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Monday News: Gerrymandering on trial


REDISTRICTING LAWSUITS PILE UP ON U.S. SUPREME COURT DOCKET: The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday on a lawsuit alleging partisan gerrymandering in the drawing of a Maryland congressional district. Eight years after the 2010 Census provided the basis for legislative redistricting, several other cases alleging unconstitutional gerrymandering in various states also are still working their way through the court system. In Pennsylvania, a recent court ruling reshaped congressional districts for this year's elections. But many of the other cases could have a greater impact in the years to come. That's because they could set precedents that states must follow during the next round of redistricting after the 2020 Census.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


YES, JOHN BOLTON REALLY IS THAT DANGEROUS: The good thing about John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, is that he says what he thinks. The bad thing is what he thinks. There are few people more likely than Bolton is to lead the country into war. His selection is a decision that is as alarming as any Trump has made. His selection, along with the nomination of the hard-line CIA director, Mike Pompeo, as secretary of state, shows the degree to which Trump is indulging his worst nationalistic instincts. Bolton, in particular, believes the United States can do what it wants without regard to international law, treaties or the political commitments of previous administrations.

Saturday News: Heartless


CHICKEN PLANT AT CENTER OF MOORE ETHICS COMPLAINT PLANS TO EVICT IMMIGRANT FAMILIES: Ana Monter's family brought her to the United States when she was a child, like many other immigrants chasing the American dream. But they were so poor as she was growing up that she started working in a Chatham County chicken factory at age 15 to help support her family. She dropped out of school to work full-time and eventually saved up enough money to start a family and buy a mobile home of her own, just yards away from the factory in Siler City. Now, she's terrified the new owners of that factory — which has received millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded incentives to re-open the plant — are about to condemn her and her children to homelessness.

Friday News: Airborne GenX


DEQ TO DEPLOY RAINWATER MONITORS TO BETTER TRACK CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION: State researchers plan to install long-term rain catchers around the Chemours facility in Bladen County and in other far-flung locations around North Carolina in a stepped-up effort to isolate chemicals from the plant that are appearing in rain. The new devices also have motion sensors so that they're only open when it rains, allowing scientists to test rainwater and "dry deposits" separately. Tests have already found GenX, a compound Chemours uses to make Teflon and other products, in rain as far away as Wilmington. But at only one site, just east of Chemours' Fayetteville Works, has the concentration found been above the state's best guess at a safe level of the poorly understood industrial chemical.

Thursday News: And then there were nine


WOODHOUSE THREATENS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AFTER COOPER APPOINTS CIRCOSTA: Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday evening he had appointed Circosta to the ninth seat on the Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement. The wrangling on the way to agreement on two nominees reflected the long power struggle between Cooper, a Democrat, and the Republican-run legislature, which moved to change the board after Cooper won office in 2016. Cooper has sued over the changes three times, most recently this month. But Dallas Woodhouse, the NC Republican Party executive director, said Republicans will talk about asking the legislature to consider a constitutional amendment to allow "a fully bipartisan board," with an even number of Democrats and Republicans.

Wednesday News: "Win Bonus"?


TILLIS CAMPAIGN PAID CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA $100,000 POST-ELECTION: Tillis’ campaign committee paid the firm $10,000 on Oct. 21, 2014, and $20,000 on Nov. 6, 2014. It made four payments of $25,000 throughout 2015 to Cambridge Analytica, according to Federal Election Commission filings. A Tillis spokesman called the $100,000 in post-election payments a "win bonus." Cambridge Analytica boasts of its work for Tillis and the NC Republican Party on its website, saying that it used its "unique data-rich voter file" to predict partisanship, turnout, and build "psychographic profiles of all voters in North Carolina." The company said it identified national security as the major issue among the majority of targeted voters.

Tuesday News: The "Big Mac" argument? Really?

DUKE ENERGY ATTORNEY SAYS PEOPLE CAN SKIP MCDONALD'S TO COVER RATE HIKE: Duke Energy customers facing a rate hike regardless of how much electricity they use shouldn't be too worried, because it's just the price of a McDonald's value meal each month, a company attorney said Monday. "One extra Big Mac, fries and a drink," Duke Deputy General Counsel Bo Somers said during the company's ongoing rate increase hearing before the North Carolina Utilities Commission. Somers was pushing back against claims that the company's rate hikes, meant to raise billions of dollars in new revenue over the next 10 years, would be a hardship for some. Attorneys seeking to block state regulatory approval of the company's full request have keyed at times on Duke's basic facilities charge – the fee customers pay each month just to be hooked into the company's electric grid.

Monday News: Red flags waving


ATTEMPTS WERE MADE TO GET PARKLAND SHOOTER COMMITTED BACK IN 2016: Officials were so concerned about the mental stability of the student accused of last month’s Florida schoolmassacre that they decided he should be forcibly committed. But the recommendation was never acted upon. A commitment under the law would have made it more difficult if not impossible for Nikolas Cruz to obtain a gun legally. Cruz is accused of the shooting rampage that killed 14 students and three school employees at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14. In addition, 17 people were wounded. But more than a year earlier, documents in the criminal case against Nikolas Cruz and obtained by The Associated Press show school officials and a sheriff’s deputy recommended in September 2016 that Cruz be involuntarily committed for a mental evaluation.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


FARR'S NOMINATION MAKES THE WRONG STATEMENT: From 2009 through 2016 two highly qualified African-American women -- Jennifer May-Parker and Patricia Timmons-Goodson – were nominated to fill the judgeship. Sen. But they were NEVER even considered – no committee hearings, no committee votes and no debate by the U.S. Senate. Richard Burr insulted the people of the eastern part of the state by ignoring the two nominees. Now, President Donald Trump’s added to the insult with his nomination of Thomas Farr. Why? Farr, as a counselor and adviser for the late U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms’ political operations and most recently to the state’s Republican Party, assisted in both developing and later defending, strategies, tactics and laws that were designed to discriminate against and diminish the impact of minority voters. The facts speak for themselves.


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