Saturday News: Kicking the can down the road


HISTORICAL COMMISSION POSTPONES DECISION ON MOVING CONFEDERATE STATUES: The state commission considering the fate of Confederate monuments on Capitol Square put off until April a decision on whether the statues should be moved to a Civil War battlefield. The NC Historical Commission voted 9-1 Friday to postpone action on the request to move the monuments 46 miles to Bentonfield Battlefield in Johnston County because members wanted more time to gather legal options on a 2015 monuments law and issues related to relocation. The commission voted to appoint a committee to collect legal interpretations of the 2015 law from the UNC School of Government, NCCU law school, Wake Forest law school, Campbell law school, the state Justice Department and any other “appropriate sources.”

Gerrymandering update: Court explains why it didn't order Special Election

There is much truth in this:

The court initially ordered a remedial special election but on appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed its ruling and ordered that the panel make further considerations about the remedy. At the end of July, the panel denied the request for a special election and issued a timeline for lawmakers to redraw the gerrymandered maps. The 48-page unanimous opinion released Tuesday explains why the judges denied the plaintiffs request.

“Notwithstanding these weighty considerations favoring a special election, we nonetheless conclude such an election would not be in the interest of Plaintiffs and the people of North Carolina,” it states. “The compressed and overlapping schedule such an election would entail is likely to confuse voters, raise barriers to participation, and depress turnout, and therefore would not offer the vigorously contested election needed to return to the people of North Carolina their sovereignty.”

Late last year I knew we were in a race against time, and if the issue wasn't dealt with quickly enough by the courts, those same courts would be hard-pressed to require a Special Election. It's tempting to be angry about the delaying tactics used by the GOP to stretch this thing out, but that won't accomplish much. I don't want to step on any toes, but something else that won't accomplish much are creating our own maps to counter the Republican ones:

Friday News: A couple of nitwits


BURR AND TILLIS SUPPORT BILL THAT WOULD COST NC BILLIONS: The new bill also converts federal funding for traditional Medicaid from an open-ended program to a capped one. About 2 million North Carolinians use Medicaid; more than half are children. The insurance also covers some of their parents, the elderly and the disabled. The federal government pays about two-thirds of the cost, with the state picking up the rest. The proposed legislation faces an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled Senate, which must pass it by Sept. 30 to take advantage of a procedural move that allows it to pass with just 51 votes. North Carolina Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis plan to vote for the legislation. Both voted for a repeal-and-replace plan the Senate rejected this summer. The bill would result in North Carolina receiving $8.1 billion less from 2020 to 2026 than under the current law, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The power of the purse: UNC students boycott campus stores over Silent Sam

When the institution lets you down, let down the institution:

Student organizers seeking the removal of a Confederate soldier statue at North Carolina’s flagship public university have embarked on a monthlong boycott of commercial goods on campus.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the boycott launched Monday at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a social media push follows marches, sit-ins, noise demonstrations and a lawyer’s letter last week pressing the school to remove the statue nicknamed “Silent Sam.” The boycott encompasses the Student Stores, the main dining hall, cafes, a snack stand, a bagel shop, Wendy’s, Starbucks and parking garages, and will end Oct. 18.

Whenever something like this occurs, you can't help but wonder about people who are already living on the margins losing their jobs. That being said, the students are very limited in the activities they can engage in to get rid of this anachronistic symbol of oppression. Don't forget, the General Assembly just passed a law to shield right-wing provocateurs on campus, threatening students with disciplinary action if they speak their minds in opposition. But that "bottling up" of the anger and frustration doesn't make it go away, it does just the opposite. The UNC administration should be glad a boycott is how they choose to vent that.

Thursday News: Show us the maps

DUKE ENERGY HIDES INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL COAL ASH FLOODING: Environmental groups say they will sue Duke Energy for not telling the public what would happen if any of its dozens of coal ash dams fail. Duke’s 31 North Carolina coal ash basins hold 111 million tons of ash in water-filled ponds. Ash holds metals that can contaminate rivers, lakes and groundwater. Duke says the maps aren’t public because they hold “sensitive public security information,” which North Carolina law defines as details that might aid an attacker. Notices of intent to sue Duke filed by environmental groups Wednesday, however, say federal law doesn’t allow those exceptions. The groups say Duke is the only U.S. utility that withholds parts of its emergency plans from the public. The Southern Environmental Law Center, representing eight environmental groups, sent the notices regarding emergency plans for 10 North Carolina power plants. The power plants include Allen on Lake Wylie and Marshall on Lake Norman.

More on the Usurpers

Although Covington does not order a special election, it is a strong and powerful indictment of the legislature and its gerrymandering. Further, there is a good case to be made that the legislators are usurpers and their ongoing actions void. The court addressed this at the end of the opinion (pp 45-46 clipped below). The opinion correctly concludes state law on this is “unsettled” and appropriately addressed to state courts. This seems like an invitation for someone to challenge the legislators as Usurpers.

McHenry goes there

Kudos to Thomas Mills for grabbing this gem from the news today:

Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry said out loud what most Republican only say in private. He wants to end Social Security and Medicare. He told Charlotte Observer political reporter Jim Morrill, “I would rather have complete control of the social safety net given to the states.” That would end Social Security and Medicare. Most Republicans would probably agree. And that’s the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

Rip Van Holding attracts several Democratic opponents for Congressional seat


Hopefully he'll have more time to push his trash out to the road after November 2018:

On Tuesday, Raleigh businessman Ken Romley became the fourth Democrat to announce his candidacy in a district represented by Republican George Holding. The 2nd district includes much of north, south and west Wake County along with parts of Johnston, Franklin, Harnett and Nash counties.

A day before Romley’s announcement, Linda Coleman, a former Wake County commissioner and N.C. House legislator, confirmed she would join Holly Springs vodka distillery owner Sam Searcy and Johnston County veteran and transgender woman Wendy Ella May in the race to unseat Holding, a third-term congressman from Raleigh.

And now is the part where I extol the virtues of having a knock-down, drag-out Primary between four (or more) energetic Democratic candidates before moving on to the General Election campaign against a well-heeled and zero-energy Republican incumbent. I'll have to get back with you on all that extolling...


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