Monday News: The great divide

POLITICAL POLARIZATION IN NORTH CAROLINA IS GROWING WORSE: North Carolina leaders across the political spectrum can agree on one thing: We’re extremely divided, huddled into opposing camps and unwilling to compromise, or even hear each other out. What they’re less sure of is why polarization seems to be getting worse, or what to do about it. There was a general sense of gloom among respondents that North Carolina and the U.S. are becoming more and more divided. Several themes resonated through answers from people on both sides of the political aisle: Civility in public debate is eroding, or already gone. People are stuck in echo chambers, hearing only ideas similar to their own, while social media spreads disinformation and rancor. Political parties have increasingly abandoned moderates and become more extreme, and fewer people are willing to listen to opposing viewpoints.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/influencers/article215575795.html

How you can help sustain Governor Cooper's veto

The foundation of democracy in NC is under attack, and GOP legislators think they can do whatever they want with no consequence. Legislators in flippable districts should want to think twice about over-riding Governor Cooper's latest veto. This editorial sums up the situation clearly, and names names. Check it out.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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DAVID PRICE: HOLDING TRUMP ACCOUNTABLE FOR HEARTLESS, INHUMANE MASS DEPORTATION AGENDA: At a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detention facility in Laredo, Texas, I had a disturbing conversation with a 36-year old from El Salvador who was fleeing explicit threats of violence from criminal gangs. Facing certain death at home, he embarked on a nearly 1,500-mile long journey to join his sister, who was legally residing in the United States. Unfortunately, due to recent unilateral action by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, credible claims of gang violence no longer qualify an individual for asylum in our country—one of many heartless steps the administration has taken to make it more difficult for the world’s persecuted and oppressed to seek refuge in the United States. The following day, I met with immigrant children, living without their parents in a shelter in San Antonio operated by the Catholic Archdiocese. I had the opportunity to speak to 15 girls between the ages of 5 and 16. The group included children who had been separated from their parents as a result of President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy, as well as children who had arrived unaccompanied at the border, fleeing desperate situations in their home countries.
https://www.wral.com/david-price-holding-trump-accountable-for-heartless-inhumane-mass-deportation-a...

From the archives: George Holding cast vote to protect family fortune

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Clearing the tracks for the gravy train:

Republican 2nd District Congressman George Holding voted for a handful of amendments two years ago to block federal funding for fair housing investigations similar to one targeting his family bank.

Congressional rules didn't forbid the votes, but ethics watchdogs said last week that Holding should have recused himself. Not doing so, "reflects poor judgment," said Paul S. Ryan, an attorney with Common Cause in Washington, D.C.

This article is almost a year old, making that particular vote three years ago. I had actually forgotten about this until I saw a Tweet referencing it, which highlights one of the more frustrating aspects of political watch-dogging. Elected officials like Holding thrive in a short attention span, fading memory environment, and usually their most egregious behaviors occur in non-election years. We can't count on mainstream media to resurrect these stories, unless some current issue calls for it. So it's up to the peanut gallery to poke those embers. Especially when they expose discriminatory practices:

Saturday News: Shameless hypocrisy

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GOVERNOR COOPER VETOES BILLS FROM SPECIAL SESSION SHENANIGANS: "These proposed constitutional amendments would dramatically weaken our system of checks and balances. The proposed amendments also use misleading and deceptive terms to describe them on the ballot," Cooper wrote in his veto message. "This bill compounds those problems by stopping additional information that may more accurately describe the proposed amendments on the ballot. Voters should not be further misled about the sweeping changes the General Assembly wants to put in the constitution." The second bill reverses a measure lawmakers approved a year ago as part of the GOP's decision to cancel judicial primaries this year while reworking trial court districts. The measure dropped the 90-day requirement for people to file as a candidate with a particular party.
https://www.wral.com/cooper-quickly-vetoes-both-bills-lawmakers-passed-in-special-session/17729364/

Manufacturing vs. installation: A hard look at the economics of Solar energy in the U.S.

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I recently took a brief tour of a NC Solar farm under construction, and got into a conversation with one of the supervisors about Trump's 30% tariffs on imported Solar panels. I was not surprised when he spoke favorably about the resulting increase in manufacturing jobs here in the U.S. as a result of said tariffs, because it is a very common misconception by those who support renewable energy. If you raised your eyebrows at that, you definitely need to continue reading. But before I get into the explanation, here's an article from 2009 to chew on:

Wacker Chemie AG will build a $1 billion plant in southeastern Tennessee that is estimated to create 500 green collar jobs in the region to manufacture hyperpure polycrystalline silicon, primary material used in the manufacture of solar panels...With the right policies and leadership from the government this sector is poised to take off and experience a long period of very rapid growth, becoming an important contributor to our nation’s electric energy mix and providing many tens of thousands of green collar jobs across the country.

Sounds promising, doesn't it? Unfortunately, it's a heck of a lot more complicated than it sounds. Follow me below the fold to find out why.

Friday News: Still sleazy after all these years

TOM FETZER TRIES TO BLACKBALL CHANCELLOR CANDIDATE WITH UNAUTHORIZED PROBE: Several members accused Fetzer, a Wilmington lobbyist and former Raleigh mayor, of breaching confidentiality by revealing the top contender’s name to a firm he sought out to look into the candidate’s background. Fetzer, who joined the meeting after it was underway, defended himself, saying there was “a misrepresentation of fact” on the candidate’s CV, or academic resume. Board member and former Chairman Lou Bissette said Fetzer’s behavior was “way outside the realm” of a board member’s role. What happened, he said, wasn’t right. “An individual member of our board took it upon himself to go out and locate some kind of firm to look into the particular candidate and a report was put together,” said Bissette, an Asheville lawyer. “It was sent to all of our board members approximately two hours before our board meeting. ...You know, we’re bound by confidentiality requirements ourselves. This was really an unauthorized disclosure of confidential search information to a third party.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article215590130.html

ACA Sabotage Will Result in Massive Premium Hikes for Familes

Data Shows Family of Four Will Pay an Average Increase of $4,210 In Health Care Premium Costs Thanks To Republican Sabotage of the ACA

North Carolinians For a Fair Economy is highlighting a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) showing how recent efforts by President Trump and Congressman George Holding to sabotage and repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) accounts for an average increase of $4210 in the health insurance premiums for a family of four in Congressman Holding’s own congressional district.

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