Friday News: Ruh-roh, Relroy


NC STATE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION LOOKING INTO MARK MEADOWS' VOTER FRAUD: The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations that a former Trump aide who once represented North Carolina in Congress may have committed voter fraud. Nazneen Ahmed, spokeswoman for Attorney General Josh Stein’s office, confirmed the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after the New Yorker first reported that the former congressman, who represented North Carolina’s westernmost district, registered to vote in September 2020 using an address he had never visited. Ahmed said Stein’s office received a request from Macon County District Attorney Ashley Welch that the Department of Justice’s Special Prosecutions Sections assume her role in this matter, and the DOJ agreed. Break out the popcorn. Seriously, I'm hungry, but anything that takes more than 3 minutes 15 seconds (that is the optimum popping time) it too much work.

NC REPUBLICANS ARE MASTERS AT WITHHOLDING PUBLIC DOCUMENTS: An attorney for Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said he "did not play an active role in the 2021 redistricting process," and had no records to provide. Eight state lawmakers directly involved in the redistricting process told the N.C. Watchdog Reporting Network they had no records to hand over. That includes several GOP senators, who responded with formal letters using largely identical legal language. "My office did not make a drafting or information request to any legislative employee related to redistricting, nor did a legislative employee prepare documents related to redistricting at the request of my office," wrote Sen. Kathy Harrington, the Republican majority leader, in early February. "Therefore, my office does not possess documents responsive to your request." Methinks the SBI should be looking into this, as well.

GOVERNOR COOPER SOUNDS A HIGH NOTE ON COVID: Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday told North Carolinians he believes the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed. "We can look forward with the belief that the worst is behind us," Cooper said during a news conference. "Now we enter the next phase. One of individual responsibility, preparedness and prosperity. It's time to chart the new course. This virus will still be with us but it won't disrupt us." Cooper's words came exactly two years after he announced a closure for the state's bars and restaurants, allowing them to only offer take-out service. In recent weeks, many towns, counties, school districts and municipalities have lifted requirements for mask-wearing. Cooper said the State of Emergency order will not be lifted at this time as the state uses the order as a tool to provide flexibility for hospitals for possible surges in the virus. His announcement comes as Wake County Public Health reduces the number of appointments available for COVID-19 testing and vaccination and as the state's numbers continue to improve. I hope he's right. He usually is.

RUSSIA GETS A TASTE OF ITS OWN MEDICINE WITH MASSIVE HACKER ATTACK: Russian government websites and state-run media face an “unprecedented” wave of hacking attacks, the government said Thursday, prompting regulators to filter traffic coming from abroad. In a statement, the Ministry of Digital Development and Communications said the attacks were at least twice as powerful as any previous ones. It did not elaborate on what filtering measures had been implemented, but in the past, this has often meant barring Russian government websites to users abroad. “We are recording unprecedented attacks on the websites of government authorities,” the statement said. “If their capacity at peak times reached 500 GB earlier, it is now up to 1 TB. That is, two to three times more powerful than the most serious incidents of this type previously recorded.” Wednesday evening, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry website was defaced by hackers, who altered its content. Notably, the hack replaced the department hotline with a number for Russian soldiers to call if they want to defect from the army — under the title “Come back from Ukraine alive.” Top news items on the ministry’s front page were changed to “Don’t believe Russian media — they lie” and “Default in Russia is near,” along with a link offering “full information about the war in Ukraine.” I generally hate hackers, but I can get behind this.

NO, THAT WASN'T MY SCIENCE POST, THIS IS MY SCIENCE POST: NASA’s Psyche mission is almost ready for its moment in the Sun – a 1.5-billion-mile (2.4-billion-kilometer) solar-powered journey to a mysterious, metal-rich asteroid of the same name. Twin solar arrays have been attached to the spacecraft body, unfolded lengthwise, and then restowed. This test brings the craft that much closer to completion before its August launch. “Seeing the spacecraft fully assembled for the first time is a huge accomplishment; there’s a lot of pride,” said Brian Bone, who leads assembly, test, and launch operations for the mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “This is the true fun part. You’re feeling it all come together. You feel the energy change and shift.” At 800 square feet (75 square meters), the five-panel, cross-shaped solar arrays are the largest ever installed at JPL, which has built many spacecraft over the decades. When the arrays fully deploy in flight, the spacecraft will be about the size of a singles tennis court. After a 3 ½-year solar-powered cruise, the craft will arrive in 2026 at the asteroid Psyche, which is 173 miles (280 kilometers) at its widest point and thought to be unusually rich in metal. The spacecraft will spend nearly two years making increasingly close orbits of the asteroid to study it. Venturing to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, far from the Sun, presents challenges for this mission, which adapted standard Earth-orbiting commercial satellite technology for use in the cold and dark of deep space. Near Earth, the solar arrays generate 21 kilowatts – enough electricity to power three or four average U.S. homes. But at Psyche, they’ll produce only about 2 kilowatts – sufficient for little more than a hair dryer. About an hour after launch, the arrays will deploy and latch into place in a process that will take 7 ½ minutes per wing. They will then provide all the power for the journey to asteroid Psyche, as well as the power needed to operate the science instruments: a magnetometer to measure any magnetic field the asteroid may have, imagers to photograph and map its surface, and spectrometers to reveal the composition of that surface. I do love this new feature.



Mad Cawthorn featured on Russian tv

Russian state media has been showing, on repeat, a recent video of NC Congressman, insurrectionist traitor, and Nazi pleasure tourist Madison Cawthorn calling the Ukraine president a "thug".

Do we hear anything from the NC GOP denouncing this? Berger? Moore? Anybody?

Of course not.