scharrison's blog

Cooper Veto imminent on GOP's court-packing scheme

Trying to defend the Separation of Powers:

The General Assembly passed House Bill 239 this week, which would reduce the Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12 and add more than 100 cases per year to the state Supreme Court’s workload. Gov. Roy Cooper plans to veto the legislation.

“The Republican effort to reduce the number of judges on the Court of Appeals should be called out for exactly what it is – their latest power-grab, aimed at exerting partisan influence over the judicial branch and laying the groundwork for future court-packing,” states a press memo from his office.

This is more than just a political ploy; Republicans are, in essence, eroding the rights of citizens to receive justice, by intentionally overburdening the system to justify changing the makeup of the Supreme Court. It's not unlike a fireman engaging in arson so he can get a pay raise. The GOP wants to dominate the Supreme Court however they can accomplish it, and if that means your case doesn't get heard for another year or two, oh well. If you were wrongfully imprisoned, just eat your three square meals a day and shut the hell up.

Ugly as sin: Blackwater's Erik Prince conspired to murder witnesses to his crimes

erikprince.jpg

It's long past time this psychopath was put behind bars:

The former employee, identified in the court documents as “John Doe #2,” is a former member of Blackwater’s management team, according to a source close to the case. Doe #2 alleges in a sworn declaration that, based on information provided to him by former colleagues, “it appears that Mr. Prince and his employees murdered, or had murdered, one or more persons who have provided information, or who were planning to provide information, to the federal authorities about the ongoing criminal conduct.”

John Doe #2 says he worked at Blackwater for four years; his identity is concealed in the sworn declaration because he “fear[s] violence against me in retaliation for submitting this Declaration.” He also alleges, “On several occasions after my departure from Mr. Prince’s employ, Mr. Prince’s management has personally threatened me with death and violence.”

Aside from the invasion of Iraq itself, hiring mercenaries to work there is one of the biggest sins I will never forgive George W. Bush for committing.

Activists blame DCCC for loss in Kansas Congressional race

The establishment is always a handy punching bag:

After a longshot Democratic candidate came within seven points of winning a Kansas district that has been Republican for more than 20 years, progressive strategists blamed the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for not putting enough money and resources into the race, and national operatives more broadly for too little attention.

"To the Washington Democratic insiders who wrote this race off before it began, it’s time to wake up and realize that the grassroots expects this resistance effort to be waged unflinchingly in every single county and every single state across the country,” said Jim Dean, president of Democracy for America, a progressive advocacy group.

I saw a lot of excitement about this race on social media over the last several weeks, so about a week ago I decided to look at the demographics in that district. The former incumbent (Mike Pompeo), whom Trump tapped to lead the CIA, had won the last three elections by a whopping 30% margin over his Democratic opponents. Even with a new, virtually unknown Republican running to fill that seat, it would have been almost impossible for a Democrat to win. But Ron Estes had already won a state-wide race for Treasurer, so he was fairly well known. All that being said, the DCCC needs to look at more than just statistics, it also needs to be aware of energy and interest, and be ready to act when opportunities present themselves:

Duke University rethinking construction of natural gas facility

Taking a step back to evaluate their options:

For a university that has always been protective of its global reputation, contributing to global greenhouse gases through a natural gas plant is no way to burnish that image. That’s one of the conclusions of a Duke University Campus Sustainability Subcommittee, which released a report on a proposed combined heat-and- power natural gas plant today.

As a result, university Executive Vice President Tallman Trask announced that the board of trustees won’t vote as scheduled on a new $55 million, 21-megawatt combined heat and power natural gas plant on campus.

It's good they're taking a long, hard look at this project. I was going to say, "It's about time," but I don't want to look a gift academic horse in the mouth. But timeliness aside, there was one particular point I was looking for in the Subcommittee's report, and I found it:

Mark Meadows: Poster child for ending gerrymandering

We need to build a wall to keep people like him out:

There have been some predictions of a shutdown based on statements from some congressmen that they don’t want to fund a border wall with Mexico as part of a bill to keep the government going, the fear that some conservative House members like Meadows will use the occasion to get concessions on one issue or the other or the possibility of a debate over a ban on funds for Planned Parenthood.

Meadows predicted that Congress will approve funds for a border wall and increases for the military and Department of Homeland Security along with funds to keep the government going and dismissed the idea of a shutdown.

Anti-immigration, anti-abortion, and more money to bomb the shit out of Muslims. When these are your main priorities, you have no business being allowed into the Capitol Building, much less filing bills and voting and such. We've got a lot of work to do.

Please support HB200, non-partisan redistricting Commission

It may be the only way to save our democracy:

No district shall be drawn for the purpose of favoring a political party, incumbent legislator, or member of Congress, or other person or group, or for the purpose of augmenting or diluting the voting strength of a language or racial minority group. In establishing districts, no use shall be made of any of the addresses or geographic locations of incumbents.

Except to the extent required by the North Carolina and United States Constitutions, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and applicable court decisions, no use shall be made of:

(1) Political affiliations of registered voters.
(2) Previous election results.
(3) Demographic information, other than population head counts."

At our Alamance County Democratic Party Convention yesterday, Pete Glidewell (recent Congressional candidate in NC's 6th District) made an eloquent and impassioned argument on the dangers of partisan gerrymandering. This is not a "new" problem by any stretch of the imagination, we've been living with the consequences of blatant partisan gerrymandering since the 2012 Election. And while there have been some promising developments on the legal front, we're over halfway to the next round of redistricting following the 2020 Election, and we need to fix this thing if we can. Here are some stats Pete provided to drive that home:

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