Saturday News: An idiot shall lead them


THE CLOSER YOU LOOK AT DALLAS WOODHOUSE, THE LESS YOU SEE: In 2014, Woodhouse stood on the sidelines of a Moral Monday protest. He recruited a young woman to wear a sun costume. He wanted to convey to protesters that sunny days had arrived for the state’s economy under GOP leadership, so he handed out Sunkist sodas and yellow, sun-shaped stress balls with the message, “Jobs up, unemployment down.” Woodhouse went on MSNBC during the 2016 presidential election to explain why the state should not have early voting on Sundays. He then pulled out a pair of handcuffs mid-interview to blast Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. “We don’t have a suppression vote problem in North Carolina,” he told MSNBC. “The Democrats have a depression problem. And you know why? It’s very simple: Their candidate, if elected, could have these (handcuffs) on Inauguration Day.”

DEM PROSPECTS IN 2018 GENERAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS LOOKING BETTER: Wrenn says it's not at all unusual for the party that loses the White House to win state and congressional seats in the next cycle. It's known as a "wave election," and it happened in 2010 after President Barack Obama's first election. Earlier this month, Democrats made huge gains in the Virginia statehouse, overturning even senior Republicans. Democrats are hoping to flip five state House seats to break the GOP's veto-proof majority there. Wrenn believes that is a possibility. State Democratic Party spokesman Robert Howard agrees. "New, less-partisan districts, a political climate fueled by people's frustration with Republican attempts to rig the system against the middle class, and strong Democratic challengers will make even the most gerrymandered Republican districts competitive," Howard said in a statement.

DUKE ENERGY WILL LIKELY GET SOME INCREASE IN RATES, BUT HOW MUCH IS THE QUESTION: The case will proceed Monday much like a trial, with attorneys for the two sides making arguments before commissioners. When this case began, Duke was seeking approval to bring in another $477 million a year in revenue. They later cut that to $419 million. The proposed settlement cuts that to about $348.5 million a year. If the commission accepts the settlement and sides with Duke on all the other issues still outstanding, that's how much new revenue the company would be authorized to bring in each year. If the commission sided fully with the public staff, that figure would drop to about $142 million above the company's current annual revenue. Either figure would fall by another $42.6 million to account for customer refunds the company would pay out over the next four years.

TRUMP LIES (BIG SURPRISE) ABOUT TIME MAGAZINE PERSON OF THE YEAR ISSUE: Time magazine is disputing President Donald Trump's account of how he rejected the magazine's request for an interview and photo sessions ahead of its "Person of the Year" issue. In a Friday evening tweet, Trump says the magazine informed him he was "probably" going to be granted the title for the second year in a row. He tweets: "I said probably is no good and took a pass." Later that evening, Time tweeted that Trump "is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year." The magazine says it doesn't comment on its choice until publication. Trump frequently brags about his cover appearances in the iconic magazine. He has falsely claimed to hold the record of cover appearances.

COLLEGE FRATERNITIES COME UNDER CLOSE SCRUTINY OVER PLEDGE FATALITIES: The deaths of at least four fraternity pledges this year have helped fuel a re-examination of Greek life at U.S. colleges, which have long struggled with how to crack down on hazing, alcohol abuse and other unwelcome aspects without disbanding organizations that have loyal members and alumni. Changing attitudes, increased public scrutiny and fears of facing lawsuits also have caused schools to take action, anti-hazing advocates say. Tracy Maxwell, founder of and a longtime Greek life consultant, sees parallels with the national discussion about sexual harassment. “People are at a breaking point, where they’re not willing to accept behavior that has been acceptable in some circles for decades or centuries,” she said. Four universities have suspended fraternity activities on their campuses within the past two weeks.