Monday News: Join the club

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SCHUMER HAS 'SOME DOUBTS' ABOUT SENATE INTELLIGENCE CHAIR BURR (NBC News) -- — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Sunday morning that he has "some doubts about" Richard Burr, the North Carolina Republican senator and chairman of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, which is looking into Russia's attempts to influence the last election. Burr "first denied that they should even investigate," Schumer charged during an exclusive interview on NBC's "Meet The Press." Schumer also responded to Trump's series of tweets on Saturday that alleged President Obama ordered a wiretap of communications at Trump Tower before the election. The suggestion was "beneath the dignity of the presidency," Schumer said. "It is something that really hurts people's view of government. It's 'civilization-warping,' as Ben Sasse, a conservative Republican, called it. And I don't know of any president, Democrat or Republican in the past, who has done this. It shows this president doesn't know how to conduct himself."
http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/chuck-schumer-has-some-doubts-about-senate-inteligence...

When We Rise

Just finished watching the When We Rise four-episode mini-series. It has been airing on ABC this week, but is also available on Hulu, which is how I saw it. At the end of one of the episodes, Cleve Jones asks what the current generation has gone through and done for gay liberation. That naturally made me think through my own political experiences in this area, which of course is only one facet of my broader activism interests.

Sunday News: Cause & effect version

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WATER OPTIONS OFFERED TO RESIDENTS NEAR LUMBERTON COAL ASH SITE (Fayetteville Observer) -- Duke Energy is offering residents who live near a coal ash site $5,000 if they agree not to sue the company. The offer was discussed during a meeting Wednesday when Duke Energy officials talked to the residents about ways the company can provide water to them.
http://www.fayobserver.com/news/20170301/water-options-offered-to-residents-near-lumberton-coal-ash-...

DUKE ENERGY CEO’S PAY JUMPED 27 PERCENT TO $13.8 MILLION LAST YEAR (Charlotte Observer) -- Duke Energy chairman and CEO Lynn Good’s pay jumped 27 percent last year to about $13.8 million, the company said Friday in its shareholder proxy statement.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article136276868.html

Tillis MIA too

Richard Burr is rightfully getting skewered for allowing our democracy to be held ransom to Russian oligarchs, but don't forget there's another senator supposedly representing North Carolina, Thom Tillis. Though a lightweight in his first term, Tillis is nonetheless a United States Senator, and as such, has enormous power should he choose to exercise it.

Saturday News: Gerrymandering goes to trial

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LAWSUITS TESTING POLITICAL GERRYMANDERING CLAIMS MOVE TO SUMMER TRIAL (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Two lawsuits questioning the breadth to which N.C. lawmakers can design congressional districts for partisan gain are on path toward a summer trial. A panel of three federal judges issued a ruling on Friday rejecting a request by state lawmakers to dismiss the cases filed last year by Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of North Carolina, two organizations that have been critical of partisan gerrymandering by both parties. The federal judges — James Wynn of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama) and U.S. District Judges William Osteen Jr. (appointed by Republican President George W. Bush) and W. Earl Britt (appointed by Democratic President Jimmy Carter) — noted the novelty of the arguments put forward in the cases challenging the maps drawn and approved by the Republican-led General Assembly in 2016. But they also noted “obstacles the plaintiffs must overcome to prevail.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article136347448.html

Environmental Injustice: Public comment stifled on Richmond County Enviva project

Tearing down the forests is apparently not enough, now they're muzzling the opposition:

A press conference will be held by The Concerned Citizens of Richmond County, a local citizen engagement group, to voice concerns about the health and environmental concerns of locating an Enviva wood pellet facility in this predominantly black community. Concerned residents have on multiple occasions attempted to address the county with their concerns, and have been repeatedly denied. On March 7th, the Richmond County Commissioners will hold their monthly meeting, and representatives from Enviva will appear to speak on the agenda. The Concerned Citizens of Richmond County have once again been denied the opportunity to speak during the public comment section.

Concerned citizens fear this facility will create harmful particulate matter and pollutants, will create constant noise and disrupt their quality of life, and clog up roads with dangerous truck traffic. The County has offered Enviva $1.6 million in direct cash incentives and property tax breaks of up to 85%, which residents oppose as a wasteful expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

Press conference is this Tuesday (3/7), and there will be a rally March 25th. Please spread the word about both, because this issue touches on both deforestation and environmental justice, not to mention the stifling of public comment. The Richmond County Commissioners have set up pretty zany rules about what you can say and when:

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