NC GOP

Gun dealer Ted Budd declares Senate run

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My Trump is bigger than your Trump:

Budd announced his candidacy Wednesday morning with the launch of a website. Budd touts himself as a family man, small businessman and “liberal agenda crusher.” Budd, from Davie County, is in his third term in the U.S. House.

Earlier this month, Budd’s campaign consultant said Budd was talking with Lara Trump about their potential runs. Budd met with Donald Trump over the weekend in Florida, Politico reported.

Here's a clue, Teddy: If you find yourself traveling to Florida to decide if you should run in a North Carolina election, that cereal box compass is definitely on the fritz. To say Budd has a long way to go is a gross understatement. He hasn't reached double-digits in any polls, and trails pretty much everybody, including Mark Walker.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

It's a great idea, but of course Republicans won't legalize marijuana. It makes too much sense.

Family will view Andrew Brown shooting video today

But a judge will have to approve the release to the general public:

As community leaders ask for the release of body camera footage to the public, Wayne Kendall, attorney for the family of Andrew Brown, Jr., says the family will be able to view the footage on Monday.

"Family members are allowed to see bodycam recording if the image of a deceased person that is related to that person is on the recording," Kendall explained. "And their attorneys are allowed to see it. That's codified within the statute, so there's no issue there."

Apparently there is an issue, since Brown was shot Wednesday morning and the family has yet to see it. I can see waiting 24 hours to give the department time to analyze the footage, but not six days. As expected, this story went national pretty quickly: Note: the image above shows a stray bullet that struck a neighbor's home. When SWAT shows up, it's time to duck and cover.

The biomass bait-and-switch: From scraps to whole trees

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This was both predictable and preventable:

Several Enviva mills were soon processing material from logging sites and sawmills throughout the region. Environmental groups say they have documented truckloads of logs and whole trees, not just leftovers, entering pellet mills. Publicly available images show logs stacked at mills, and a reporter outside a pellet mill entrance saw trucks of logs entering.

Pellet makers’ pledges to rely on waste wood “painted them into a corner,” said Robert Abt, a forest economist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, because the wood-products industry already used its supplies relatively efficiently, leaving little waste.

Around 2009 or so I got into a protracted (online) debate with an NC State grad student about burning biomass as a replacement for coal. I could not get him to admit that, eventually, the industry would grow to the point it would need to consume whole trees instead of detritus. Which he stubbornly claimed would be "more than enough" to satisfy demands. But aside from the deforestation issues, the environmental justice impact of these plants is horrendous:

Protect the NC Constitution: TABOR is back, and it's really bad

Voting about voting about tax increases:

No law shall be enacted to impose or increase any tax, or to allow the counties, cities, or towns to do so, unless approved by a majority of the qualified voters of the jurisdiction to which the tax or increase pertains.

This isn't just about sales taxes, it's about all taxes. Including property taxes levied by county, city, and town governments. Those property taxes are a major source of funding for school construction, but they also cover police and fire protection, public works, parks & recreation, etc. Every year (or two) municipal governments crunch numbers on their budgets (which the state requires to be balanced, by the way), and those elected officials have to decide what is needed, and whether property taxes have to be increased to cover those needs. They are already constrained by electoral politics, but this Amendment would shift those decisions directly to the voters. And if you believe they would ever vote to increase their own taxes, I've got a bridge to nowhere I'd like to sell you.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Cue bigoted Republicans bashing the NCAA in 3...2...1...

No refuge: Transgender youth persecuted by their families first

It's no wonder the suicide rate is so high:

28 – percentage of transgender or nonbinary youth who attempted suicide who reported they had been subjected to so-called “conversion therapy.”

78 – percentage of transgender or nonbinary youth who reported that they were under the age of 18 when they were subjected to “conversion therapy.”

40 – percentage of transgender or nonbinary youth who reported being physically threatened or harmed due to their gender identity.

50 – percentage of transgender or nonbinary youth who reported being kicked out of their homes.

To call those numbers "shameful" is a gross understatement. Children are the greatest responsibility an adult can have, and tossing them out if you can't "fix" them is the height of selfish irresponsibility. It's also criminal, or at least it's supposed to be. Conversion therapy is psychologically abusive and, in many cases, also physically abusive. Of course Republicans know this, but they refuse to stop it. And they also don't care if NC gets negative national exposure for promoting violence against transgender youth:

Protect the NC Constitution: Anti-union amendment needs to be blocked

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It's like déjà vu all over again:

Sens. Carl Ford, R-Rowan, and Jim Burgin, R-Harnett, have introduced a bill — Senate Bill 624 — that would guarantee N.C. workers would not be forced to join a labor union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

North Carolina has had such a “right-to-work” law in place since 1947, but it could be repealed by a future General Assembly. Putting this language in the state constitution would all but guarantee that North Carolina would remain a right-to-work state for the foreseeable future.

I was afraid this would become a regular thing, slapping 4-6 Constitutional Amendments on the ballot every two years. For those inclined to allow the voters to make these decisions, just remember Amendment One from nine years ago. 61% of the voters chose to block gay marriage. Back then, a lot of people I know weren't worried about it. It wouldn't pass, because we had "outgrown" such bigoted concepts. Aside from the potential hazards of each Amendment voted upon, the more they show up on ballots, the less "important" they become in the eyes of voters. Pretty soon it's like changing socks.

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