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Whatever the reason — quirk of the law, a desire by a conservative governor to prevent a heavily Democratic district from sending another Democrat to Washington or a combination of both — the delay announced yesterday by Gov. McCrory in filling the vacancy brought about by Congressman Mel Watt’s recent resignation from his seat in the 12th congressional district is simply and flat-out wrong.  Even if special, stand-alone elections would cost some money that the state would rather not spend during tight times, the notion that nearly 800,000 people will have no representation in the U.S. House of Representatives for an entire year is simply ridiculous.

McCrory (and legislative leaders, if necessary) should go back to the drawing board and fashion a better solution ASAP lest he people of the 12th start making noises about “no taxation without representation.”

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has its newest justice. Patricia Millett was confirmed by the Senate this morning on a bipartisan vote of 56-38. The vote was made possible as a result of the Senate’s long-overdue decision to alter its rules so that Senators can no longer filibuster judicial nominees (except to the Supreme Court) and other presidential nominees to lead various agencies.

The rule change should lead to a similar vote — perhaps as early as later today — on the long-stalled nomination of Congressman Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

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mandelaIt’s a dreary day in the state capital (and, presumably, throughout most of the Old North State), so here are a few stories to help inspire you to fight back against the darkness:

In addition to lots of information about the rapidly improving health of the Affordable Care Act, the good people at the Kaiser Family Foundation have a nice tribute to the late, great Nelson Mandela today on the front page of the organization’s website that explains the interesting connections between the Foundation and Mandela.

Also, in case you missed it, Think Progress ran a story last week that listed the “Six Things Nelson Mandela Believed That Most People Won’t Talk About” – including his strong opposition to the U.S. war in Iraq and his belief that freedom from poverty ought to be a fundamental human right.

Meanwhile, there will be a North Carolina tribute to Mandela this coming Saturday at First Baptist Church in Raleigh. Click here for more information.

And speaking of fighting back, Read More

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Mel WattThe next time someone tells you that the problem with D.C. politics is the refusal of President Obama and folks on what passes for the “left” to “compromise” with conservatives, ask them to read this Huffington Post article about the utterly absurd, take-no-prisoners obstructionism confronting a long and growing list of high-quality nominees put forth by the President to fill numerous vacancies on the federal courts and in other important agencies – including the national Housing Finance Agency position for which North Carolina Congressman Mel Watt (pictured at left) was nominated months ago.

 And, of course, it’s just coincidence that so many of the stonewalled nominees are women and people of color.

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Mel WattAt long last, we now know the official conservative litmus test for responding to nominations and other official proposals submitted to congress: “if the President is for something, we’re against it.”

It’s really as simple as that. And heaven help any nominees who happen to be women and/or people of color.

If the true nature of the test wasn’t already long-apparent in the right’s transparently hypocritical opposition to the federal version of Romney/Heritage Care (i.e. the Affordable Care Act), the final, once-and-for-all confirmation came yesterday when Senate Republicans successfully filibustered the nomination of Congressman Mel Watt to serve as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and then followed it up moments later with an equally absurd filibuster of the President’s nomination of a moderate, corporate lawyer named Patricia Millett to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

There was literally no good reason to oppose these nominations Read More