Monday News: Toxic red tide

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REPUBLICANS' LOOK TO NC SUBURBS TO REGAIN SUPERMAJORITY: “The most competitive region in this state, in terms of voting patterns, are those ‘urban suburbs,’” said Michael Bitzer, a political scientist at Catawba College. “The places outside the urban centers of Raleigh and Charlotte, but still in the county.” Reflecting that reality are the new political maps Republican state lawmakers passed last month, both for their own districts and for the congressional districts. There are almost no competitive seats in any of those maps, with most elections likely to be decided in the primary in March, not the general election in November. With the maps already favoring Republicans even in a 50-50 year, and with 2022 looking like it could be a strong year for Republicans, some Democrats are starting to raise alarms about those suburban districts that could be in play next year. “You’ve got to make sure they don’t have veto-proof supermajorities,” said Thomas Mills, a longtime Democratic consultant who runs the blog Politics NC. “That’s got to be the Democrats’ first goal.” I agree with Thomas, preserving Governor Cooper's Veto power is critical.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article255741861.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS UNDERMINING THE RULE OF LAW: From our founding, our state constitution has given an independent judiciary the solemn duty to declare what is the law for every case that comes before it, including whether or not an act by either the executive or legislative branches violates the constitution. The judiciary is accountable to the rule of law and not to the legislative or executive branches. Once the judiciary has established the rule of law for the case, the legislative and executive branches of government hold the companion duty to assure the rule of law is fully implemented. This principle is fundamental to our democracy. That legislators believe they can ignore constitutional obligations without check by the courts should profoundly disturb all citizens. That some legislators demeaned a judge acting in accordance with law, thereby undermining judicial independence and authority, is equally disturbing. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. GOP leaders have behaved like tyrants for over a decade, and would have been infinitely worse if not for the Judicial Branch. Of course they attack Judge Lee, because he represents their only obstacle to complete domination, our Constitution itself.
https://www.wral.com/burley-mitchell-henry-van-hoy-general-assembly-undermines-rule-of-law/19967646/

Saturday News: Total Capitulation

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TIM MOORE IS AFRAID TO RUN AGAINST MADISON CAWTHORN: In Cawthorn’s announcement, he did not mention Moore by name, but he said he was worried about an “establishment” Republican prevailing in the 13th district if he did not run. “Knowing the political realities of the 13th district, I am afraid that another establishment, go-along to get-along Republican would prevail there. I will not let that happen,” Cawthorn said in a video announcement. Saine and Moore were at a fundraiser in the Outer Banks with other lawmakers on Thursday night when the news broke, first of Cawthorn’s change and then of Moore’s decision not to run for Congress. “I told him that he’s my speaker and has done a good job. I haven’t heard any announcement to the contrary and he continues to have my support as speaker,” Saine said. Yeah, you can play it like that 'til the cows come home, but everybody knows the deal. Afraid of a nut-job in a wheelchair, and afraid Trump will choose the crazy one to support. Which he would, of course.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article255751846.html

Friday News: Honor them now, not after they die

HOMELESS RALEIGH VETERAN GETS VERY NICE FUNERAL: For more than a decade, Dominic Fiumara lived in a tent at the back of a Raleigh cemetery, where he was known as a tough, elder statesman of the city’s homeless. Nobody who shied away from Fiumara on the sidewalks knew he once wore a uniform, serving 15 years in the U.S. Army, lastly with the 1st Cavalry Division. They did not know he fought in the Gulf War, or that he earned the Bronze Star. They did not hear about the demons that pulled him out of polite society, leaving him so estranged that nobody noticed for weeks when he died at 63. There are some 50,000 homeless veterans in the United States, and about half of them suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition. Some 21 veterans commit suicide in our country every single day, and it's a good bet a lot of them are probably on the verge (or past the verge) of homelessness when they take that final step. Each F-35 costs about $78 million, not counting fuel and upkeep, while our outreach and assistance to veterans is patchy at best. We must do better.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article255699151.html

Thursday News: Pay up, tightwads

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LEANDRO JUDGE ORDERS TRANSFER OF 1.7 BILLION TO SCHOOLS: State Superior Court Judge David Lee ruled Wednesday that North Carolina has failed to provide students with their Constitutional guarantee to a sound basic education. To remedy the violation, Lee ordered the state budget director, state treasurer and state controller to “take the necessary actions to transfer the total amount” to fund the next two years of a plan developed by an education consultant. Lee, speaking at a court hearing in Raleigh, said that the state Constitution empowers the courts to act when the other branches of government don’t follow their constitutional obligations. He said “the court’s deference is at an end” after waiting 17 years since the last time the N.C. Supreme Court said the state wasn’t meeting its educational obligations. “The repeated failure by the state is a constitutional violation that has to be remedied,” Lee said. Didn't I just say that? I could have sworn...
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article255678281.html

Wednesday News: It's the other way around, dimwits

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REPUBLICANS SAY LEANDRO JUDGE WILL VIOLATE THE CONSTITUTION IF HE UPHOLDS THE CONSTITUTION: The plaintiffs in the long-running Leandro school funding court battle have proposed requiring the state budget director, state controller and state treasurer to turn over $1.7 billion to fund the next two years of a new education plan. State Superior Court Judge David Lee has scheduled a court hearing in Raleigh on Wednesday to consider their proposal. “This Court cannot permit the State to continue failing to effectuate the right to a sound basic education guaranteed to the people of North Carolina, nor can it indefinitely wait for the State to act,” the plaintiffs say in their proposed court order, which was obtained first by WRAL. Senate Republicans said in a press release Monday they expect Lee will attempt to order the transfer of funds, which they say would be unconstitutional. The NC Supreme Court ruled that not funding schools properly actually violated the NC Constitution, this is a remedy for that. Case closed.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article255584551.html

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