Wednesday News: It's up to the judges now


REDRAWN DISTRICT MAPS HEAD TO 3-JUDGE PANEL FOR APPROVAL: The General Assembly on Tuesday finished redrawing dozens of North Carolina legislative districts that a court declared were designed with extreme partisan bias favoring Republicans. The House voted for the Senate remap and the Senate approved the House proposal. Tuesday's discussions were much shorter than when the chambers debated and voted on their respective replacement maps for their own seats in recent days. A timeline set by the trial court allows legal briefs objecting to the replacement districts by Sept. 27, with any response to those objections filed by Oct. 4. Candidate filing begins in early December for next year's elections, starting with early March primaries.

NC HOUSE REPUBLICANS PUSH THEIR OWN VERSION OF MEDICAID EXPANSION: The House Health Committee scheduled Wednesday debate on legislation that it heard and approved in July, but has been idled during the state budget impasse. House Speaker Tim Moore said last week that his chamber would consider it again now that the chamber overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's budget veto. The proposal sets recipient work requirements and premiums. Bill sponsor Rep. Donny Lambeth said several amendments would be heard Wednesday. Even if the full House approves an expansion proposal, Senate Republicans have expressed strong opposition to the idea. Cooper and other Democrats back expansion, and he vetoed the budget in part because it lacked expansion.

WHITE SUPREMACISTS RECRUITING CHILDREN AS YOUNG AS 11 WITH INTERNET MEMES: “This is a specific strategy of white nationalists and alt-right groups,” says Lindsay Schubiner, program director at the Western States Center, a nonprofit organization focused on social, economic, racial and environmental justice. Schubiner co-authored a tool kit published by the center this year that offers guidance to school officials and parents who are facing white nationalist threats in their communities. “White nationalist and alt-right groups use jokes and memes as a way to normalize bigotry while still maintaining plausible deniability,” Schubiner says, “and it works very well as a recruitment strategy for young people.” Schroeder saw this firsthand when she sat down with her kids to look at their Instagram accounts together. “I saw the memes that came across my kids’ timelines, and once I started clicking on those and seeking this material out, then it became clear what was really happening,” she says. With each tap of a finger, the memes grew darker: sexist and racist jokes (for instance, a looping video clip of a white boy demonstrating how to “get away with saying the n-word,” or memes referring to teen girls as “thots,” an acronym for “that ho over there”) led to more racist and dehumanizing propaganda, such as infographics falsely asserting that black people are inherently violent.

TRUMP'S EPA SET TO STRIP CALIFORNIA OF ITS POWER TO REGULATE EMISSIONS: The Trump administration plans this week to revoke California’s long-standing right to set stricter air pollution standards for cars and light trucks, the latest step in a broad campaign to undermine Obama-era policies aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, two senior administration officials said. The move threatens to set in motion a massive legal battle between California and the federal government, plunge automakers into a prolonged period of uncertainty and create turmoil in the nation’s auto market. The Environmental Protection Agency declined to comment on the matter. But in a speech Tuesday to the National Automobile Dealers Association, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler made his intentions clear. “We embrace federalism and the role of the states, but federalism does not mean that one state can dictate standards for the nation,” he said.

NETANYAHU MAY (FINALLY) HAVE TO RELINQUISH HIS HOLD OVER ISRAELI GOVERNMENT: Israel’s election was still too close to call Wednesday afternoon, with neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor his chief rival, the former army chief Benny Gantz, a centrist, immediately commanding enough support to form a majority coalition, according to partial results and exit polls. But Mr. Gantz’s Blue and White party appeared to have come out ahead of Mr. Netanyahu’s conservative Likud, giving a small third party the power to decide the outcome. And his avowed desire to force a unity coalition including both their parties made it likely that, if the projections held, Mr. Gantz would be given the first chance of forming a government. With about 63 percent of the ballots counted, Blue and White had 25.8 percent of the vote, slightly ahead of Likud, with 25.1 percent. The murky outcome itself was a humiliating blow to Mr. Netanyahu, 69, the nation’s longest-serving prime minister, who forced the do-over election when he failed to assemble a coalition in May, rather than let Mr. Gantz have a try.



The close vote in Israel

underscores the fractured nature of politics today. We seem to be divided evenly between warmongering fascists and social democrats ... with very little wiggle room in the middle. Maybe it's always been that way? I dunno. All I can say is I won't mind it when my time on this earth is over ... though I have great sadness for future generations, including my own grandchildren.

I kinda like the new guy

Benny Gantz. I mean, he's not really a new guy, he commanded the IDF for about 5 years before moving into the Knesset. But he says he wants peace with the Palestinians, and he's ready to make concessions on some land. If it's in the West Bank, that would be fantastic.

He's still right of center, but the days of a Liberal being able to form a majority coalition are (probably) long past.