Thursday News: Performance art

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REPUBLICANS HOLD KANGAROO COURT OVER COOPER'S PIPELINE MITIGATION FUND: State legislators will hire an investigator to review Gov. Roy Cooper administration's handling of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline amid Republican suggestions that the governor may have extorted Duke Energy for millions over a key project permit. The decision came at the end of the second legislative committee meeting in a row on the controversy during which Republican lawmakers essentially asked rhetorical questions from a lectern. No one from the administration was there to answer. The Governor's Office said Republicans "staged another bizarre kangaroo court to score political points." Cooper has repeatedly denied the pay-to-play accusations, which Republican leaders present not as fact, but as open questions that the administration won't answer to their satisfaction.
https://www.wral.com/legislature-putting-investigator-onto-cooper-administration-over-atlantic-coast...

The Nazi next door: White Supremacy on the rise

And the mentally ill seem to be more susceptible:

A Cary police officer and an FBI agent met with Warden two days before the incident at the synagogue to discuss fliers that appeared twice in Cary neighborhoods in October, according to the application for a warrant to search Warden's home on Preston Grove Avenue.

On Oct. 16, fliers were found at homes on Roebling Lane that contained a swastika, the words "Aryan Youth" and a link to a channel on the online music-sharing platform Soundcloud that contained neo-Nazi music, the application states. Two days later, at least 60 fliers were in Cary with a swastika and the statement, "White man, are you sick and tired of the Jews destroying your country through mass immigration and degeneracy? Join us in the struggle for global white supremacy at the Daily Stormer."

It's long past time to shut down that particular website. I've held my nose and lurked a few times, and they have mastered the use of code words to (barely) conceal their hatred for blacks and Jews. But that platform (unless I'm mistaken) also provides the capability for private messaging, and even private "group" messaging. I haven't explored either Gab or 4Chan, and don't plan to, but it's safe to say that these platforms serve as an incubator for domestic terrorists. If law enforcement discovered al-Qaeda or Daesh (Islamic State) operating sites like this in the U.S., there would be a fricking task force rounding them up for an express trip to Guantanamo. But this dude will probably get probation:

Wednesday News: Packed and cracked

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LAWSUIT FILED TO REDRAW NC'S GERRYMANDERED LEGISLATIVE MAPS: Common Cause and the North Carolina Democratic Party are suing for state House and Senate districts to be redrawn for the 2020 election, claiming the districts are partisan gerrymanders that violate the state constitution. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday morning in Wake County Superior Court against state legislative leaders and the state elections board. It will likely eventually be heard in the state Supreme Court. With the election of Anita Earls last week, Democrats will hold a 5-2 advantage on the state’s highest court. “North Carolina’s state legislative maps are among the worst partisan gerrymanders in North Carolina’s history, and indeed, in American history,” said Stanton Jones, a lawyer with the Washington, D.C., law firm Arnold & Porter.
https://www.newsobserver.com/article221551975.html

Tuesday News: Here come the bulldozers

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DESPITE PENDING LAWSUITS, ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION UNDERWAY: Land is being cleared in Cumberland County for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but opponents still hope to stop the project. Bridget Munger, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Quality, said company officials received a stormwater permit for the contractor’s yard in Cumberland County last month. “They have received the required environmental permits and approvals to proceed with work on the project,” she said. Aaron Ruby, a spokesman for Dominion Energy, said the company building the pipeline also has gotten the needed federal permits. “We’re moving full steam ahead,” he said. Mac Legerton, a Robeson County minister who opposes the pipeline, said two lawsuits — one each in federal court and state court — are challenging the project. “This situation is long from over,” he said.
https://www.fayobserver.com/news/20181112/workers-make-way-for-atlantic-coast-pipeline

Tuesday Twitter roundup

No respite for the weary:

I don't even want to speculate what kind of mischief BergerMoore will get up to this time. In the past, they've always floated rumors about some heinous act of repression, and then bait-and-switched it to something (slightly) less horrible. As if playing games with our democracy is a form of recreation, as opposed to an incredibly shameful act.

Massive Solar farm planned near Elizabeth City

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Duke Energy's monopoly is about to get a little thinner:

Pasquotank County officials find themselves in a quandary over whether to welcome or discourage a proposed solar farm that would be one of the largest east of the Mississippi River. Adani Solar USA of Texas plans to build a 2,940-acre solar farm stretching more than four miles on agricultural land along U.S. 17 west of Elizabeth City. The site would operate as Birchwood Solar.

The project would lie within sight of a 104 turbine wind farm – the largest in the state – and could set Elizabeth City apart as a hot bed for renewable energy in North Carolina. The company’s application did not specify the projected megawatt production or the amount of investment, but a project in Currituck County of 500,000 solar panels on 2,000 acres produces 120 megawatts, which can power about 13,000 homes. The $250 million Currituck site generates about $225,000 annually in tax revenues.

I hesitate to say anything before the new General Assembly is sworn in come January, but this (could be) a prime example of how important flipping that Veto-proof majority is. Republicans are reactionary by nature, and no doubt conservatives are already planning to fight this record-breaking renewable energy project. It also demonstrates how important local government elections can be, and citizen participation in meetings:

Monday News: Give it up already

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PLANE WILL FLY OVER CHAPEL HILL WITH BANNER READING "RESTORE SILENT SAM": For the second time this month, a plane with a Confederate flag and “restore Silent Sam” banner was seen flying in North Carolina. According to a Facebook post, the flag and banner were expected to fly over Chapel Hill- near the University of North Carolina campus, Durham and Raleigh as people commemorated Veterans Day across the state. “[The plane] will be in the air for a couple of hours showing the citizens of North Carolina that all veterans matter and that those brave men who were called to serve their country deserve to be honored,” a Facebook post from the group said. The “Silent Sam” statue has been in storage since it was toppled. Chancellor Carol Folt's administration and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees have until Dec. 14 to submit a plan for the statue's future to the UNC Board of Governors.
https://www.wral.com/confederate-flag-restore-silent-sam-banner-fly-over-triangle/17987522/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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VOTERS LOSE, GERRYMANDERING WINS. THIS NEEDS TO STOP: Tuesday 49.7 percent of the state’s voters picked Democrats to send to the U.S. House of Representatives. But only three Democrats (23 percent) actually were elected. “The blue tide did not breach the gerrymandered sea wall that exists because of the broken redistricting process we have in North Carolina,” Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause NC, said after the election. “That was what we were watching for. We were waiting to see, does anything change? Gerrymandering does provide a protective sea wall.” Phony rationalizing that Democrats competed in several close races in this election and captured a few more seats, misses the point. What Republicans know – and the evidence shows in the results of this most recent election – is that even when the party put up flawed and lack-luster candidates, the districts are so rigged it is all-but impossible to lose.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-voters-lose-gerrymandering-wins-it-needs-to-stop/17979817/

Rachel Hunt pulls ahead of Bill Brawley after mail-in votes counted

In case you're still jaded, every vote does count:

Absentee ballots put Democrat Rachel Hunt ahead of Republican Rep. Bill Brawley on Friday night in one of the state’s closest legislative races. Brawley, who lives in Matthews, led by 52 votes on Election Day. But Friday’s count of absentee ballots gave Hunt a 64-vote lead, according to the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections.

The race was one of the highest-profile in North Carolina, matching a powerful committee chair and the daughter of a four-term governor. It was also one of the most expensive. Hunt raised over $1.2 million and got about $900,000 in support from the state Democratic Party. Brawley raised over $410,000.

To be honest, when I saw reports that mail-in absentee ballots were yet to be posted, I assumed the worst. That Brawley's lead would actually grow. I've always associated mail-ins with octogenarian Republicans determined to make their regressive voices heard at least one more time, and I am deliriously happy to have that prejudice shattered. It's still way too close for comfort, and I have little doubt that Brawley will stretch this thing out as long as he can by demanding a recount. And he won't be the only one doing so:

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