Carolina as a “state in play.”

In addition to Thom Tillis and Kay Hagan, the cast of faces and places includes Jesse Helms, John Edwards, Cook Out, JLF president John Hood, former state budget director Art Pope, Siler City, Gov Pat McCrory, Gander Mountain Firearms Super Center, an autism teacher who describes Republican policies as “terrifying” and –last but not least —the Rev. William Barber.

Here’s what jumps out:

Some black voters may find it harder to get to the polls in November under the new voter law, which, among other things, cut back early voting by a week; eliminated a provision that allowed citizens to register and vote on the same day; and prevented the counting of ballots lodged by voters outside of their home precincts.

Here’s hoping Rev. Barber gets on the phone to NYT editors demanding a correction.

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Hagan: No time for ISIS?

Just a few days after the N&R warns us about the evil of money in politics comes this report that Sen. Kay Hagan “may have skipped” a Senate armed services committee hearing to discuss the threat of ISIS to attend a New York fundraiser.

Fair enough —key words here are “may have” considering the fact “attendance records are not made available for closed-door Senate hearings.” But we do know there was a cocktail reception for Hagan that night in NYC, with tickets going for —hold on —- $5,000.

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N&R slams Mark Walker

No suprise that today’s N&R editorial slams 6th District Congressional candidate Mark Walker over his recent comments about going to war with Mexico:

It’s reassuring that Republican 6th District congressional candidate Mark Walker does not want the United States to launch a war against Mexico.

He now says he was speaking “tongue-in-cheek” when he said at a campaign gathering in June that “we did it before. If we need to do it again, I don’t have a qualm about it.”

The subject of a limited military role on the border might be worth a serious debate, but going to war against Mexico isn’t an option. This isn’t 1846.

…Walker made the mistake of speaking down to his audience. This happened during the Republican runoff primary campaign, when Walker and Phil Berger Jr. were running as far to the right as they could go. Walker should not have tried to appeal to the most bellicose sentiments of that electorate.

Yeah N&R we know this isn’t 1846 —and they accuse Walker of talking down to his audience. For good measure the editorial takes Walker’s opponent Laura Fjeld to task for calling his comments “just plain crazy.” Let’s hope the N&R keeps good tabs on all the just plain crazy comments that will be made over the next six weeks.

Meanwhile five local sheriffs aren’t bothered by Walker’s comments.

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Cam Newton stylin’

Or not. You decide.


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N.C.’s most Googled brand is…..

Find out here. You get a dollar if you guess right.

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Kay Hagan: Just playing by the rules

N&R continues its not-so-veiled support for Sen. Kay Hagan by trotting out the old ‘money is evil in politics’ theme in today’s editorial:

The reality is that the American people are fed up with the tens of millions of dollars poured into a single race, such as North Carolina’s U.S. Senate contest between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis. Television viewers are inundated by ads that promote one candidate or attack the other. People have little or no idea of who’s responsible for these ads, where the money comes from or what the sponsors want and expect from the candidate once he or she is elected.

….There was little chance it would ever pass since it eventually would need two-thirds support in the Senate and House and then ratification by three-fourths of the states. Republicans called it a political gesture by Democrats. Maybe it was, like proposed “personhood” or “balanced budget” amendments regularly introduced by Republicans.

Yes the vote to block the constitutional amendment was along party lines, which means Hagan made the appropriate political gesture while continuing to play by the rules as they’re written, as I’m sure the N&R would rationalize.

Meanwhile, former American Idol star and 2nd District Congressional candidate Clay Aiken only wishes he could get holda him some Hollywood money:

Though he has picked up the pace in the fundraising battle against two-term incumbent and former nurse Renee L. Ellmers, reporting in July had Aiken with about $209,000 cash on hand to Ellmers’s $405,000. One of Aiken’s consultants put it this way: “It’s tough because the people in the district all assume he has these big Hollywood connections so they don’t want to donate. But the truth is he isn’t that big a deal in Hollywood, so he can’t raise that much there.”


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Mark Walker: Remember the Alamo?

OK, 6th District Congressional candidate Mark Walker didn’t say that during a Rockingham County candidates forum —that was just a little quip from the N&O blogger.

Watch and decide for yourself —-at the 43-minute mark — if Walker if was dead serious about having qualms about going to war with Mexico or if his comments were off the cuff.

No surprise Daily Kos thinks Walker was dead serious.

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Guilford County DSS: Poor customer service

The Rhino’s Scott Yost obtains e-mails shedding light on the chaos inside Guilford County’s Department of Social Services that led up to the food stamp backlog scandal:

The emails also reveal that the NC DHHS was getting disturbing complaints from Guilford County clients about poor customer service, rude social service workers and a failure of clients to receive benefits. One constant complaint among those whose food stamp benefits had not been renewed was that they couldn’t even talk to anyone at Guilford County DSS.

One email from the state to Guilford County reads, “Client has called 336-641-3000 [DSS’s main number] and was not able to pass customer service, was told case workers are not allowed to talk with clients. Client has a [redacted] child.”

Based on the emails, former DSS director Robert Williams —who resigned in March in the aftermath of the scandal —apparently was aware in January of the food stamp backlog:

Williams sent an email out to his staff and it was clear that the new requirements were of great concern to him.

Williams forwarded the letter to his supervisors and other top staff and wrote, “It is important that you read this as soon as possible! The training for Monday is rescheduled. What ever you have scheduled for Monday, cancel it. I expect you to be in Room 304 @ 10:00. We need to develop and implement a plan for taking care of the issues. We are all in this together.”

Apparently no plan was developed, or if it was it was not implemented, which is why Williams lost his job. And while the new leadership at the new Department of Health and Human Services shows promise, you have to wonder how long it will take to clean up this “giant mess.”

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Greg Hardy’s season over?

Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler speculates after Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy goes on the commissioner’s exempt list.

Fowler says two things will have to happen to see Hardy in a Panthers uniform come November: no delay in his assault jury trial and a no guilty verdict:

I don’t think both those things will happen, though. I think Greg Hardy has played his last down as a Carolina Panther.

Meanwhile Florida State QB Jameis Winston is benched for the first half of the Clemson game….

Winston, last season’s Heisman Trophy winner, stood on a table in a courtyard between the student union and a classroom building Tuesday and shouted an obscenity that has become widespread on social media after being heard on live television during the World Cup this summer.

….While Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer has been arrested for assault based on incident that allegedly took place stemming from incidents that allegedly occurred in July.

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Today’s least surprising election headlines….

The NAACP —and that means the Rev. William Barber —is asking the State Board of Elections to investigate and prosecute Sen. Phil Berger regarding his television ad that highlights his role passing a photo identification requirement to vote in person, claiming that it could discourage from citizens from voting in the November election;

Democrat Alma Adams and Republican Vince Coakley disagree on the federal government’s role during a 12th Congressional District candidates forum hosted by the League or Woman Voters of the Piedmont Triad.

Update: Berger modifies the ad to say “in 2016, thanks to Phil Berger, voters must show a photo ID.”

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