This is how good state government deals with a sold-out FCC

Reason #54 why we need to take back the NC General Assembly:

Inslee’s proposal, which makes Washington state the first in the nation to act on net neutrality, includes pursuing the following actions:

Direct the state’s Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) to establish a process for ISPs to certify that they will not engage in practices inconsistent with net neutrality principles. Limit state-conferred benefits to ISPs that have made such certifications. Limit applicability of UTC pole attachment rules to ISPs that are net neutral. Use the state government’s role as a big customer, and our ability to establish state master contracts used by local governments, to incentivize Washington companies to adhere to net neutrality principles. Pursue regulatory and legislative action to award contracts to vendors that meet net neutral business requirements. Lead the exploration of a multi-state purchasing cooperative to procure internet service from providers that adhere to net neutrality principles. Collaborate with legislators to strengthen our consumer protection laws to include the principles of net neutrality. Pursue legislation authorizing public utility districts and rural and urban port districts to provide retail ISP and telecommunications services.

As you can see, several of those actions would be impossible to implement with GOP control of our Legislature, and some (most?) of the other actions could/would be quickly undermined by the same. Which brings up another (broader) issue that Progressive activists need to keep in mind: I'm starting to see more of these, "Why doesn't Roy Cooper do this or that thing I want? He's just as bad as the Republicans!" Understand, we put him in the Governor's mansion, but we also crippled him in the process. Governor Cooper is held hostage by a supermajority that is hell-bent on stripping his powers and defunding his administration, but he's still made more progress for our state than McCrory did his entire tenure. Context is important, so put that energy to work where it's needed.

Monday News: Hypocrites R' Us

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TRUMP DENIES RUMORS HE PLANS TO FIRE MUELLER, BUT STILL ANGRY OVER E-MAIL ACQUISITION: President Donald Trump says he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, but that didn't stop him from adding to the growing conservative criticism of Mueller's acquisition of thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials before the start of his administration. While conservatives have been critical of Mueller's probe of Russian activities during the 2016 campaign, Trump said Sunday afternoon that he has no plans to fire Mueller. The president did criticize the fact that Mueller had gained access the emails, however. Trump said it was "not looking good" and again stressed that there was "no collusion" with Russia — an important question the probe is examining. The documents were provided to Mueller's team by the GSA in September in response to requests from the FBI, but the transition team didn't learn about it until last week, Langhofer said.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article190288514.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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WHAT ALABAMA TELLS US: VOTING MATTERS, GERRYMANDERING DISTORTS: Exit polling Tuesday indicated that about 30 percent of the electorate was African-American – a greater share than during the 2008 and 2012 elections with Obama on the ballot. The exit polls indicated that 96 percent of the African-American vote went to Jones. Doug Jones managed to win the election, but carry only one of Alabama’s seven congressional districts. How could that be? Well, here in North Carolina, we know the answer to that all too well: pack as many African-American voters into a single district as possible. In Alabama, two-thirds of the voters in the state’s 7th District are African-American. Nearly a third of all the state’s African-American voters live in that district – meaning that the rest of the state’s African-American voters are scattered among the remaining six districts. As a result, these gerrymandered African-Americans, most of whom happen to be Democrats, see their voting strength is significantly diluted.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-what-alabama-vote-tells-us-voting-matters-gerrymandering-distorts/1718...

NC county government sues Big Pharma over opioid crisis

New Hanover County takes their battle against addiction to court:

Drug makers “aggressively pushed highly addictive, dangerous opioids, falsely representing to doctors that patients would only rarely succumb to drug addiction,” the lawsuit reads. “These pharmaceutical companies aggressively advertised to and persuaded doctors to prescribe highly addictive, dangerous opioids and turned patients into drug addicts for their own corporate profit.”

“The residents of New Hanover County are bearing the burden of the cost of the epidemic, as the costs of treatment for addiction, education and law enforcement continue to rise,” Woody White said in a Friday news release. He’s the chairman of the county commissioners. “New Hanover County aims to have this suit accomplish two things: require the responsible parties to pay our taxpayers for the monetary damages caused, and to force them to follow federal law so we can stem the tide of this horrible epidemic, and help save lives.”

Good for them, but this is likely going to be tougher than winning a lawsuit against gun manufacturers, since some of the most respected professionals in our society (doctors) have to approve each prescription. But if the county can get a hefty settlement out of this, it might just jerk a knot in the machine that's destroying so many lives.

Saturday News: We've heard this before...

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NC REPUBLICAN LEADERS SAY THEY MAY NOT TAKE UP JUDICIAL REFORMS IN JANUARY: Lawmakers may not find enough consensus on judiciary reforms to pass anything when they gather again for a special legislative session next month, House Rules Chairman David Lewis said Friday. Lewis, R-Harnett, a key leader in the House, said legislators haven't coalesced behind proposals to redraw election districts for judges or to move instead to an appointments system. There has been a divide between the House and the Senate on this, but there also are indications House Republicans aren't all on board with proposed new districts for judges, which could prove important given the possibility of veto from Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. "If we can't get agreement, and that was one of the main things we were going to do, it may be a very short session," Lewis said. He also said there's no plan, at the moment, to approve potential constitutional amendments during the coming session. That would include a voter ID proposal.
http://www.wral.com/lewis-judicial-reforms-may-not-fly-in-january-session/17188362/

What Republicans did not want to hear when they blocked Judge Stephens from speaking during Committee hearing

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Here are some excerpts from his prepared statement:

It is my opinion that the quality and integrity of the trial bench [in North Carolina] is above reproach. I have found no evidence to the contrary. None. I have heard no sworn testimony or information presented to this body or any other legislative committee that challenges or impugns the quality or the integrity of the [North Carolina] trial judiciary.

I understand that the fire trucks are here, but where is the fire? Who saw the fire? Who declared that the judicial house was on fire? You are drawing up plans to rebuild our judicial house that is not on fire and has no structural damage. Where is any evidence that the quality and integrity of this state’s judiciary is so poor that the constitution of [North Carolina] must be immediately drastically changed? Who has declared the emergency? On what basis?

Oh, there's an emergency all right. But it's one of Republicans' making. They're engaged in an all-out war on the judiciary, from the NC Supreme Court all the way down to the District and Superior Courts. And as for Republican judges who are already sitting, when one of their own (Doug McCullough) resigned from his CoA seat early so Governor Cooper could name his replacement instead of the Legislature, well. That just pissed them off to the point they decided to burn the whole damn thing down. Judge Stephens continues, and hat-tip to NC Policy Watch for (once again) providing truth to power:

Friday News: Remember Heather

PROSECUTORS UPGRADE CHARGE TO 1ST DEGREE MURDER FOR WHITE SUPREMACIST WHO DROVE CAR INTO CROWD: The man accused of driving into a crowd protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville faces a new charge of first-degree murder after a court hearing Thursday in which prosecutors presented surveillance video and other evidence against him. Prosecutors announced at the start of a preliminary hearing for James Alex Fields that they were seeking to upgrade the second-degree murder charge he previously faced in the Aug. 12 collision in Charlottesville that left 32-year-old Heather Heyer dead and dozens injured. The judge agreed to that and ruled there is probable cause for all charges against Fields, including nine lesser felony counts, to proceed. Fields was photographed hours before the attack with a shield bearing the emblem of Vanguard America, one of the hate groups that took part in the rally, although the group denied any association with him.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article189691594.html

New York AG files lawsuit against FCC over Net Neutrality vote

And rumor has it Josh Stein just added NC to the effort:

Citing his investigation into the FCC’s public comments process preceding the vote, Schneiderman declared his office’s intention to sue to “stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality” — a forthcoming legal challenge that’s sure to be in good company. In response to questions from TechCrunch, Schneiderman’s office noted that he will spearhead a multi-state lawsuit and that we can expect it “in the coming days.”

“We will be filing a claim to preserve protections for New Yorkers and all Americans. And we’ll be working aggressively to stop the FCC’s leadership from doing any further damage to the internet and to our economy,” Schneiderman said in a press release.

Hopefully they'll be able to get an injunction put in place with the quickness, before we start seeing shenanigans with our Internet access.

WUNC uncovers disgusting behavior by lawmakers in NC Legislature

And what can only be described as a blatant cover-up of said behavior:

The first incident happened ten years ago when Representative David Almond (R-Stanly) allegedly exposed himself to his legislative assistant – and then masturbated on an office chair. The legislative assistant reportedly filed a complaint, and legislators dealt with the situation swiftly.

"The chair we put away. There was semen on the chair. We went to the individual and dealt with the situation," said House Representative Julia Howard (R-Forsyth), who was on the Legislative Ethics Committee at that time. "We put a fine line in the sand and addressed it. That’s the end of your story."

Uh, no. The lack of exposure this incident received because you and others decided that "story" should not be told at the time is a story in itself. And it's a good bet at least part of that story is the desire not to impugn a Republican when they were counting on capitalizing on the imprisonment of Democrat Jim Black:

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