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On the need for Dem candidates in every district

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I had the privilege to chat with Carolyn Hunt for a little while during the Sanford-Hunt-Frye breakfast yesterday, and one of the main topics we discussed was recruiting candidates for the upcoming 2018 Legislative races. I also mentioned our previous efforts to keep track of the filing process, with an eye towards challenging as many R incumbents as we could. Understand folks: Filing season is coming up quickly, and finding the right person to run needs to start right now. By "right person" I don't necessarily mean somebody whose conservative leanings fit better in an R-leaning district, I mean somebody who has the smarts, the dedication, the motivation, and the pure energy it takes to swim against the current. Follow me below the fold and I'll tell you why I think this is so important:

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

DON'T PERMIT NC TO BECOME A SAFE-ZONE FOR BIGOTRY: The pictures of a torch light procession, with marchers on the University of Virginia campus chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans were all too reflective of horrific images out of fascist nations 70 years ago. Legislators should review recently passed laws, such as the so-called “Campus Free Speech Act" to be sure they haven’t inadvertently turned University of North Carolina campuses into safe zones for bigotry and potential violence. Freedom of expression is particularly integral to the learning mission of our universities and the appropriate presentation and discussion of controversial and unpopular ideas is critical to a good education. However, unfettered access to campuses by violent radicals while simultaneously institutionalizing punishments for those who challenge hateful acts is not what is intended in the law. It must be reviewed before it is too late.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-no-moral-relativism-in-the-face-of-bigotry/16888325/

Saturday News: Prodigal scum returns

STEVE BANNON BACK AT BREITBART AFTER OUSTER FROM WHITE HOUSE: Chief political strategist Steve Bannon is out from President Donald Trump’s White House and back at the far-right news website that launched him to political prominence. Trump told two senior aides that he decided to let go Bannon, according to The New York Times. The chief strategist insists that he resigned Aug. 7, but his departure was delayed because of the unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia. A White House official told CNN that Bannon was supposed to be fired two weeks ago along with former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus — but that Rep. Mark Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, asked Trump to keep him.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article167968777.html

Possible Ku Klux Klan march in Durham today

What was that about Antifa being the aggressors? Right, shut the hell up:

The Durham County Sheriff’s Office is preparing for a possible march by white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan marching in Durham today. “The Sheriff’s Office is thoroughly researching the potential of several groups with opposing viewpoints holding demonstrations in Durham,” Sheriff Mike Andrews said in a statement.

City Manager Tom Bonfield said he is unaware of any permit being obtained for a march. Mayor Bill Bell said he was heading to City Hall to get more information.

I hesitated posting this, because I don't want myself or the website to increase the possibility of a violent confrontation. But we're also not in the business of "deciding" what information is healthy for you or not, or in any other way treating our readers like impressionable children who need managing. That being said, *please* be careful, and keep your distance. Some people simply can't be reasoned with.

Friday News: Defending the indefensible

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BERGER WANTS TO KEEP LAW IN PLACE PROTECTING CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS: The North Carolina Senate's top leader is skeptical about scrapping a 2015 law that prohibits permanently removing Confederate monuments from public property, as Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper called for earlier this week. Republican Senate leader Phil Berger wrote in a column released Thursday that "an impulsive decision" to pull down monuments wouldn't be wise. Berger says the legislation sought to reduce politics in decisions about monuments on government property. Cooper said Tuesday it was time to stop glorifying a war fought to defend slavery and worried about public safety following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and the toppling of a Confederate monument in Durham.
http://www.wral.com/the-latest-confederate-veteran-group-denounces-cooper-push/16887206/

NC's "hit and kill" bill one of many designed to stifle protests

And of course it was started by Big Oil protecting its profits:

State lawmakers in Florida, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Texas also considered similar measures, which the American Civil Liberties Union nicknamed "hit and kill" bills. The bills were part of a broader package of anti-protest legislation floated in at least 19 states after an upsurge in activism over the last year.

Of the half-dozen states entertaining proposals to shield drivers who hit protesters, North Carolina is the one where it has the best chance of passing. And despite the violence that recently unfolded in Virginia, the bill's sponsors have come to its defense, although its prospects appear to have dimmed.

My reference to Big Oil in the intro has to do with how protesters often use their bodies to block access to pipeline or fracking sites, where contractors have gotten into the habit of just rolling slowly through the crowd, like they're trying to push sheep off the road. But even North Dakota balked at passing such an ill-advised law:

Thursday News: The company you keep

TRUMP'S LAWYER FORWARDS E-MAIL LACED WITH CONFEDERATE PROPAGANDA AND CONSPIRACY THEORIES: President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Wednesday forwarded an email to conservative journalists, government officials and friends that echoed secessionist Civil War propaganda and declared that the group Black Lives Matter “has been totally infiltrated by terrorist groups.” The email forwarded by John Dowd, who is leading the president’s legal team, painted Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in glowing terms and equated the South’s rebellion to that of the American Revolution against England. Its subject line — “The Information that Validates President Trump on Charlottesville” — was a reference to comments Trump made this week in the aftermath of protests in the Virginia college town. “You cannot be against General Lee and be for General Washington,” the email reads, “there literally is no difference between the two men.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article167661727.html

Cooper's Veto of "Regulatory Reform Act" is right on target

Improving water quality is serious business and requires a thoughtful approach:

Cooper vetoed Senate Bill 16, the Business Regulatory Reform Act of 2017, which seeks to remove regulations in many instances. The bill extends the validity of some wastewater permits issued by local health departments that may have expired, and limits requirements for increased stormwater controls on some new developments.

"We should make it easier, not harder, for state and local governments to protect water quality, whether through stormwater safeguards or by giving public health departments the ability to revisit wastewater permits if needed. Rolling back ways to protect water quality is dangerous," Cooper said in his veto message.

There are two major contributors to the out-of-control nutrient levels in our water resources (especially Lake Jordan): Non-point source contamination (stormwater runoff) and periodic massive discharges of high-concentration wastewater, mostly from municipal treatment facilities. This bill relaxes regulations on both of them, which is exactly the opposite of what should be done. Combine that with the GOP's latest boondoggle of chemical treatment to kill algae, and *at best* you would have a break-even scenario, with no overall improvement in water quality. But it's much more likely the water quality would degrade even further. The only thing Republicans have working in their favor with this formula is the wanton destruction and corporatization of the EPA under Scott Pruitt, so the GOP likely won't get into trouble with the Federal government over this extremely reckless behavior. But they should be in (deep) trouble with the people of North Carolina for doing so.

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