Friday, July 29, 2016

Nine important quotes from today's judicial smackdown on NCGA

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 5:41 PM

Mic… dropped - JOE GRATZ
  • Joe Gratz
  • Mic… dropped

Earlier today, the United State Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit remanded and reversed the lower district’s court ruling that upheld North Carolina’s recent changes in a voting suppression law that’s ruffled feathers since 2013.

The law, another embarrassing divot in North Carolina’s civil rights track, eliminated some of the voting avenues and accommodations used by African-Americans. Among other things, the law shortened early-voting periods by a week, removed one of the two Sunday polling days and restricts the kind of ID accepted at the polls — specifically IDs used most commonly by black voters.

The day the law was signed, civil rights organizations like the NAACP and the League of Women Voters immediately filed suit, claiming the law had discriminatory intent and violated the Voting Rights Act, not to mention the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Twenty-Sixth Amendments of the Constitution. The district court in Winston-Salem upheld the law, stating that their research and review of evidence does not show discriminatory intent, so plaintiffs appealed to the Fourth Circuit.

Circuit judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote a grueling appeal that threw enough shade at Pat McCrory and the General Assembly to cover for another week as scorching in the Carolina sun as this one has been.

We’ve broken down some of the better lines in the 83-page document that we believe deserve more attention, or an “Amen.”

1. “But, for some of its findings, we must conclude that the district court fundamentally erred. In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees.” Page 9.

In this modern take on a tired cliché, Motz basically says the district court was completely inept when it came to finding the big picture that is the voting law’s true effect. Agreed.

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Today's Top 5: Friday

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 29, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

• Charlotte Artist Showcase at Sugar Creek Brewing Co.
Painting by Jen Hill.
  • Painting by Jen Hill.

Silent Disco at Rooftop 210

24 Hours of Booty Charlotte in Myers Park

• Best Of Open Mic Celebration at McGlohon Theater

• Brio w/ Nige Hood, King Callis, Brass Monk and Blue House Band at The Station

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Today's Top 5: Thursday

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 11:36 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 28, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Feast On Culture w/ Michael W. Twitty at Founders Hall

• A Silent Film w/ Margolnick of Flagship at Visulite Theatre

Drew Lynch at The Comedy Zone

Trivia at VBGB

Alive After Five w/ Rubberband at Rooftop 210

Lunch Break (7/28/16): NC GOP becomes laughingstock for umpteenth time this year

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 11:30 AM

The North Carolina Republican Party has found itself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons yet again. Following vice-presidential hopeful Tim Kaine's speech at the Democratic National Convention, the person in charge of the state GOP's Twitter account made a quick judgement that proved miserably wrong.

In a typical show of Republican moralism gone wrong, a tweet from the official North Carolina Republican Party account (@NCGOP) tried to call out Kaine for wearing what they thought was a Honduras flag pin on his lapel in lieu of an American flag. As was quickly noted by reporter Ben Amey who works with WNYT in Albany, New York, the pin was actually a Blue Star Flag, also known as a Service flag, worn to honor his son, a Marine set to deploy to Europe soon. A quick Google search shows that the Honduran flag looks nothing like the Blue Star Flag, and has five stars outlines in blue, as opposed to one outlined in red. The tweeter was quick to delete the tweet when called out by Amey, but it's the internet, soooo….


CMPD detectives have released a series of photos (below) depicting two men believed to have robbed a man at an ATM machine on Idlewild Road last Friday night. The victim told officers he was taking money out of the ATM in the early morning hours on Saturday when he was struck across the face then kicked by one of the suspects. Another suspect attacked the victim's friend who was standing nearby. The first suspect picked up the money that was lying on the ground and the two fled on foot. Anyone with information concerning this case or the suspects is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600. 


WSOC reporter Dave Faherty tweeted a video (below) of an attempted robbery that happened overnight at a gas station in Conover in Catawba County. In the video, the suspect — who is with a friend — make things awkward when he nonchalantly pulls a gun while paying for a blue drink that Faherty said was Mountain Dew. The clerk hesitates so the robber is forced to leave the counter to stop another customer from leaving the store. He then returns to the counter with the customer and his friend and continues to make demands, but yet another customer enters the store, making the robber antsy. According to the Catawba County Sheriff's Office, he left the store shortly after the video ended with nothing but his Mountain Dew. Hope he was thirsty. 

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Today's Top 5: Wednesday

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 12:11 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 27, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

The Stray Birds at The Evening Muse

• Black Southern Belle Charlotte Tastemaker Summit at Tuft

• Patabamba w/ El Malpais at Snug Harbor

• Sustainability Education through Action and Outreach at Freedom Park Pavilion

• Counting Crows w/ Rob Thomas, K Phillips at PNC Music Pavilion

Lunch Break (7/27/16): VIDEO: County officials say 'Adios, amoebas'

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 11:43 AM

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to veterans at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention being held in Charlotte yesterday, just a day after Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton addressed the same crowd. Following his speech, a local lawmaker and Charlotte's mayor teamed up to call Trump out for his shady records regarding veterans. The statement, released by Mayor Jennifer Roberts and N.C. Senator Jeff Jackson, reads as follows:

“Donald Trump has made his supposed support for veterans one of his signature issues in this election. But his record simply does not live up to his rhetoric. The truth is that Trump has displayed a pattern of disrespect toward those who have served our country. He has lied about his donations to veterans’ charities and shown contempt toward prisoners of war, claiming that Senator John McCain is ‘not a war hero’ because he spent five years in captivity. Additionally, Trump has put forward proposals that would negatively impact our veterans, such as supporting the privatization of the Veteran’s Administration, which would force the men and women who served our country into a private market that isn’t equipped to handle their unique health needs. Donald Trump lacks the knowledge, stability, and values to be America’s Commander-in-Chief. His ideas are not resonating with North Carolina’s veteran population.”


Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the day President George W. Bush signed a reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. Since then, the VRA has been stripped by decisions like the Shelby County vs. Holder decision of 2013, which did away with a VRA provision that requires states and local governments with histories of racial discrimination to obtain federal clearance before implementing changes to their voting laws.

This morning, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights coalition of more than 200 national civil rights groups sent letters to the Republican chairmen of the House and Senate judiciary committees noting that two bipartisan VRA restoration bills are languishing in their committees without action.

“Just months before the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, we write to express our frustration that two bills to help restore the law continue to languish in the committee you chair," the letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte said. "More than three years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s devastating Shelby County v. Holder decision, voters across the country desperately need Congress to take action to protect their rights.”


Mecklenburg County Health Director Dr. Marcus Plescia held a press conference this morning to discuss the newly released plan to drain the remaining water in the U.S. National Whitewater Center into the Catawba River.

The plan includes treating the water with chlorine and ultraviolet rays to make sure there is no threat from the infamous brain-eating amoeba that killed an 18-year-old visitor to the center in June. The amoeba is common in warm, freshwater environments like Catawba River, where the USNWC cycles its water from, but Lauren Seitz's death has caused alarm throughout Mecklenburg County.

The new plan was approved by Mecklenburg County Environmental Health and Storm Water Services, Charlotte Water, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and USNWC.

Dr. Plescia assured the public that the treatment plan and dilution of the water would render the water harmless, which is probably already is anyway. "Anything that's in there is going to be hugely diluted to the point where it won't be any different from what you'd normally find [in the Catawba River]," Plescia said. The entire press conference can be seen below. 

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lunch Break: HB2 just one big unfunny joke to McCrory

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 12:16 PM

Turns out there may actually be something Pat McCrory is worse at than governing the state of North Carolina: stand up comedy. The governor tested his comic chops when he spoke at a Trump rally in Winston-Salem Monday night and attempted to make light of his notorious House Bill 2: “If any of you need to use the restrooms and if you have any questions, go to the Philadelphia convention where all the Democrats are.”

McCrory’s problematic punchline comes a week after the NBA announced plans to pull the 2017 All Star game from Charlotte, costing the city a cool $100 million in projected revenue and joining a growing list of companies that have yanked operations out of North Carolina in response to HB2. 
“Governor McCrory may be making jokes, but his discriminatory law is no laughing matter,” says Jamal Little, campaign spokesman for McCrory's gubernatorial challenger Roy Cooper. “It has already cost us jobs, hurt our economy and damaged our reputation.” 

The ill-advised joke came hours after Cooper released an online ad comparing the Trump and McCrory campaigns: 

One organization that isn’t abandoning the Queen City in light of HB2 is the National League of Cities (yes, that’s a real thing). The group of 4,000 city leaders meets annually to discuss the goings-on of running cities (no, Sim City doesn’t count), and had made plans to convene in Charlotte in 2017. In a statement Monday, the NLC confirmed that they intend to keep that engagement and continue to support Charlotte.

“We stand with the City of Charlotte, and we will oppose any actions that preempt local control or discriminate against members of our communities,” said CEO Clarence E. Anthony. “Changing the location of City Summit would effectively penalize the City of Charlotte for the state’s action. We will continue our efforts to combat North Carolina’s HB2 and similar state laws across the country.”

Though the Atlantic Ocean has dodged a bullet when it comes to offshore drilling, conservation activists with Oceana say a stretch of ocean along the east coast is still at risk. According to the organization, an area “twice the size of California” between Delaware and Florida is the target of a process called seismic airgun blasting, which is used to detect oil deposits in the ocean floor. State officials in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia banded together to address the White House today in opposition of the process.

“If seismic airgun blasting is allowed to move forward, it would undoubtedly put at risk marine life, coastal communities and local economies along the entire East Coast,” Oceana said in a statement. “With offshore drilling off the table in the Atlantic, there is absolutely no reason to risk the damage that would be caused by seismic airgun blasting in the region.”

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Today's Top 5: Monday

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 3:59 PM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 25, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

• Still Life Workshop with Marc Chatov at Charlotte Fine Art Gallery

Donna Scott Productions' Women Entrepreneurs in Business and Arts Speaker Series at Charlotte Art League

Monday Night Allstars at Double Door Inn

Yoga on the Roof at Rooftop 210

Cocktails and Gardens at The Duke Mansion

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Today's Top 5: Sunday

Posted By on Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 24, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Tunes for Tarrah at Evening Muse

• Urban Gypsy Traveling Trunk Show at Tuft

Sarah Jarosz at McGlohon Theater

• Paint Session at Rocky River Vineyards

• Snoop Dogg w/ Wiz Khalifa at PNC Music Pavilion

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Today's Top 5: Saturday

Posted By on Sat, Jul 23, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Here are the five best events going down in Charlotte and the surrounding area today, July 23, 2016 as selected by the folks at Creative Loafing.

Garbage at The Fillmore
Garbage (Photo by Joseph Cultice)
  • Garbage (Photo by Joseph Cultice)

• Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made at C3 Lab

• Urban Gypsy Traveling Trunk Show at Tuft

• Campus Pride Homecoming Celebration at Johnson & Wales University

Gwen Stefani at PNC Music Pavilion

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