Washington Post: Google needs regulation. Republicans are too busy screaming about bias.

Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai was taken to task last week in a Congressional hearing demanding answers from the tech giant. The overwhelming issue at hand is, of course, consumer protection and privacy. Unfortunately, this was not the main topic of conversation as Republican lawmakers focused on their party’s internet presence instead of constituents’ needs.

VA drops the ball on veteran suicide prevention

And Trump's mismanagement is the main reason why:

Suicide prevention efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs fell off sharply in the last two years, even though reducing the high suicide rate among veterans is the agency’s top clinical priority, according to a new report.

With the department’s top management in turmoil, the suicide prevention effort lacked leadership, planning meetings were repeatedly canceled, millions of dollars budgeted for outreach went unspent, and the television and radio ads that had been broadcast thousands of times across the country in previous years went all but silent.

If something like this had happened on Obama's watch, Congressional Republicans would be holding hearings back to back, and Fox News would have endless coverage of the failure. But Trump? Crickets. One of the most important gauges of how effective an executive is performing is the performance of subordinate institutions that fall under his (or her) authority, and by all measures, Trump has failed miserably in that category. But his failure with the VA has been breathtaking, and with fatal consequences:

Thursday News: Voting with your wallet


UNC ALUMNI THREATEN TO CUT OFF DONATIONS OVER SILENT SAM: Some young alumni are threatening to withhold donations from UNC-Chapel Hill until Silent Sam is gone for good. It’s an attempt to influence the looming decision about what to do with the disputed Confederate statue. A letter signed by more than 2,200 people was sent to the UNC administration last week, specifically referencing a $5.3 million proposal to build a history center that was to house the toppled monument. That plan is now dead, having been rejected Friday by the UNC system Board of Governors. A five-member committee was appointed to work with UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt and campus trustees on a new proposal, due in March. The recent petition included signatures primarily from current students, employees and alumni who graduated in the past decade. The letter said the signers would withhold all financial contributions “until a plan is adopted that permanently removes Silent Sam from campus.”

Parsing the 9th District's embarrassing election fraud situation


And the NC GOP's all-over-the-map efforts to handle it:

The Earth shook and the seas parted as politicos from both parties appeared to join hands, perhaps taking in the gathering evidence that a Republican operative may have hacked our election apparatus, piloting an alleged spider web of a get-out-the-vote campaign or perhaps more appropriately, a get-the-vote-out campaign, accused of illegally handling – or, worst-case scenario, destroying – thousands of absentee ballots.

The accord was over before you could fully appreciate it, shattered Monday when top Republicans in the 9th urged members of the state’s elections board to certify the results of Baptist minister Mark Harris’ supremely suspect victory if they cannot produce evidence of wrongdoing by Congress’ return in January.

Which merely drives home the message the 9th District is incapable of policing itself. There is a *lot* of evidence, including direct testimony, that considerable wrongdoing occurred. Yes, much of that evidence was discovered/compiled by local media outlets, as opposed to the state Board of Elections. But it exists, nonetheless. That fraudulent cat is not going back in the bag, no matter how much local Republicans want it to. As to having another Primary, Rob Schofield has (once again) brought my better angels to the surface:

Wednesday News: No more secrets


GOVERNOR THREATENS TO VETO BILL THAT OBSCURES CAMPAIGN FINANCE INVESTIGATIONS: “This bill makes it harder to root out corruption in elections and campaign finance,” Cooper said at a news conference. “It actually provides more protections for politicians and others who violate campaign finance laws. These new provisions can shield wrong-doers by adding broad confidentiality requirements, limiting those who can file complaints, handcuffing investigators on how far back they can look, and requiring a reinvestigation by a second committee before evidence can be turned over to prosecutors. All of these new provisions operate to obscure the truth rather than shine a light on it.” Senate leader Phil Berger said the bill gives Cooper everything he wanted in separate elections and ethics boards and urged Cooper to sign it. Requiring confidentiality of campaign finance investigations is meant to discourage unfounded allegations, Berger told reporters.

Tuesday News: He's not the Grinch, you're the Grinch...

REPUBLICANS WANT COOPER TO HURRY UP AND VETO, BECAUSE CHRISTMAS: Senate Republicans are asking Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to not be a “grinch” by waiting to veto legislation that could force lawmakers to return to Raleigh during Christmas week to try to override his rejections. In a news release Monday, Senate Republicans said Cooper should veto or sign the remaining bills on his desk now so that legislators can act on overriding them on Tuesday as opposed to next week. But former state GOP legislator Charles Jeter, who’s now government relations coordinator for Charlotte Mecklenburg schools, said it’s lawmakers who are to blame for putting themselves in this situation of potentially needing to vote during Christmas week. “The NCGA made the decision of the time of year to force these issues, not the Governor,” Jeter said in a message. “If they didn’t want to come back next week, they should’ve waited until next year. They chose this, not Cooper.”

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The last days of the Berger Empire:

It will be interesting to see how they operate without absolute power...

Latest hog farm lawsuit ends with a sad joke


At least a slap on the wrist hurts a little bit:

On Wednesday, the end to a month-long trial came after jurors returned verdicts in favor of all eight plaintiffs, who live near a Sampson County hog farm, and imposed compensatory damages of a little more than $100,000 in all. Neighbors said Smithfield Foods hog operations were damaging to their daily life, complaining of powerful odors, clouds of flies, midnight noises and screeching trucks. Plaintiffs argued they could not enjoy their property enough to host a family barbecue, let kids play outside or tend a garden.

This week’s verdict was the fourth loss for the North Carolina hog industry. The jury awarded $100 compensatory damages to four plaintiffs, $1,000 to two plaintiffs, $25,000 to one and $75,000 to another — an elderly woman who lived closest to the hog farm and grew up there.

A hundred dollars in compensation? What is this, 1818? How many days of work did those four people miss in this month-long trial? I have more questions, but it's doubtful I'd get a straight answer from idiots like Jimmy Dixon:

Monday News: Damaged goods


GOP LEGISLATION REQUIRING PRIMARY AN EFFORT TO BOOT HARRIS: Legislation quickly passed by North Carolina's lawmakers this week would prepare a path for Republicans to dump their nominee in a still-undecided U.S. House race marred with ballot fraud allegations. "I think (legislators are) worried that Mark Harris might be damaged goods and they want to have the opportunity to have a different Republican nominee," said Carter Wrenn, a Republican operative and consultant to former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms and others for more than 40 years. "That's how I read those tea leaves." If the state elections board decides ballot irregularities or other problems cast the true outcome into doubt and force a redo, the legislation — if allowed to go into law by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper — would require new primary elections in the 9th Congressional District race, in addition to a new general election.


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