Ignorance is strength

The Republican legislature has become positively Orwellian as outlined by Chris Fitzsimon:

The tax shift plan will reduce state revenues by $650 million a year despite McCrory’s promise that any tax changes would be revenue neutral. And it raises taxes on many low and moderate income families, though McCrory’s said in his official statement that the plan “provides tax relief to all North Carolina taxpayers.”

Even the plans defenders in the Pope-funded propaganda mills admit that isn’t true.

McCrory went a remarkable step further, boasting that the tax plan would give teachers earning $40,000 to $45,000 a year a “one-percent increase in take home pay,” something the state budget approved this week failed to do.

The tax shift plan doesn’t do it either. The tax tables provided with the plan show that someone must earn $250,000 a year before they get a one percent tax break. Teachers in North Carolina must work 15 years before they earn even $40,000 a year…

These ideologues are thorough. You have to give them that. They have waited a long time to take over state government and wreak their ideological havoc on the state. Now that they have what must feel like unlimited power, they won’t give up easily.

Slash, prevaricate, repeat. That’s clearly their plan. And we may not recognize North Carolina when they are done.

Inside Moral Monday

Loved Dave Weigel’s account of what exactly its like to get arrested on Moral Monday.  I’ve been so curious about this, but this is the first piece I’ve come across that lays it all out.  Turns out they are trying to process the arrests much faster now and people are getting out just a couple hours after being arrested.  I think I could actually handle that (don’t worry, Kim, not actually going to do it).  And here’s Weigel’s nice “day in photos” post to go with it.  A sample:

photo (4)

The protest begins at 5. I’m fond of this sign that actually footnotes the poll being referred to.

More on NC’s horrible new voting law

Dahlia Lithwick has written a great piece on NC’s horrible new voting law proposal (honestly, the Voter ID is only the half of it).  Coolest part?  She ran it by me (and even took some suggestions and gave a shout out on FB) before publishing.  Now that made my week.  Really good stuff.  Some highlights (really, lowlights):

Indeed, North Carolina has just put in place a vote suppression regime that can only really be described as political performance art. Here is the proposed new elections omnibus bill. It drastically reduces early voting, does away with same-day voter registration, weakens the disclosure of so-called independent expenditures, disenfranchises felons and the “mentally incompetent,” authorizes vigilante poll observers, and penalizes families of college students who vote out of state.

The voter ID component of the bill is probably the most draconian in the nation. It cuts to seven the forms of permissible identification. If it passes, no county or municipal government or public employee IDs will be valid proof of voter identification. Nor will any photo ID issued by a public assistance agency, or any student ID from any college. The new voter ID rules will hit African-American voters, women, and Democrats hardest. Theindispensable Ari Berman sums up the aggregate effect as follows: “According to the state’s own numbers, 316,000 registered voters don’t have state-issued ID; 34 percent are African-American and 55 percent are registered Democrats. Of the 138,000 voters without ID who cast a ballot in the 2012 election, 36 percent were African-American and 59 registered percent Democrats.” And the scourge of voter fraud in North Carolina, at which the proposed law is directed? Between 2000 and 2010 there have been two cases of alleged voter impersonation. In that period three people also ate pop rocks and died.

While the General Assembly allocated $1 million in the budget to implement the new voting regime, estimates of the actual cost range from $3 million to $20 million. It is the voters themselves who will soon be paying for the privilege of being denied the vote.

OMG how I love that pop rocks line.  The rest of the piece does a great job of putting this in context of the Supreme Court’s horrible VRA decision.  Read it, you should.

Apparently, my dissertation was short

I happen to know of the top of my head that my dissertation was 199 numbered pages and 212 Word document pages.  Coincidentally, someone studying for a PhD in Germany actually emailed me to ask for a copy this week.  Anyway, just came across this cool link that shows the average dissertation length by discipline.  The median PS dissertation appears to be about 250 pages.  Not surprisingly, historians take the cake, but I was surprised that PS came in 3rd.  Don’t feel like writing much?  Biostatistics.  If you click through, you get see a larger copy of the chart:

How long is the average PhD dissertation?

Photo of the day

So, I discovered the Radiolab Tumblr today.  Very cool.  Led me to this.  Just what it looks like– a giant chrome T-rex in Paris.

Giant Chrome T Rex Installed on the Seine River in Paris by Philippe Pasqua sculpture Paris dinosaurs bones

Photo by Anthony Gelot

Voter registration

The State Senate has just approved a horrible, horrible bill on elections.  The focus is going to be on Voter ID, but easily the worst provision is the elimination of same-day registration (SDR) on early voting days.   My friend Barry Burden is the man on this stuff.  He had a great piece in the NYT a couple years back and he’s got a forthcoming PS article that’s a tour-de-force on the issue.  What he and his Wisconsin colleagues have found is that early voting without SDR actually reduces turnout.  Meanwhile, the evidence is clear that SDR, especially on election day itself, is huge boost to turnout (up to 7 percentage points).   So, in short, the Republicans are proposing we move to the worst possible system if you actually care about voter turnout (I’m about 100% sure they don’t).

I’m not going to say a lot now as I actually spent a good chunk of today writing an Op-Ed about this (N&O better take it!).  More when that hopefully gets published.  But here’s a nice summary of the horrible-ness from State Senator Josh Stein’s FB page:

If anyone had any doubt about the bill’s intent to suppress voters, all he/she has to do is read it. The bill now does the following:

*shortens early voting by 1 week,
*eliminates same day registration and provisional voting if at wrong precinct,
*prevents counties from offering voting on last Saturday before the election beyond 1 pm,
*prevents counties from extending poll hours by one hour on election day in extraordinary circumstances (like lengthy lines),
*eliminates state supported voter registration drives and preregistration for 16/17 year olds,
*repeals voter owned judicial elections and straight party voting,
*increases number of people who can challenge voters inside the precinct, and
*purges voter rolls more often.

Meanwhile, it floods the democratic process with more money. The bill makes it easier for outside groups to spend on electioneering and reduces disclosure of the sources. It also raises the contribution limits to $5k per person per election from $4k and indexes to amount to rise with inflation.

We will debate the bill in Rules Committee tomorrow at 2 pm. This is a sad day for our democracy.

Meanwhile, the House voter ID provisions which had been quite reasonable, as these things go, have been totally gutted and replaced with far more draconian provisions.  So disgusting.  A sad day for democracy indeed.

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