Wednesday News: The definition of insanity

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GOP REFILES POWER GRAB RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL BY 3-JUDGE PANEL: House Republicans are rushing a bill through the legislature that would aim to salvage last year’s attempt to take away control of elections boards from the political party of the governor. A law passed in a 2016 post-election special session and signed by former Gov. Pat McCrory would have consolidated the state elections and ethics boards and evenly divided membership of the new board between Republicans and Democrats. But a three-judge panel struck down that law last month as an unconstitutional encroachment on executive authority. Like the previous law, the new proposal would increase county elections boards from three to four members, evenly split between the parties. County boards would select their own chairs, who would belong to alternating political parties every other year with Republicans leading in even-numbered years.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article142695184.html

Tuesday News: Blackwatergate

ERIK PRINCE HELPED CREATE CLANDESTINE COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN TRUMP/PUTIN: The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials. The meeting took place around Jan. 11 - nine days before Trump's inauguration - in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would likely require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions. U.S. officials said the FBI has been scrutinizing the Seychelles meeting as part of a broader probe of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and alleged contacts between associates of Putin and Trump. The FBI declined to comment.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article142472939.html

Monday numbers: NC Senate's tax plan a boon for the wealthy

But for the rest of us, not so much:

50—estimated percent of Senate tax cut proposal that will be received by the top 20 percent of income earners in North Carolina (Ibid)

20,119—amount in dollars of the average annual tax cut the top one percent of income earners will receive since 2013 if the latest Senate tax plan becomes law (Ibid)

15—amount in dollars of the average annual tax cut the bottom 20 percent of income earners will receive since 2013 if the latest Senate tax plan becomes law (Ibid)

3.2 billion—amount in dollars less that the state revenue code will bring in next fiscal year than it would have before tax changes made since 2013 if the latest Senate tax plan passes (Ibid)

Every year they are in charge, Republicans whittle away at the services provided to citizens, and every year the already wealthy benefit from that. It makes you wonder if everything else they do is simply a distraction so these vampires can keep feeding on the peasantry.

Monday News: April's Fool

TRUMP DECLARES APRIL SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH: But given Trump’s previous comments about women, including the infamous “Access Hollywood” recording in which he bragged about grabbing women by their gentials, as well as allegations from several women that he sexually assaulted them, many of the president’s critics saw the announcement as tragically ironic, especially given its proximity to April Fools’ Day. The joke was perfectly crystalized by actress and comedian Tina Fey, who was speaking at an ACLU telethon Friday night. “Earlier tonight, in what is surely an April Fools' joke, the president proclaimed that next month will be National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month,” Fey said, per Mic. “So now we know what he gave up for Lent.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article142162434.html

Sunday News: LGBTQ Voices

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DISCRIMINATION BY ANY OTHER NAME: I am a woman who happens to be transgender. All I want is to be able to live my life like any other resident. On March 31, on the International Transgender Day of Visibility, I am speaking out against House Bill 142, the so-called HB2 “repeal” that Gov. Roy Cooper signed. I have lived under HB2 for the past year, forced to break the law just to use the restroom in public. HB 142 bans public buildings from having their own policies about bathroom access. That’s still discrimination. Cooper has shown that he is willing to fund his campaign with contributions from the LGBT community, then abandon us when asked to keep his promises. Transgender people deserve better.
http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article142186849.html

Judge Marcia Morey chosen to serve out Paul Luebke's term in Legislature

A new voice for justice and the environment steps forward:

Durham County Democrats voted to appoint Morey to the House District 30 seat Thursday night. She is a permanent replacement for a vacancy created by the October death of Paul Luebke, 70, a Democrat who represented Durham for 25 years in the state House. Phil Lehman was appointed to the seat the night before the Nov. 8 election to fill the seat temporarily.

Five people were nominated to fill the two-year seat. Morey, 61, received a majority of votes from a subset of the Durham County Democratic Party that included precinct chairs and vice chairs and elected officials who live in the district.

While Judge Morey downplays her status as an openly-gay addition to the General Assembly, her selection (and Chris Sgro's) by local Democratic Party officers is not something that should be written off as "meaningless," or bone-throwing, or whatever other dismissive term comes to mind. We need more LGBT folks in office, not fewer, and this move needs to be part of any discussion that takes place on the value of the Democratic Party's approach to matters of equality. I'm not saying it should "wipe away" concerns, just that it be included in the discussion for the sake of perspective.

Saturday News: Scammer-in-Chief?

JUDGE RULES TRUMP MUST PAY BACK $25 MILLION TO TRUMP UNIVERSITY VICTIMS: "Over the past seven years, our goal has always has been to help these everyday Americans move forward with their lives," attorney Amber Eck said. The Democratic New York attorney general said the ruling "will provide relief — and hopefully much-needed closure — to the victims of Donald Trump's fraudulent university." The lawsuits alleged that Trump University gave nationwide seminars that were like infomercials, constantly pressuring people to spend more and, in the end, failing to deliver. Political rivals used Trump's depositions and extensive documents filed in the lawsuits to portray him as dishonest and deceitful.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article141892594.html

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