Tuesday News: Bringing justice to the justice system

BAIL BOND REFORM MAY BE ON THE HORIZON IN NC: Members of the North Carolina Courts Commission are gathering information about the need for changes to the state's pretrial release laws. The state is one of several weighing reforms of the cash bail system. "Those folks can often spend more time incarcerated pre-trial than they could ever get if they were convicted," Smith said. Advocates from several criminal justice reform groups attended the meeting, including Southerners on New Ground. Kyla Hartsfield, an organizer with that group, said they recently bailed out nine people, including single mothers and family breadwinners, who were in jail solely because they couldn't afford to make bail. Hartsfield said the consequences of pre-trial incarceration can be disastrous, regardless of the accused's innocent or guilt. "Lose your job, possibly lose your kids, lose your home," Hartsfield said. "What could I lose in a month? I could lose everything I have."
https://www.wral.com/state-weighs-changes-to-bail-system-to-reduce-burden-on-the-poor/18007860/

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Also on the list of post-Thanksgiving shenanigans:

Thomas Farr is the worst possible choice, especially in a district with such a high level of African-American populations. But there may be some hope:

A culture of tyranny: GOP Legislatures attacking Dem governors

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You would almost think they had conspired together:

In Michigan, where the GOP has held the levers of power for nearly eight years, Republican legislators want to water down a minimum wage law they approved before the election so that it would not go to voters and would now be easier to amend.

Republicans in neighboring Wisconsin are discussing ways to dilute Democrat Tony Evers' power before he takes over for GOP Gov. Scott Walker. And in North Carolina, Republicans may try to hash out the requirements of a new voter ID constitutional amendment before they lose their legislative supermajorities and their ability to unilaterally override vetoes by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

In addition to power-grabbing policy moves, these multi-state Republicans have another thing in common, which made those power-grabs possible: Gerrymandering. If the following sounds familiar, there's a reason for that:

Monday News: Arrested development

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RALEIGH'S PLANNING COMMISSION AND CITY COUNCIL AT ODDS OVER GRANNY FLATS: Some members of the city’s planning board say the Raleigh City Council is ramming through rules for backyard cottages and granny flats that are so “overly complex” few people will ever build them. Several Planning Commission members feel their hands were tied after the council instructed them not to consider alternatives to proposed rules for accessory dwelling units, also known as backyard cottages and granny flats. The advisory commission debated the proposed rules last week before deciding to send them to a committee for more discussion. At least one planning commissioner was prepared to vote for the recommendations though he acknowledged he might be the only one. “I think a site-specific rezoning would be preferable, but we’re not at the beginning [of the discussion],” Planning Commissioner Bob Geary said, noting the more than five years the city has already spent on the issue. “We are well along, and the proposal sent to us by City Council is the one they intend to adopt. I think.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article221645025.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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RED STATES ARE EXPANDING MEDICAID, WHY NOT NC?: North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders have some explaining to do regarding Medicaid expansion. They keep saying the state can’t afford it, but others states keep deciding they can. In the midterm elections, voters in three more states — three red states that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump — approved ballot initiatives committing their states to expanding the government health insurance program for low-income people. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Johnathan Schleifer, executive director of the Fairness Project, a group that backed the initiatives, said, “Medicare expansion ballots represent a tectonic shift in health care across the county. The Republican Party has staked its political future on bashing the ACA for the better part of a decade and voters in some of the reddest states rejected that.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/article221744320.html

Saturday News: Freedom to harass

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MEADOWS FINED AND REPRIMANDED OVER CODDLING SEXUAL HARASSER: Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican from western North Carolina, must repay the government more than $40,000 after the House Ethics Committee found that Meadows didn’t do enough to address or prevent harassment by his former chief of staff. Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, also received a reprimand from the committee, which began an investigation in 2016 after getting a referral from the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. “Meadows’ failure to take prompt and decisive action to deal with the alleged sexual harassment in his congressional office was troubling,” the committee wrote in its report released Friday afternoon.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article221776670.html

Too big to regulate: Facebook's manipulation of Congressional review

Using opposition research to undermine government:

“At the same time that Facebook was publicly professing their desire to work with the committee to address these issues, they were paying a political opposition research firm to privately attempt to undermine that same committee’s credibility,” Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the panel, said in a statement. “It’s very concerning.”

The documents obtained by The New York Times provide a deeper look at Definers’ tactics to discredit Facebook’s critics. The Times reported on Wednesday that Definers also distributed research documents to reporters that cast the liberal donor George Soros as an unacknowledged force behind activists protesting Facebook, and helped publish articles criticizing Facebook’s rivals on what was designed to look like a typical conservative news site.

You almost have to be a professional conspiracy theorist to even understand the machinations involved. But that complexity might just be an integral part of the program, and not just a by-product. Because it introduces an element of uncertainty for lawmakers, especially those who have a few skeletons in their closet. They might be on the verge of a career-ending sudden release of damning information, if they push too hard on his royal majesty Mark Zuckerberg, who has mastered the art of strategic denialism:

Friday News: Sore loser

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BRAWLEY WANTS RECOUNT AFTER RACHEL HUNT'S LEAD INCREASES: Democrat Rachel Hunt declared victory Thursday night after she extended her narrow lead over Republican Rep. Bill Brawley, bringing Mecklenburg County’s last undecided legislative race closer to an apparent end. A count of provisional ballots gave Hunt an unofficial lead of 68 votes in House District 103. While the county elections board will meet Friday to certify the results, Brawley already has asked for a recount, according to Elections Director Michel Dickerson. Hunt gained a net three votes Thursday night after election officials counted provisional ballots and overseas absentee ballots. Brawley led by 52 votes on election night but Hunt jumped to the lead when absentee ballots were counted last week.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article221646875.html

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