Nantahala old-growth trees in jeopardy of being cut down

Some people can't see the individual trees for the forest:

The U.S. Forest Service plans to harvest the majority of trees at 16 sites in Nantahala National Forest beginning next year as part of its Southside Project.

Conservation organizations argue the trees at several of these sites represent exceptionally older and rarer growth than the Forest Service has recognized and are calling for the project to be withdrawn or revised after the Forest Service completes the revision of its land management plan for the Pisgah and Nantahala national forests in Western North Carolina, a draft of which is expected later this year.

Before you jump to any conclusions, this is one of those issues where there might not actually be a "bad guy" to oppose. Forests are more than just a collection of trees, they are ecosystems, supporting life in various forms. And in order to adapt to climate change, the types of trees growing there might need to change, as well. All that being said, a tree that has survived for 200 years should be recognized and preserved:

Monday News: Welcome to Gilead

PERSONAL STORIES OF RAPE TOLD DURING DEBATE OF SC'S FETAL HEARTBEAT BILL: A bill was being debated that would ban all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected; Mace, a Republican lawmaker, wanted to add an exception for rape and incest. When some of her colleagues in the House dismissed her amendment — some women invent rapes to justify seeking an abortion, they claimed — she could not restrain herself. “For some of us who have been raped, it can take 25 years to get up the courage and talk about being a victim of rape,” Mace said, gripping the lectern so hard she thought she might pull it up from the floor. “My mother and my best friend in high school were the only two people who knew.” As one Republican legislature after another has pressed ahead with restrictive abortion bills in recent months, they have been confronted with raw and emotional testimony about the consequences of such laws. Female lawmakers and other women have stepped forward to tell searing, personal stories — in some cases speaking about attacks for the first time to anyone but a loved one or their closest friend.
https://www.thetimesnews.com/zz/news/20190519/female-lawmakers-speak-about-rapes-as-abortion-bills-a...

Four stories of organizing

I used to be an organizer. That was my profession. I'm not any more. Those jobs are largely centered in and around Raleigh, DC, and other major cities and I'm sticking to Winston-Salem. I'm still an activist though. In fact, just last week I led the charge with the help of some great people in officially organizing the LGBTQ Democrats of Forsyth County. It was actually a year in the making of conversations and relationship building. I thought that was important in 2019, 50 years after Stonewall, and ahead of the 2020 elections.

I've been doing some writing this weekend. I don't know if anyone would enjoy my stories of organizing. I'm sure bits and pieces of them have appeared on Blue NC before over the years in real time. Memories ebb and flow over time, and like all good stories they change a little with each retelling, but I thought there was some value in writing a few of these down as best I remembered them. Maybe stories have a place on a blog. Let me know what you think. Maybe I'll write out some more. I have a lot of them.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC NEEDS CONSCIENCE IN CONGRESS, NOT TRUMP CULT FOLLOWERS: Today we have a president who seems unable to tell the truth to Congress, and who lies daily to the American people. Republicans in the North Carolina delegation sit quietly as Trump lies about his China tariffs, saying that China is sending billions of dollars to the United States. American importers and consumers know that is not true. We pay those billions. This is not about politics. This is about whether the leaders of our congressional delegation have moral values that require support for the truth and expect the president to comply. If the leaders of North Carolina’s congressional delegation are so mesmerized by Donald Trump that they will not speak to the truth of what the president says, they don’t need to be taking up space in our Capitol.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-n-c-needs-conscience-in-congress-not-trump-cult-followers/18392301/

Trump's tax giveaway for the wealthy is squeezing poor college students

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Whether it's a flaw or a feature, it needs to be fixed asap:

A little-noticed provision in President Trump’s sprawling new tax law is treating middle- and low-income college students as if they are trust-fund babies, taxing sizable financial aid packages at a rate first established 33 years ago to prevent wealthy parents from funneling money to their children to lower their tax burdens.

Students with large financial aid packages are finding their nontuition assistance for items such as room and board taxed by as much as 37 percent, even if their family income tax rates are much lower.

Do the math. A poor kid receiving $11,000 a year for room and board is coughing up $4,000 of that in taxes. If that's "winning" I'd hate to see what happens when we start losing. This should not have come as such a surprise to lawmakers, because they've already been raked over the coals for over-taxing survivor benefits for Gold Star families:

Saturday News: With friends like that...

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DESPITE HIS HORRIBLE RECORD, GROUP CLAIMS TILLIS IS LGBTQ-FRIENDLY: As speaker of the N.C. House, Thom Tillis helped place a ban on same-sex marriages in the state constitution and then defended the amendment in court. As a U.S. senator, Tillis has consistently received low marks for his voting records on gay rights from the nation’s largest gay and lesbian civil rights organization. But in an invitation for a fundraiser this week in D.C., Tillis was touted as “a pro-LGBTQ Republican” by the conservative gay rights group hosting the event. American Unity Fund, which wants to make the conservative case for gay Americans, hosted the fundraiser to benefit Tillis and five other Republican congressional incumbents, including Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Susan Collins of Maine. “On all the votes that have mattered since he has been in the U.S. Senate, he has not voted with the LGBTQ community,” said Ames Simmons, policy director at Equality NC.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article230492919.html

I don't care

I don't care if you want to stay home and make babies.
I don't care if you want to breastfeed.
I don't care whether you marry a man or a woman, no matter who you are.
I don't care if you're a stay-at-home husband.
I don't care how many guns you have, as long as they're not machine guns.
I don't care if you have an abortion.
I don't care if you go to church.
I don't care if you home school your children.
I don't care if you decide to end your own life.
I do care if you fail to protect children.
I do care if you don't pay your taxes.
I do care if you try to control my body.
I do care if you exploit your public office for personal gain.

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