scharrison's blog

Republican excuses, chapter 27: Gerrymandering made me do it

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You can't make this stuff up:

It’s now up to a judge to decide whether to accept the prosecution’s recommendation. And the judge overseeing the case has a history with Lewis, having been part of a three-judge panel that threw out redistricting plans that Lewis led the way in creating, calling them unconstitutional racial gerrymandering.

Howard wrote Wednesday that he hopes federal District Judge Max Cogburn can put that aside — and recognize that in many ways, that redistricting lawsuit was the beginning of a downward spiral for Lewis due to “the immense time and attention it mandated from David to the detriment of his health and farming interests."

Get that? It wasn't the guilt over what he had done; stripping the power away from voters to choose their representatives while also unfairly packing and cracking his Democratic colleagues. Oh no, it was being called to account for those actions that put him into a "spiral." And he also had the burden of having tons of money thrown at him:

NC GOP goes after mail-in voting with a vengeance

When voting on Election Day is no longer acceptable:

The county board of elections shall prepare, or cause to be prepared, a list in at least triplicate, of all absentee ballots issued under Article 20 of this Chapter returned to the county board of elections to be counted, which have been approved by the county board of elections, have not been included on the certified list prepared pursuant to G.S.163-232, and which have been postmarked by the day of the statewide primary or general election or county bond election and have been received by the county board of elections not later than three days after the election by 5:00 p.m. on the day of the statewide primary or general election or county bond election.

In case you're new to this game, the strike through sections are being removed, and the underlined sections added. In the minds of Republicans, a postmark is no longer relevant. Proof that you voted on time is no longer relevant. Keep in mind, Republicans (via Trump and DeJoy) screwed up the Postal Service, a big reason why that 3-day grace period had to be extended last November. And their "fix" for this problem is to throw out thousands of eligible ballots. Veto, with extreme prejudice.

Elliot Management buys large stake in Duke Energy

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Hopefully ratepayers won't get bitten in the process:

Elliott has not yet released any letters or presentations on the company, but based on past investments in this area and the level of engagement, we expect that they have a $1B+ investment in Duke. With the annual meeting recently passing, director nominations for next year are not due until January 2022, so management has time to prove itself.

However, we do not expect Elliott to sit by quietly during that time. We expect them to become vocal and engaged shareholders putting pressure on management to create value. The right plan could create tens of billions of dollars of value for shareholders.

I'm not even going to try to analyze this just yet, no amount or strength of coffee will aid me in interpreting Stock Talk. But that "creating value" thing has the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. That being said, this could also signal a quicker end to coal-burning power plants and a more aggressive move to renewables:

Critical thinking is back in the White House

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Uncle Joe wants all your information, and no bullshit:

Quick decision-making is not Mr. Biden’s style. His reputation as a plain-speaking politician hides a more complicated truth. Before making up his mind, the president demands hours of detail-laden debate from scores of policy experts, taking everyone around him on what some in the West Wing refer to as his Socratic “journey” before arriving at a conclusion.

Those trips are often difficult for his advisers, who are peppered with sometimes obscure questions. Avoiding Mr. Biden’s ire during one of his decision-making seminars means not only going beyond the vague talking points that he will reject, but also steering clear of responses laced with acronyms or too much policy minutiae, which will prompt an outburst of frustration, often laced with profanity.

The contrast to Trump is stark, and that's a good thing. He didn't want any pesky information, and if it couldn't fit on a post-it note he wouldn't read it. But if you want good policy, it needs to be hashed out in detail. That's how you discover (ahead of time) any potential negative consequences. He should reign in that frustration if possible though, because it could stifle some input that could be critical. But it's early days still, and the sooner his people figure out he's not a blowhard like Trump the better:

Art Pope needs to be removed from UNC BOG

Orchestrating a character assassination of a new journalism professor:

“This is the story of a leader returning to a place that transformed her life and career trajectory,” said Susan King, dean of the Hussman School, in announcing the hire. “Giving back is part of Nikole’s DNA, and now one of the most respected investigative journalists in America will be working with our students on projects that will move their careers forward and ignite critically important conversations.”

On the state’s political right, however, Hanna-Jones has been met with a very different reception. Pulitzer Prize? MacArthur Fellowship? “Questionable credentials,” said the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal (formerly known as the Pope Center for Higher Education). One of America’s most respected investigative journalists? The same group termed that a “charade” concocted by “a powerful coalition with Democratic socialists, the media, and ‘woke’ crony capitalists.”

Make no mistake, one of Art Pope's lifelong crusades has been to force major changes to the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Stymied in his effort to install a School of Western Civilization (White European Supremacy) several years ago, he has nevertheless continued efforts to bend the University to his will. His minions were instrumental in the closure of UNC's Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity, proving that if he's not allowed to "add" to the University, he will settle with subtracting. Hanna-Jones is actually ideal for this teaching slot:

White Supremacy in the ranks: Removing extremists not as easy as it sounds

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Testing the limits of the 1st Amendment:

California is one of four states, including Oregon, Minnesota and Tennessee, along with Washington, D.C., that have proposed new laws to give law enforcement agencies more power to exclude officers with ties to extremism.

Various such efforts have been simmering around the country for years, spurred by F.B.I. reports starting more than 15 years ago that document a concerted effort by white supremacist and other extremist organizations to infiltrate the police.

They actually stumbled across intel in 2004 that pushed them to investigate further, discovering the deployment of "Ghost Skins." These are White Supremacists who don't wear the garb (or tattoos) of neo-nazis, so they can blend in and work from inside police and other organizations. Here's the redacted 2006 report released last year (can't copy and paste, you'll have to read it yourself). Here's more on the rights of racists:

Stifling public comments on...stifling public comments?

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Yeah, it's just as absurd as it sounds:

A Senate committee on Wednesday shut down public discussion of a contentious portion of the Farm Act, which coincidentally, sharply curbs public input on swine farms that install biogas systems and anaerobic digesters.

The public was allowed to comment on Tuesday before the Senate Agriculture, Energy and Environment Committee, which approved the bill and sent it on to the Senate Judiciary Committee. On Wednesday, though, when the Judiciary Committee discussed the legislation, committee leaders limited public comment to non-controversial sections and specifically excluded the digester issue.

Republicans have refined this tactic over the years (only allowing certain topics for public comments). Senator Amy Galey was notorious for this as Chair of the Alamance County Commission, and kept deputies handy to drag out speakers who deviated from her "allowed" comments. FWIW, it is tempting to set such parameters. I've conducted several meetings where public commenters have gone way past their allotted speaking times, repeating almost verbatim what several others have said, and I have contemplated asking if anybody had a comment not related to a certain issue. But I held my tongue, because I didn't want anybody feeling they had been stifled. Back to the pigshit:

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