Under the Dome

Morning Memo: Daily Show says North Carolina trumps South Carolina in crazy

NORTH CAROLINA TARGET OF LAUGHS: Another day, another national television show puts North Carolina at the butt of the jokes. The Daily Show on Comedy Central took aim at the recently approved elections bill that puts restrictions on voting. Host John Oliver joked that the state election bill would place “all voting booths on buoys that are only accessible by yacht." The segment lumped North Carolina together with Texas and Florida but the Tar Heel state (starting at 2:30) received particular attention and Senate leader Phil Berger make an appearance from a TV clip. Oliver says the voting bill is just the “tip of the true $h*!-berg of a legislative session" and concludes: “Your move South Carolina. Oh, you thought you had crazy Carolina all sown up, didn’t you?”

***The state's system to deliver food assistance is troubled and ALEC is targeted ahead of this week's meeting. Read more North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

GROUPS TAKE AIM AT ALEC: Ahead of the American Legislative Exchange Council's annual meeting this week in Chicago, two advocacy groups are leveling charges that the conservative organization is "running a secretive, multi-million dollar slush fund that finances lavish trips for state legislators and has misled the Internal Revenue Service about the fund’s activity." The charges mirror previous complaints Common Cause and The Center for Media and Democracy made against ALEC regarding the group's transparency and courting of lawmakers. The IRS has not responded and ALEC officials dispute the characterization.

House Speaker Thom Tillis, a member of the ALEC board of directors, has said he plans to attend the conference and even host fundraisers for his U.S. Senate campaign in Chicago. Other North Carolina lawmakers, including Asheville Republican Tim Moffitt, are also ALEC leaders.

***The state's system to deliver food assistance is troubled and ALEC is targeted ahead of this week's meeting. Read more North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

TODAY IN POLITICS: Gov. Pat McCrory and the Council of State meet at 9 a.m. U.S. Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr will speak at the 12th annual Defense and Economic Development Trade Show at Fayetteville Technical Community College. Burr will also visit the Lord Corporation in Cary at 1 p.m.

STATE FOOD AID SYSTEM BROKEN: The state’s new electronic benefits payment system, aimed at greater efficiency, instead has Wake County food aid recipients waiting as long as eight or nine weeks for funds to arrive to put food on their tables. Longtime Southeast Raleigh activist Octavia Rainey told Wake County commissioners Monday that the problems have caused dozens of people to show up at her house to ask for help in getting food from churches, food banks and other sources.

Known as NC FAST, the $48.2 million system was supposed to provide a new way to pay into recipients’ electronic bank accounts, but has been beset in Wake by repeated glitches and slowdowns. State officials say the system is supposed to start providing Medicaid benefits through NC FAST next year. But they acknowledge the problems that brought Rainey before commissioners Monday. “I should not have people knocking on my door at quarter to seven asking me for help that human services staff is paid to provide,” Rainey said. “We do have people suffering in Wake County.”

People whose income falls below 200 percent of federal poverty levels, many of them “working poor,” are eligible to receive food and nutrition benefits, also called food stamps. County and state human services officials have been dealing with Wake’s issues from the state’s $27 million NC FAST program since February, after first registering clients with it in October. Read more here.

PROGRAM'S COST TO RISE, BIGGER DHHS OFFICE NEEDED: At the same time NC FAST isn't working like it's supposed to -- the state announces it needs more employees to run it and more space as a result. The details: The state has revised the specifications for new office space for the Department of Health and Human Services after realizing it will need 60 additional employees to implement a new software system. In June, the state put out a request for proposals seeking 72,386 square feet for the team that is implementing NC Fast, a software system designed to improve the way the agency and counties deliver food stamps and eventually other benefits and services. ...

The low bid originally submitted by Coker’s group called for the state to pay just over $1 million in annual rent during the first year, with the rate escalating to about $1.44 million in the final year of the lease. Read more here.

McCRORY'S PERSONNEL BILL WATERED DOWN:Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to sign a bill that speeds up the employee grievance process for state workers but backs away from earlier efforts to sharply curtail their civil service protections. The measure, initiated by the McCrory administration, also increases the number of political hires the governor can make to 1,500, moves the State Personnel Office under the direct control of the governor’s office and shortens the appeal process for state employees who are fired or disciplined.

But the measure no longer includes the most contentious proposal – removing the employee appeals process from independent administrative law judges to hearing officers named by political appointees of the governor. State employee groups, attorneys who represents state employees, and academic experts had said such a move would have had the effect of stripping 90,000 state employees of their traditional civil service protections and making them “at will” employees. Read more here.

STATE LAUNCHES NEW JOB WEBSITE: AP: The North Carolina Department of Commerce is launching a website it says will help employers and people looking for a job. The site at will pull jobs from thousands of websites and can send text and email alerts to people when new jobs matching their skills are posted. For employers, the site will provide real-time labor market information that the agency says will help them make competitive offers to the most talented people. The agency says the new website will save the state $2 million a year as it consolidates eight different information systems into one.

TAX FREE WEEKEND POPULAR IN FINAL YEAR: Triangle retailers are still tallying sales figures from this weekend’s sales tax holiday, but most said traffic was up over last year – an increase credited to this being the holiday’s final installment. At TigerDirect, an electronics retailer in Raleigh, store manager Rodolfo Bottinelli said he expects sales on computers, printers and tablets will be up. Bottinelli said the store was fully staffed for the three-day holiday, with 30 percent to 40 percent more people on the floor. Read more here.

PROTESTERS ARRESTED IN WATT'S OFFICE: A growing national controversy surrounding nine Latino youths who “self-deported” and want back into the country reached a new level Monday, when two supporters of the so-called Dream 9 were arrested in the Charlotte office of Rep. Mel Watt. It marks the first time arrests have been reported in connection with the ongoing rallies supporting the Dream 9 around the country, organizers said.

Maria Alejo, 21, of Raleigh and Marco Cervantes, 19, of Chapel Hill were charged with second-degree trespassing for refusing to leave Watt’s office after it closed. Both told the Observer they are undocumented youths who were raised in North Carolina. Read more here.

PRAYER AT GOVERNMENT MEETINGS SCRUTINIZED: The longstanding practice of opening Charlotte-area government meetings with a Christian prayer has come under increasing attack by residents and outside groups. Read more here.

MORAL MONDAYS IN ASHEVILLE: AP: Several dozen of the more than 930 people arrested during the 13 weeks of protests in Raleigh were brought on the stage in Asheville as the crowd chanted "Thank you." Protesters filled the one-block square in front of the courthouse and spilled back into the next block. "This group of jailbirds and I believe in the Golden Rule. That we should treat people the way we would want to be treated. And politicians should live by the Golden rule too," said Heather Rayburn, who was arrested as part of the protests on July 15.

Rev. William Barber talked about how brave North Carolinians fought back when the state instituted segregation and laws designed to keep blacks from voting after the Civil War and also supported the civil rights movement. He said those people from history are calling for the protesters to not give up the rights and progress they fought for. Read more here.

ALSO: Barber and members of the protest movement are asking Gov. Pat McCrory for a meeting to discuss the elections bill on his desk. McCrory met with Barber before taking office but has rebuffed recent requests for meetings.

PERSONNEL FILE: AARP's state chapter announced Monday it hired Charmaine Fuller Cooper as it's associate state director for advocacy, aka lobbyist. Cooper previously served as executive director of the North Carolina Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, lobbying for compensation that lawmakers included in this year's budget. Most recently she worked as director of community and multicultural health initiatives for the American Heart Association’s Triangle market. She replaces Helen Savage, who is retiring after 28 years with AARP, which represents 1.1 million adults in North Carolina. “The health and financial security of AARP members will be strongly protected because Charmaine Fuller Cooper knows how to work with government leaders and private organizations to advance better health outcomes and financial solutions for all older adults,” said AARP North Carolina Director Doug Dickerson in a statement.

RICHARD HUDSON VISITS BORDER: ABC News -- "As the House of Representatives assesses its strategy to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, a group of Republican congressmen are starting their August recess with a tour of the southern border." Read more here.


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Coach Bags Outlet

Shezanne Cassim, the American jailed in the United Arab Emirates after posting a video parody, was sentenced Monday to one year in prison and a fine of 10,000 UAE dirhams (approximately $2,700).
The young American living in the UAE has been imprisoned since April, his family says, for posting what was intended to be a funny video on the Internet.
He was accused of defaming the UAE's image abroad, according to The National, the country's main English-language newspaper.
The video in question is a 19-minute short that pokes fun at a clique of Dubai teens who are influenced by hip-hop culture. In the 1990s, the label "Satwa G" was coined for a group of suburban teens who were known to talk tougher than they really were.
The video depicts a look at a "combat school" in the suburb of Satwa, where these "gangsters" are trained. The training includes how to throw sandals at targets, using clothing accessories as whips, and how to call on the phone for backup.Cassim's family says the 29-year-old has been charged with endangering national security.The charges were not read out in court. UAE officials would only say "Mr. Cassim was charged under the UAE's penal code. Anyone charged with a crime under the laws of the UAE is entitled to the fair trial protections contained in the UAE's constitution."
Cassim, from Woodbury, Minnesota, moved to Dubai in 2006 after graduating from college to work for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He and some friends made and posted the video online in 2012. He was arrested in April. He was interrogated and arrested in Dubai before being transferred to a maximum security prison in Abu Dhabi. His family says it was five months before he was notified of the charges against him.

Do not underestimate the power of these TV comedy shows

Look how much influence on the South Carolina election was exerted by Steven Colbert. His sister ran against Mark Sanford for Congress and Colbert raked Sanford over the coals every night for months. All this negative comedy had a real effect on the vote in South Carolina. Didn't Colbert's sister win by a landslide?

Just the beginning

This state deserves to be skewered endlessly for the nonsense going on in Raleigh on Jones St. They rightfully framed Phil Berger as his true idiot self. Hopefully McCrony will be next.

It's good to see their bigotry and ignorance exposed on a national stage, and this is just the beginning.

Keep it coming Teabillies, you're making everyone proud !


Reaction to Daily Show

After the Daily Show comments about North Carolina, polls show that Walter Dalton gained 2 points on McCrory.

Proud to be a North

Proud to be a North Carolinian. We will be laughing when we have a solvent government and their's is bankrupt because we made the hard choice to balance our budget.

Attention liberals....

Its called "Comedy Network" not "The News"

Not too funny

It would be hilarious if it wasn't true.




Oh, is that right? The Daily Show...


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