scharrison's blog

Tuesday Twitter roundup

In case you've been living under a rock:

Don't be the voter who lets "them" figure out who should run in November. You are them.

NC GOP double-bunks three of its elected women

Apparently they have too many women in office:

Incumbent lawmakers running for re-election are used to campaigning against primary challengers, but usually those challengers aren't other incumbents. But that's a situation four Republican state senators are facing this year after redistricting drew two incumbents each into District 45 and District 31. First-term Sen. Deanna Ballard, R-Watauga, faces off against three-term Sen. Shirley Randleman, R-Wilkes, in District 45, which includes Watauga, Wilkes, Avery and Alleghany counties and part of Surry County.

Nathan Miller, vice chairman of the Watauga County Republican Party, said a lot of people are frustrated with having a double-bunked district. "They're both highly qualified, they're both highly competent," Miller said. "Frankly, I don't know why they got double-bunked. ... They're both strong-willed females in the N.C. Senate. Why would you want to double-bunk them? Eventually one of them is going to lose."

If by "eventually" you mean tomorrow, then yes, eventually one of them will lose her seat. The other race mentioned (District 31) also has a double-bunked GOP woman (Joyce Krawiec), so that makes three out of the four unlucky candidates female. Because GOP values are either inscrutable or non-existent.

SC Democrats block statewide abortion ban

A little too close for comfort:

At 1 a.m. Friday, after three days of debate and facing a Democratic filibuster with no end in sight, Senate Republicans gave in. A bill that would have outlawed virtually all abortions in South Carolina was killed Friday morning after the Senate's GOP majority failed — on a fourth try — to sit down the Democrats who were keeping it from getting a final vote.

The bill made exceptions only for cases of rape, incest or serious medical emergencies. It would have outlawed some 97 percent of the roughly 5,700 abortions performed each year in South Carolina.

For those of you still working under the misconception Republicans would never actually succeed in outlawing abortion, that they're just using the issue to garner votes from the fundamentalist crowd, this should set you right. If Democrats had not held fast on their filibuster, South Carolina women would be on the road to the Handmaid's Tale. And in answer to your next question (What about Roe V. Wade?), engineering a Supreme Court challenge is likely exactly what they were trying to do. Iowa Republicans have openly admitted that was why they just passed their "fetal heartbeat" bill, which would ban abortions after six weeks:

DEQ unveils new Environmental Justice & Equity Board

Something that's been a long time coming:

Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan announced the membership of the Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board today. Its 16 members, inclusive of diverse racial, ethnic, gender and socio-economic backgrounds, plans to meet quarterly. Its charge is to advise Regan and DEQ on how to ensure all North Carolinians can enjoy clean air, water and land in their neighborhoods.

Since appointed by Gov. Cooper, Regan said his priority “has always been same — to redefine the agency’s purpose. It’s no secret that I wasn’t satisfied with the mission we inherited. It downplayed the protection of people and no, it did not reflect my vision and the governor’s vision of inclusivity.”

He said a mouthful with that last sentence. DENR did not (in my opinion) pay enough attention to "where" potentially polluting industries were sited, when it comes to the socioeconomic class of people affected, anyway. That was before the scourge of McCrory, where the dynamic duo of John Skvarla and Donald van der Vaart played the Citizens United card by elevating industry to the same level (or above) regular citizens by labeling them as "customers" and not potential bad actors that needed close watching. As to environmental justice, I'ma just quote myself to save some time:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Virginia defies Scott Pruitt's rollback of CCR rules

coalashhand2.png

Providing Roy Cooper a blueprint to do the same:

Virginia's governor says the state has no plans to change its coal ash management practices, despite an Environmental Protection Agency plan to roll back regulations governing the byproduct generated by coal-burning power plants. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement Tuesday that the Department of Environmental Quality will maintain its program for regulating coal ash.

The announcement from Northam comes after the EPA announced in March that it was rewriting the rules. It said at the time that the change would save utilities $100 million annually in compliance costs and give states more flexibility in enforcement. Critics said the changes would weaken protections for human health and the environment. The state also filed written comments with EPA, urging the agency not to weaken the rule.

Just a little background: It took several years from the point the EPA announced it was (finally) going to develop rules for storage and disposal of coal ash, and the actual rules being enacted. Reams of research, thousands of hours of testimony and feedback from the public and utilities went into this before it was promulgated. And the end result was (of course) weaker than many of us had hoped. But not weak enough for Scott Pruitt, apparently. He would have done this regardless, but this petition by a couple of utility groups set the formal process in motion:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Right Congressional action, wrong target:

That's right, Mark Meadows just might be a traitor himself. Trying to impeach the Deputy Attorney General because he refuses to do what the Attorney General *can't* do, fire the Special Counsel investigating Russian efforts to subvert the American electoral process. Good lord.

Justin Burr's mysterious crusade against sitting judges

Hat-tip to NC Policy Watch for exploring this nonsense:

More than 100 judges with thousands of years of combined experience could be wiped from the North Carolina bench by a bail bond agent who has served less than a decade in the General Assembly, and no one really knows why. Many judges learned of their potential unemployment on Twitter last summer when Rep. Justin Burr (a private bail bond agent by profession) unveiled his surprise judicial redistricting plan. They’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on ever since.

“It’s stressful because it’s created this cloud of anxiety since June about what are they going to do next. Do I have to move? What do I have to do?” said District Court Judge Robin Wicks Robinson, who serves New Hanover and Pender counties. “There is a powerlessness feeling and feeling of anxiety that overwhelms.”

Understand, double-bunking at such a high rate does not happen by accident, it requires a design. An intentional effort to create a new batch of judges in a system that is already crushed under poor funding and a growing caseload. And it should come as no surprise that the people who will suffer the most under this plan are on the low end of the economic spectrum:

Jason Saine and the ALEC Emperor's new clothes

See below for the stylish details:

Deported combat veteran dies on the way back to the U.S.

We should be ashamed of ourselves:

Veteran Lance Cpl. Enrique Salas' flag-draped casket was loaded into a hearse with a Marine Corps seal and two miniature American flags protruding from either window. Salas finally made it home to the central San Joaquin Valley in California the only way he could. The Persian Gulf War veteran, who was deported to Mexico in 2006, was buried with military honors in a Reedley cemetery on April 20 beside his younger brother, another fallen Marine.

Salas is among up to 1,500 U.S. veterans who have been deported, Franco said, with an estimated 200 to 300 alive and known by the Committee on Deported Veterans. Franco, who is running for Congress against incumbent Rep. Devin Nunes, said it's hard to get an exact number because immigration officials and the Department of Veterans Affairs don't keep track of how many deportees are veterans.

This is a tragedy, but it''s also a travesty. You put your life on the line for *your* country, the absolute least they should do is grant you citizenship. I'll leave it at that for now, because my blood is boiling and I don't trust my typing fingers to hold back.

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