Tuesday News: Vote like your life depends on it, because it does

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2018 MID-TERMS THE EPITOME OF GRASSROOTS ACTIVISM: Once pegged as a low-thrill election cycle without major statewide races, North Carolina's campaign season became a high-intensity fight over Republican governance in Raleigh and Washington, and whether Democrats deserve more power. Record numbers voted early before Tuesday's midterms, reflecting the energy and money injected into legislative, judicial and congressional races and ballot questions. State Democrats raised mammoth sums of cash, buoyed by Gov. Roy Cooper's call to "Break the Majority" of the GOP in both the House and Senate this decade. Appraisals of state Republican control stretched to a state Supreme Court race and six referendums that if approved would imprint GOP policies in the state constitution. Three GOP congressional seats were also threatened with close races. Cooper raised at least $7 million for the state Democratic Party, which passed money along to the party's legislative candidates.
https://www.wral.com/n-carolina-elections-got-amped-up-despite-lacking-major-race/17973565/

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Judgment day has arrived:

If you've already voted, take some time to talk to folks at your precinct. If you haven't voted yet, do that first and then talk to people.

NC's carbon footprint is improving, but it's complicated

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Hat-tip to Lisa Sorg for digging into the details:

The NC Department of Environmental Quality’s draft Greenhouse Gas Inventory shows the state’s contributions to a warming and unpredictable global climate, but also portends possible good news: North Carolina is expected to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent to 28 percent by 2025, which would achieve or exceed the national goals. Already, the state has reduced its gross GHG emissions by 20 percent over the past 12 years, even while the population and economic productivity grew by 18 percent.

There are a lot of factors behind this reduction, and one of them is the conversion of coal-burning power plants to those that use nat gas. We would also be foolish to discount the fact that North Carolina is now generating close to 4 Gigawatts of Solar PV. That's 4,000 Megawatts, the equivalent of several coal plants. But doing a state-specific inventory of greenhouse gas emissions may be faulty right from the start. Our increased demand for natural gas, which is extracted in other states, is a prime example. Fugitive emissions of methane occur at both the drilling (fracking) sites and during transportation, so we own some of that, even if it happens in Pennsylvania. And then there's the scourge of the wood pellet industry:

Monday News: Blaming the victim

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NC "INFLUENCERS" LUMP GOVERNOR COOPER IN WITH LEGISLATURE ON DIVISIVENESS: Overwhelmingly, the NC Influencers — Democrats, Republicans and those with no party affiliation — said the legislature, Gov. Roy Cooper, and Congress should strive for bipartisanship as they craft policies. State politics has been marked by heated partisan battles between the Republican-led legislature and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Cooper has gone to court multiple times to challenge the legislature’s attempts to limit his power. Some major laws pass with only Republican votes. “The governor has the most significant platform in the state to affect the public policy ecosystem,” Stith said. “Gov. Cooper should implement a policy-based initiative focused on the jobs/economy, education and health care. Litigation and railing against the NC legislature may meet political muster, however it does little to address the pressing issues facing the citizens of North Carolina.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/influencers/article221016990.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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WHAT IF EVERYONE VOTED? As a result, voters’ experiences in the same national election will vary significantly by state, to a greater degree than has been true in decades. Underlying that reality is an increasingly partisan split over whether it should be a goal at all in the United States to get more people to vote. Many political scientists say that policies that make voting easier would also make American democracy more representative and less likely to favor the interests of wealthier, older and white voters who typically turn out at higher rates. Broader participation, proponents say, could ease polarization, lift faith in government and dampen criticism that politicians representing the views of a minority of Americans wield the majority of power in Washington. “Equalizing turnout across the population would be the single best thing we could do for our democracy and probably for our country in the near term,” said Adam Bonica, a political scientist at Stanford.
https://www.wral.com/what-if-everyone-voted-/17953734/

Open thread: 2018 early voting blows the doors off previous mid-terms

Saturday News: The party of fearmongering

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NC REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES PLAY THE CARAVAN CARD AGAINST DEMOCRATS: The ads feature darkened, threatening images of immigrant caravans, dark-skinned people throwing rocks, crowds rioting. Some are federal ads, broadcast and tweeted by everyone from President Donald Trump to congressional candidates. But others are Republican ads in state races, from the North Carolina Supreme Court to the state Senate and House – offices that have no control over federal immigration policy. Steven Greene, a political science professor at North Carolina State University, said the candidates and outside groups airing the ads are betting voters don't know the difference. Other ads for state candidates label opponents as "dangerous" and "extremist." One by a national political action committee claims a vote for any Democrat is a vote for socialism and chaos.
https://www.wral.com/immigration-not-part-of-official-duties-that-s-not-stopping-candidates-from-run...

GOP darling Gerry Mander gets another kick in the pants

3-judge panel rules 4 Wake County House districts unconstitutional:

The ruling won't change the lines for Tuesday's legislative elections, but the panel said the General Assembly must redraw the districts no later than the end of its next regular session or July 1 of next year, whichever comes first. The districts involved are House District 36, currently held by Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake; House District 37, held by Rep. John Adcock, R-Wake; House District 40, held by Rep. Joe John, D-Wake; and House District 41, held by Rep. Gale Adcock.

N.C. House Elections and Ethics Law Chairman David Lewis, R-Harnett, said leadership will review the ruling over the next few weeks and decide its next step. "Obviously I disagree with the Decision and believe it will create voter uncertainty and confusion," Lewis said in a statement.

Oh, that's rich. Drawing unconstitutional districts is not the danger, it's fixing the problem we should be afraid of. If you look the word "Hubris" up in the dictionary, there a picture of David Lewis over in the margin.

Former GOP County Chair accuses Senator Michael Lee of "influence peddling"

Sometimes swinging your weight around makes you fall over:

The complaint was filed by William R. Shell and Terry Reilly, both of whom spoke during public hearings for The Avenue development on Military Cutoff Road. Sent to the North Carolina State Ethics Commission, the complaint alleges, in short, that Lee uses his position as a state senator to implicitly pressure New Hanover County and Wilmington boards when he appears before them in his private role an attorney for developers.

“There is nothing illegal about lawyers who are members of the General Assembly representing private clients,” the complaint reads. “However, the problem here is that Lee is representing those clients before local governmental boards and commissions which are dependent upon the North Carolina General Assembly for things they wish to have done and funding and frankly, for even their existence … the members of the governing boards of counties and cities cannot afford to cross a local senator.”

If you don't think local government officials worry about getting on the "wrong side" of General Assembly members, especially those in the NC Senate, think again. Not only because of grants and earmarks that municipalities are desperate for, but there's always the aura of the stick, as well. And with our weird "local bill" rules that preclude a Gubernatorial Veto, if you piss off the wrong person, all of a sudden your zoning and taxing authority evaporates. This is most definitely a conflict of interest, and I am not (one tiny bit) surprised that Tom Fetzer is right up in the middle of it:

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