Wednesday News: It's complicated...


CAWTHORN CHALLENGE POSTPONED, BUT NOT FOR LONG: North Carolina law says that in election challenges it’s the accused who has to prove he or she did nothing wrong. So for Cawthorn to be allowed on the ballot, he can’t just sit back and let things play out — he will have to argue why he shouldn’t be banned from running again. That might include letting his accusers, whose attorneys include two former N.C. Supreme Court justices, question him under oath and force him to provide emails, text messages or other documents. “Challengers intend to depose Representative Cawthorn before the hearing, and request subpoenas for witnesses and documents, including documents that Representative Cawthorn or his staff may possess involving the planning of the January 6 events that could shed light on his qualification for office under Section Three,” their legal challenge states. I left out the postponement thing so I could quote those juicy details, but there's just too many moving parts to do it right now.

YEP, THAT'S THE SAME JOHN HARRIS: John Harris, whose 2019 testimony helped expose a ballot-harvesting scam and sink his father’s political career, will run for a Wake County seat in North Carolina House of Representatives. Harris, 32, is a former federal prosecutor. He plans to run as a Republican in District 36, which as drawn now covers the southwest corner of Wake County, reaching up to Apex. Those lines may be reworked as part of a redistricting lawsuit pending before the state Supreme Court. In political circles, Harris is best known for the damning testimony he gave during State Board of Elections hearings into the 9th Congressional District ballot scam, which over turned his father’s apparent win and triggered a new election. John Harris testified that he counseled against his father hiring Bladen County operative McCrae Dowless, who would eventually be charged with election fraud in the congressional race. The testimony contradicted what Mark Harris had told reporters: that he received no warnings. A day after his son’s testimony, Mark Harris acknowledged the evidence against his campaign, called for a new election and stepped away from the race. I'm somewhat conflicted. I really enjoyed watching his father cry, but we ended up with Dan Bishop, so...

MAYBE THAT NO-FLY LIST WASN'T SUCH A BAD IDEA: Transportation Security Administration officers seized 106 guns at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in 2021, nearly double the number they seized at the airport in the previous year, a news release said. Another 100 firearms were taken at the security checkpoint at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, three times the total in 2020. In each instance, the firearms were discovered by TSA officers during the routine screening of carry-on property at airport security checkpoints, according to the news release. Elsewhere, Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro reported 12 firearms seized, double the amount in 2020. At Asheville Regional Airport, 15 firearms were taken, compared to five in the previous year, the TSA said. In all,. TSA officers seized 254 firearms at North Carolina airports in 2021. In 2020, officers seized 105, officials said. Nationwide, 5,972 firearms were taken by TSA officers at U.S. airports, compared to 3,257 in the previous year. A firearm was detected for every 97,999 passengers screened, and in North Carolina, the rate was higher with one firearm discovered for every 61,275 passengers screened, the agency said. That's a lot of f**king guns.

DESANTIS PROPOSES GESTAPO-STYLE POLICE TO MONITOR ELECTIONS IN FLA: A plan by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis would establish a special police force to oversee state elections — the first of its kind in the nation — and while his fellow Republicans have reacted tepidly, voting rights advocates fear that it will become law and be used to intimidate voters. The proposed Office of Election Crimes and Security would be part of the Department of State, which answers to the governor. DeSantis is asking the GOP-controlled legislature to allocate nearly $6 million to hire 52 people to “investigate, detect, apprehend, and arrest anyone for an alleged violation” of election laws. They would be stationed at unspecified “field offices throughout the state” and act on tips from “government officials or any other person.” DeSantis highlighted his plan as legislators opened their annual 60-day session last week. “There’s a reason that there’s no office of this size with this kind of unlimited investigative authority in any other state in the country, and it’s because election crimes and voter fraud are just not a problem of that magnitude,” said Jonathan Diaz, a voting rights lawyer at the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center. “My number one concern is that this is going to be used as a tool to harass or intimidate civic-engagement organizations and voters.” Florida’s congressional Democrats expressed similar worries when they asked the U.S. Justice Department to investigate “a disturbing rise in partisan efforts at voter suppression” in the state. They took aim specifically at DeSantis’s call for election police. That is downright spooky. Come on, Florida, get rid of this jerk.

CLIMATE CHANGE HAS DEFINITELY INCREASED FREQUENCY AND STRENGTH OF HURRICANES IN THE ATLANTIC: A U.S. National Science Foundation-funded study published in Nature Communications uses climate modeling, rather than storm records, to reconstruct the history of hurricanes and tropical cyclones around the world. The results of the study support the notion that North Atlantic hurricanes have increased in frequency over the last 150 years, as suggested by historical records. In the models studied, major hurricanes, and hurricanes in general, were more frequent today than in the past. And those that made landfall appeared to have grown more powerful, carrying more destructive potential. Curiously, while the North Atlantic has seen an overall increase in storm activity, the same trend was not observed in the rest of the world. The study found that the frequency of tropical cyclones globally has not changed significantly in the last 150 years. "The evidence does point, as the original historical record did, to long-term increases in North Atlantic hurricane activity, but no significant changes in global hurricane activity," says study author Kerry Emanuel of MIT. "It certainly will change the interpretation of climate's effects on hurricanes -- that it's really the regionality of the climate, and that something happened to the North Atlantic that's different from the rest of the globe. It may have been caused by global warming, which is not necessarily globally uniform."