Bill Brisson takes off his donkey mask and declares for the GOP

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out:

Democratic Rep. Bill Brisson announced Wednesday he will change his party registration and run for a seventh term as a Republican. Democrats now hold just 45 seats in the 120-member House.

Brisson, 71, represents parts of Bladen, Sampson, and Johnston counties. He has been a Republican ally for years. At times during his career, Brisson provided Republicans with crucial votes on important bills. For example, he and four other Democrats helped Republicans override former Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s budget vetoes in 2011.

That tear you see slowly coursing down my cheek is one of joy and relief, so don't fret yourself over my condition.

Thursday News: Talking trash

RECYCLING DOWN IN NC AS SOLID WASTE PILES UP: Several counties around the state, including those in the Triangle, are buried underneath mounting piles of trash as local leaders figure out how to dig out from under a growing problem that, left unsolved, will only get worse. "We're doing our best to deal with these things," said John Roberson, who is solid waste director for Wake County. Wake and other local counties are each taking different routes to adequately deal with the thousands of tons of trash that is delivered to landfills and recycling centers. But according to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the amount of trash being taken to many county disposal sites is growing. North Carolina residents each year dispose of over $41 million worth of plastic. The state's residents toss nearly $17 million worth of steel products every year. About $270 million worth of goods that can be recycled is disposed of every year.
http://www.wral.com/trash-troubles-nc-counties-garbage-woes-mounting/17048673/

Coal Ash Wednesday: Not-so-sweet home Alabama

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Power company informs Wilsonville Council and residents about "cap and leak" plan:

Tensions rose at times during Monday's Wilsonville City Council meeting, as a group of Alabama Power representatives spoke with the council members and Wilsonville residents about the company's plans to cover the 269-acre coal ash pond at the nearby E.C. Gaston Electric Generating Plant.

Wilsonville Mayor Lee McCarty and a handful of audience members asked pointed questions of the Alabama Power delegation, though many in the audience simply listened.

Thanks to an appearance by representatives of the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) the day before, some pretty good questions were asked. But the answers they received were somewhere between vaguely misleading and downright lies:

Hall of shame: NC's Congressional delegation fails the test of decency

In a remarkable speech on the floor of the US Senate yesterday, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona called a spade a spade. Taking on Trump collaborators and enablers, he leveled damning criticism at his own party for failing to stop the descent into perversion that is happening before our eyes in America.

Wednesday News: Voting matters

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DEMOCRACY NC REPORT: 100 MUNICIPAL RACES WON BY JUST A FEW VOTES (OR ONE): A study from nonpartisan voting rights advocacy group Democracy North Carolina shows that just a handful of votes – or in some cases, a single vote – can determine who wins or loses, especially in odd-year municipal elections. Democracy North Carolina has been one of the most active groups in lawsuits and other actions opposing voter ID and other Republican-led election changes, and it also addresses issues of money in politics. It sometimes partners with the North Carolina NAACP. Democracy North Carolina analyzed November 2015 elections in the state and determined that the mayor or a town council member in 69 cities won their election by five or fewer votes.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article180619776.html

Tuesday News: Entrenched bigotry

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BERGER & MOORE REFUSE TO SETTLE LAWSUIT ON HB2.0 OUT OF SPITE FOR LGBT AND COOPER: Gov. Roy Cooper and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit — LGBT citizens and civil rights groups — asked U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder last week to approve a settlement that would end the litigation. But the agreement also would make it clear that transgender people can use restrooms aligned with the gender they identify with in state government buildings that Cooper controls. But House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger, who worked out a compromise with Cooper last spring on House Bill 2 and are defendants like Cooper, oppose the consent decree and wrote Monday they intend to file a motion to that effect. Meanwhile, they told Schroeder on Monday in a brief that the lawsuit against the replacement law known as HB142 should be thrown out because the plaintiffs haven't shown they've been injured by the new law.
http://www.wral.com/republican-legislators-opposing-lgbt-deal-want-lawsuit-over/17041379/

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This is not a bad idea...

I was at a local candidates' forum last night (I'm not running this year) and four different people asked me something along the lines of, "What's going on with the judges?" I didn't even know where to start, so I covered the making them all run every two years thing, and the possible referendum to get rid of elections and do Legislative appointments. One of those people blew my mind when he said, "So, they're going to make voters struggle through a long list of judicial races, and then ask them if making appointments is a better idea, huh? It will probably work." I hadn't thought of that combination, but it makes perfect sense, considering the GOP's devious nature.

Monday Numbers: On gold mines and shafts

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Chris Fitzsimon exposes the unfairness of GOP tax "reform":

20—amount in dollars of the average federal tax cuts in 2027 for households with children earning less than $75,000 under GOP tax framework released in late September.

230,000—amount in dollars of the average tax cuts in 2027 for households with children earning $1 million or more under GOP tax framework released in late September.

If this issue merely affected income tax rates, it would be bad enough. Even Reagan-era tax cuts gave a nod to the middle class, and his efforts to minimize deficit problems targeted tax shelters for the wealthy, and not deductions everybody used. But these new tax cuts rely heavily on deep cuts to the social safety net, Medicaid in particular:

Monday News: Toxic foxes in the hen house

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SCOTT PRUITT BRINGS IN CHEMICAL INDUSTRY REPS TO HELP RUN EPA: The chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, has been linked to kidney cancer, birth defects, immune system disorders and other serious health problems. So scientists and administrators in the EPA’s Office of Water were alarmed in late May when a top Trump administration appointee insisted upon the rewriting of a rule to make it harder to track the health consequences of the chemical, and therefore regulate it. The revision was among more than a dozen demanded by the appointee, Nancy B. Beck, after she joined the EPA’s toxic chemical unit in May as a top deputy. For the previous five years, she had been an executive at the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article180284996.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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MARCIA MOREY: LEGISLATIVE LEADERS MAKING POWER-GRAB TO CONTROL NC COURTS: This systematic attack on North Carolina’s judiciary by the power hungry oligarchy leading the General Assembly is a disgrace. Even former state Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr, a Republican, labeled this latest initiative a “continued effort to try and intimidate the judiciary,” in an interview with N.C. Policy Watch. He found it repugnant. Step by step, bill by bill, the courts are being dangled and toyed with by legislative puppet masters regardless of the fact that they are a constitutionally separate and co-equal branch of government. This is not about better justice for North Carolinians. It is about the legislative leadership’s anger over recent court decisions declaring many of their laws unconstitutional, particularly a decision that said they were voted into power by illegal, racially gerrymandered districts.
http://www.wral.com/marcia-morey-legislative-leaders-making-power-grab-to-control-n-c-courts/17032573/

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