Wednesday News: The cost of bigotry

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ART POPE'S CIVITAS FORCED TO SELL OFF ANTI-SEMITIC WEBSITE: The conservative Civitas Institute announced Tuesday that it will no longer operate a news website that came under fire last week for promoting an anti-Semitic blog post about N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein. Carolina Plott Hound, a Drudge Report-style website that collects and posts links to news and conservative commentary from a variety of sources, promoted as its lead headline a blog arguing that Stein joined a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA because he “is acting in accordance with the worldview and ethnic interests of his own particular group – i.e., those within contemporary Judaism. Stein is a reform Jew. Those from within his own ethnic group want the Christian majority with roots in western countries to be numerically diluted.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article17...

Tuesday News: Stacking the courts

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NC GOP CONVENES COMMITTEE ON JUDICIAL GERRYMANDERING TODAY: A House committee discussing redrawing voting districts for trial court judges and district attorneys holds its second meeting Tuesday. A wholesale redraw hasn't occurred in more than 60 years. Republicans say redistricting would create fairer districts. Democrats argue it's a pretense for GOP gerrymandering. Any House-approved redistricting would still have to clear the Senate. It also would be subject to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto stamp. One idea floated among Republicans would link approval of new maps to a proposed constitutional amendment sought by some senators to change the way the state chooses judges, which today is through partisan elections.
http://www.wral.com/n-carolina-house-panel-back-to-debating-judicial-remapping/16958043/

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The attacks against Obamacare aren't over yet:

Make the calls. It probably won't sway these two very much, but you never know.

Theatre of the absurd: Make all voters pass a Federal gun background check

Kris Kobach's voter suppression train is going off the rails:

A gun researcher who says the federal gun background check system doesn't work has a new idea for preventing voter fraud at polling places: Make every voter pass a federal gun background check.

John Lott, an independent researcher and Fox News commentator, is best known for his book “More Guns, Less Crime,” which argues that increases in gun ownership are associated with drops in crime (most mainstream criminologists reject this view).

Dude is certifiable, and yet he has been invited to the next Commission meeting to put forward this foolish and very likely unconstitutional proposal. It's another in a growing list of cases where the Congress would normally feel compelled to step in and reign back Executive overreach, if it was anybody other than Donald Trump engaging in it. While this gun-check thing is an absurd idea, and wouldn't make it past the first judge tasked to evaluate it, the ramifications of the Commission's willingness to even entertain the idea are the real danger:

Monday News: Preying on the weak

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DALE FOLWELL GOES AFTER DISABLED RETIREES TO COLLECT OVER-PAYMENTS: Carla Shuford thought a call from the state treasurer’s office telling her to look for an important letter was a hoax, but the reality hit her the next day with a notice that the state had been putting too much in her disability checks for more than 10 years, and now it planned to collect. She is one of 60 former state employees who have to return money because audits found mistakes in their disability payments. “You’re picking on the most vulnerable people,” she said. “You know they don’t have the wherewithal to fight.” State Treasurer Dale Folwell said the office is required by law to get back money when it pays out too much. “We’re sorry for this lady’s disability,” he said. “This is something our administration didn’t do. We discovered it and now we have the responsibility to fix it.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article17...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO END GOVERNING BY WHIM, DECREE AND AMBUSH: Unfortunately the autocratic behavior of legislative leaders is now reflected by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors – who are appointed by the legislature – in its latest effort to tell UNC President Margaret Spellings how to organize her office. Again, all done without any prior consultation with those most impacted. Again and again, the current legislative leaders preach that government should be operated like a business. But no well run business operates – or survives – the way Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore try to run the state. Their primary motivations are settling fictitious scores with Democrats like Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein. They must change and be more deliberative and open. If not, even the most severe gerrymandering won’t blind voters to the malfeasance on display over the last nine years.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-legislature-needs-to-end-governing-by-whim-decree-and-ambush/16948825/

Exploring the rise of Unaffiliated voters in NC

Fiercely independent or simply tired of the drama?

North Carolina political scientists, activists and strategists said in interviews there are political and societal reasons for the shift. Having no affiliation also can be attractive because these voters can choose to participate in either the Democratic or Republican primary — so candidates from the parties must keep learning how to win their support.

The bitter political atmosphere within the two-party system is a likely cause for the shift, said Michael Bitzer, a Catawba College politics professor studying registration trends. Forty percent of the registered voters known as millennials — those born since 1981 — are unaffiliated and the largest bloc among their age group, according to Bitzer’s research. “Being children of political polarization, maybe this is a clear sign that they are not willing to associate with either party,” Bitzer said, noting these voters aren’t necessarily moderates: “Being unaffiliated does not mean you’re not partisan.”

But it does mean expecting candidates to figure out what you want, in the absence of any defining trait, is somewhere between unwise and disingenuous. I will accept the Democratic Party hasn't always communicated a clear and concise message about what we stand for, but I also believe many new voters are afraid to align themselves with anything, for fear of ending up on the "losing" side. What we need to do (as always) is better articulate the dangers of GOP policies while also formulating and highlighting genuine alternatives to those policies. Because without the beef, it's just an insult sandwich that nobody wants to continue eating.

Saturday News: Free-market bigotry

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CIVITAS AFFILIATED WEBSITE LINKS TO ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACK ON AG JOSH STEIN: The conservative Civitas Institute is facing criticism for its website linking to an article that says Attorney General Josh Stein’s stance on immigration is due to his Jewish faith. The article Plott Hound promoted as its lead headline says Stein joined a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA because he “is acting in accordance with the worldview and ethnic interests of his own particular group – i.e., those within contemporary Judaism. Stein is a reform Jew. Those from within his own ethnic group want the Christian majority with roots in western countries to be numerically diluted.” DACA is the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that has protected immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article17...

Good news: Atlantic Coast Pipeline delayed

Atlantic Coast Fracked Gas Pipeline delayed

Faced with a Monday deadline and a lopsided number of public comments opposing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has delayed until mid-December its decision on whether to permit the controversial project. Without fanfare or press release late yesterday, the state issued a four-page “request for additional information,” part of its duty under the federal Clean Water Act to ensure the natural gas pipeline won’t harm the over 320 rivers and streams and hundreds of acres of wetlands in its path.

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