NC GOP

Lawsuit challenges Trump's erosion of Endangered Species Act

Somebody has to say, "Enough is enough.":

Earthjustice filed the lawsuit on behalf of Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Parks Conservation Association, WildEarth Guardians and the Humane Society of the United States.

For more than 40 years, the Endangered Species Act has been a successful conservation law that protects imperiled species and their habitats. In the years since it was enacted, 99 percent of listed species including the bald eagle, Florida manatee and the gray wolf have been spared from extinction, according to the release.

I'm actually surprised it took him this long to target endangered species. In the mind of Trump, animals that need protection are "weak," and probably should be allowed to go extinct. I'm sure there are a lot of humans that fit into that category as well, at least in the mind of the Narcissist-In-Chief. Here are some of the main complaints detailed in the suit:

Subverting higher ed: New "school" at UNC has conservative stench

We've been down this bent road before:

The Program for Civic Virtue and Civil Discourse — approved by the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill — is set to begin in Fall of 2021. Chris Clemons, a UNC senior associate dean who is spearheading the program’s launch, told the Editorial Board Monday that the purpose of the program is to support a culture of open, respectful and productive public debate at UNC.

That should sound good to anyone fatigued by the tenor and lack of substance in public discourse these days. But evidence indicates that the UNC program might be less about those high-minded objectives and more about promoting conservative thought.

The second part of that title (Civil Discourse) has the flavor of a few recent columns by John Hood and other Pope mouthpieces. Combine that with the harsh and counter-intuitive "Free Speech" law that Republicans passed a few years ago, and you've got the likelihood of more Tom Tancredo incidents looming in the future. But probably the most damning evidence this school is going to be disruptive is the stealthy nature of its beginnings:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Another one bites the dust...

Monday Numbers: Voter purges reflect a Jim Crow shift

Stifling the voices that need to be heard the most:

17 million – the number of voters removed from rolls nationwide between 2016 and 2018

40 percent – how much higher the median purge rate was over the 2016 to 2018 period in jurisdictions previously subject to preclearance versus jurisdictions that were not covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

1.1 million – the number of voters who wouldn’t have been removed from voter rolls between 2016 and 2018 if purge rates in the counties that were covered by Section 5 were the same as the rates in non-Section 5 counties.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Rumors of a "post-racial" society, especially when it comes to voting access, are greatly exaggerated. Understand, the Voting Rights Act was not some sort of overreaction by the Federal government to a few isolated incidents; Southern Congressmen and Senators worked hand-in-hand with their state-level counterparts to actively deny Constitutional rights to tens of thousands of African-Americans, and that oppression thrived in the ambiguity of the times:

When local newspapers die, democracy dies with them

When you don't watch the pot, it often boils over:

It’s a crisis that threatens American democracy. Local newspapers, despite all their flaws and limitations, have been a trusted — and necessary — source of information for citizens across the country.

When local news withers, bad things happen, studies show. People vote less, and they vote in a more politically polarized way. Political corruption has more opportunity to flourish, unnoticed by the local watchdog. And municipal costs may rise.

After being involved in local government for several years now, I don't subscribe to the view that governments would go crazy with unnecessary spending in the absence of a journalistic watchdog. Voters don't (necessarily) need to read about their property tax going up to notice it, it's right there on their monthly mortgage bill when the escrow goes up. Elected officials are aware of that when they crunch their budgets every year (or two). But those voters won't know "why" their property tax went up, or anything else about their local government, and that's a huge problem. Which is why I also don't subscribe to the view that local governments should withhold information, make it harder for journalists to cover their activities. If the newspaper gets it wrong, it's usually because some official thought it was "wise" to be tight-lipped. It rarely is. But there may be a philanthropic light at the end of this tunnel:

Leading while Black: Charlotte Council members get racist hate mail

Trump's rhetoric is dangerous, and spreading:

More than a dozen city leaders, all of them African American except for one, received a letter in the mail to their respective offices that was threatening and racist. Now, police are taking a close look. "If I can assume the intent, the intent was to intimidate," Councilman Braxton Winston said.

The letter read in part, "...Each of you despicable BLACK democrats should be tarred and feathered and run out of town (my town) on a rail..." It blamed African Americans for various things, praised President Donald Trump and used a phrase that was chanted by his supporters at a North Carolina rally earlier this year: "Send her back"

Even if I didn't agree with Braxton's assumption (I do), his background in Anthropology makes that more than just an assumption, it's a studied assessment. But for people like the letter writer, none of that matters. He's Black, and that is an irredeemable trait. It's important to understand that, before any time is wasted by looking at the attitude or performance or potential character flaws of those who have been threatened. We have an almost automatic impulse to argue against such, to present reasons why these bigots are wrong, but that's like trying to groom a skunk. You'll stink for days after the effort, and the skunk will still be a hot mess.

Greenville's minorities still reeling from "send her back" rally chant

It's just not the same anymore:

Police in Greenville say they have seen no increase in reported hate speech or crimes since the president’s July 17 visit. But to immigrants, refugees and others who don’t fit neatly into some people’s ideas of what an American should look like, the appearance has spawned fears that the president’s words could be used as a pretext for violence.

And the crowd’s chant has prompted painful reflection: Was the hostility on display at the rally new for Greenville? Or was it here all along, just waiting to be activated? Heidi Serrano, who was born in Guatemala but has lived in Greenville her entire adult life, has reluctantly concluded the latter. And now she wonders if some of her neighbors and co-workers truly want her here.

Ten years ago, I would have told her not to worry about those on the fringe; that radical white supremacist groups struggle to get more than two dozen like-minded idiots to flock to their cause. I can't tell her that now. Trump has exposed the 30+% extreme racist underbelly of our country, and given them a mandate to hate:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Somebody has to act:

The NC GOP needs to get with the program on common sense gun regulations. People are tired of thoughts and prayers.

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