NC's tobacco farmers get the shaft in Trump's trade war

When your market is destroyed and nobody wants to help you:

The USDA lists more than two dozen crops that are eligible for the payments, but tobacco is not included among them due to federal rules that preclude the crop from receiving federal funds to promote its sale or export. “Tobacco did not receive one penny of that money,” said Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau. “And I’ve got news for you, the new money that’s coming out, tobacco is not going to share in that either.”

Wooten said that North Carolina farmers exported $162 million worth of tobacco products to China in 2017. In 2018, that figure was $4 million. He said the state’s farmers this year have planted the smallest crop of tobacco since before World War II.

I hesitated to write about this because I realize that probably 95% of the people reading don't care, and a good portion of you would love to see NC stop growing tobacco entirely. I get that. But that unbelievable drop in exports listed above is a stark reminder of just how dangerous this President is to our economy. And like it or not, tobacco was one of the main drivers of NC's economic growth for centuries. Follow below the fold for a mostly pointless and boring personal anecdote:

Wednesday News: Throw away the key

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BALLOT HARVESTER DOWLESS FACES NEW ROUND OF CRIMINAL CHARGES: Leslie McCrae Dowless was charged with two counts of felony obstruction of justice, perjury, solicitation to commit perjury, conspiracy to obstruct justice and possession of absentee ballot, the document showed. Dowless was previously indicted on charges related to an absentee ballot harvesting operation he allegedly ran in Bladen County in 2016 and during the 2018 primary. His earlier charges include three counts of felonious obstruction of justice, two counts of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and two counts of possession of an absentee ballot. Dowless remains free on a $30,000 bond and is expected to turn himself in for processing on the new charges. Six of Dowless’ associates were also indicted and are expected to turn themselves in.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article233308957.html

Tuesday News: Trust but verify

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NC BOARD OF ELECTIONS IS LEANING TOWARDS "READABLE PAPER BALLOTS": Anderson, Black and Carmon want to add new language to the state’s rules specifying that any voting machines used in North Carolina “shall produce human-readable marks on a paper ballot.” That’s in response to concerns raised by members of the public, including at a Sunday night meeting, that some of the machines in question would only produce a barcode printout — which most people wouldn’t be able to read to make sure that the touchscreen machine had correctly recorded their vote. Lynn Bernstein, a Wake County resident who has advocated for paper ballots, said after the meeting that she agrees with the vote to delay the decision. “It allows North Carolina to have the most secure elections in the United States,” she said. But Cordle, the board chairman, told the board he is worried about what the delay means for local officials scrambling to make arrangements for 2020. “I think the counties are going to be running into a real problem,” he said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article233278201.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This is what you do with bad legislation:

If they want to expand, they need to start by fixing their problems. But frankly, this "pilot" is about to crash that plane...

Stifling dissent: WUNC-TV set to cancel NC Spin

And once again, this behavior is usually associated with 3rd world dictatorships:

After almost 22 years on the air, the political debate show “NC Spin” will end on UNC-TV after its contract is up this year. Tom Campbell, the show’s founder and host, told The News & Observer this week that he learned of the decision in an email from UNC-TV’s interim director Kevin Fitzgerald last Friday.

Campbell thinks the show was essentially canceled because it had been critical of the UNC Board of Governors and its treatment of former UNC System presidents Tom Ross and Margaret Spellings, former UNC-Chapel Hill chancellor Carol Folt and former East Carolina University chancellor Cecil Staton.

While there may have been an occasional controversial statement made by guests on the show, Tom Campbell has managed (well) to keep it balanced and informative. The truth is, the UNC BOG has made many questionable decisions, and has operated in a plainly partisan fashion on more than one occasion. Talking about that isn't "out of line," it's something everybody involved with UNC should be doing, from students to professors to alumni, and all points in-between. And to get rid of Tom's show while keeping this one:

Monday News: #StopRDUQuarry

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OPPOSITION MOUNTS TO RDU PLANS FOR UMSTEAD ROCK QUARRY: Opponents of a planned quarry on 105 acres of airport land next to Umstead State Park are hoping that a lawsuit filed in Wake County will stop the project. But they’ve also waged a public relations campaign against the quarry. And with local elections coming up this fall, that effort is becoming more political. On Saturday, quarry opponents held a rally at the park, urging people to elect candidates in Raleigh who will work to stop the project. Opponents say the four local governments should have more say about the lease, but so far none of them have moved to intervene. A proposal in the Raleigh City Council asking the authority to reconsider the lease failed when only four of the eight council members voted for it.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article233175711.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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RECKLESS PERSONAL ATTACKS HARM EFFORTS TO RESOLVE STATE HEALTH PLAN: At the same time Folwell announced what he termed his “final offer,” the State Employees Association of North Carolina, a key Folwell ally in his effort, launched a mean-spirited personal attack on Michael Waldrum – the CEO of Vidant Health – the system that serves 29 counties in eastern North Carolina and operates the teaching hospital for Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. The video mocks Waldrum as greedy and selfish. It complains that he seeks a “profit” for the non-profit health care system. Vidant’s operations are overseen by a board that has a fiduciary responsibility to maintain financial viability. This isn’t just about Waldrum. It is the board and Waldrum who must do the right things for the non-profit’s operations, for the employees and the patients. The reality is that without that “profit” many of those the system serves in the poorest region of the state will go without any care at all.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-reckless-personal-attacks-harm-efforts-to-resolve-state-health-plan/1...

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