New GOP campaign tactic: "Vote for me, I'm White!"

It doesn't get much more absurd than this:

A Charlotte mayoral candidate wants people to know that she’s Republican, smart – and white. “VOTE FOR ME!” Kimberley Paige Barnette posted on Facebook. “REPUBLICAN & SMART, WHITE, TRADITIONAL.” Barnette, who turned 53 on Friday, is a former Mecklenburg County magistrate making her first run for office.

Asked how the city could help its lower-income residents, Barnette said, “I don’t think we should encourage more lower-income people to (come to) Charlotte.”

“We should attract higher-income people.”

Yeah, that's not really an answer, but I'll play along. How do we attract higher income people to come to Charlotte? I mean, aside from the obvious, "Hey look, we have White people here, too!" Pretty sure that's the sum-total of her plan. Or was the sum-total, since she has apparently scrubbed that idiotic stuff from her Facebook page. As we say out here in the hinterlands (I'm actually like five minutes from the Interstate, but work with me on this) "Bless her heart."

Monday News: Soft targets

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TRUMP SEEKS TO BOLSTER HIS POLL NUMBERS BY UNDOING DACA PROGRAM: President Donald Trump is expected to announce that he will end protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, but with a six-month delay, people familiar with the plans said. The delay in the formal dismantling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, would be intended to give Congress time to decide whether it wants to address the status of the so-called Dreamers legislation, according to two people familiar with the president's thinking. But it was not immediately clear how the six-month delay would work in practice and what would happen to people who currently have work permits under the program, or whose permits expire during the six-month stretch.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article171167797.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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CIVIL RIGHTS CENTER MISSION CENTRAL TO UNC'S BEST TRADITIONS: Frankly, while I’ve found our nation’s private sector has made great strides in civil rights, the same has not been true for the public sector, where many citizens – especially those with the fewest resources to advocate for their interests –suffer daily injustices at the hands of too many elected officials and government bureaucrats. This isn’t to suggest that most government workers aren’t dedicated to serving the public, but that all citizens have the right -- through fact-finding and the courts -- to determine if discriminatory practices exist within the very agencies we support with our tax dollars. It is certainly reasonable to review the work of the Center to assure it is in accord with N.C. State Bar requirements. However, it would be unwise to cease work that meets such a pressing need and provides important and positive contributions for all North Carolinians.
http://www.wral.com/ray-owens-civil-rights-center-mission-central-to-unc-s-best-traditions/16921820/

President of Duke Energy to elderly ratepayers: Take colder showers

And Meck Commissioner Pat Cotham wasn't having any of it:

When Duke Energy’s top executive in North Carolina defended the company’s case for a rate hike this week, he sounded “out of touch” with struggling families, says Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham.

“The NC Duke Energy President bragged about how they were more efficient and installing smart meters so we could track our electric usage on our phones,” Cotham wrote. “But most struggling people and seniors don't have smart phones or access to the internet ... Then he said it.....poor people can take colder showers.”

He's more than just a little out of touch. Everything is relative, and it never ceases to amaze me when wealthy people make value judgments about what things cost. He actually said $18 a month "wasn't that much" of an increase. For him, that's only a couple of cocktails at his favorite lounge. But for a lot of other people, that's groceries for 3-4 days. What may be even more astounding, but it's not mentioned in the Char-O piece: Fountain said if customers are worried about their bills spiking up, they could "prepay" them. What? Aside from the fact that creative financing won't reduce the total dollars due from the customer, that program is complicated as hell, and most people would end up having their power disconnected here and there because their account zeroed out and they didn't immediately fix it. And one of those here or there's might happen when it's 22 degrees outside. As "options" go, that's pretty much useless. Just like the rest of Duke Energy's rationalizations.

Saturday News: Hasta la vista, jerkwad

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REP CHRIS MILLIS, WHO WANTED TO IMPEACH ELAINE MARSHALL, IS RESIGNING FROM NCGA: “My resignation is solely based on my need to be with my family more often and has nothing to do with any other assumptions that individuals may want to manufacture,” Millis wrote. Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said in a statement that Millis belittled public servants for the sake of partisan politics. Representative Millis has attacked, belittled, and dragged through the mud hardworking public servants, including Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, for no reason other than partisan politics,” Goodwin said. “He’s pushed far-right policies that have made our state less safe, and we look forward to competing for his seat and bringing fresh representation to Pender and Columbus counties.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article17...

Adding insult to injury: Toxic pollution from Harvey off the charts

Every time a natural disaster occurs, this crap is soon to follow:

Damage from Hurricane Harvey may have released as much as 2 million pounds of potentially hazardous airborne pollutants from oil refineries and other facilities in the Houston area, according to regulatory filings submitted to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

In some cases, the estimated amounts released vastly exceed legal limits — but the state agency can't confirm how many contaminants have been released because air-quality monitoring stations throughout the area were shut down prior to Harvey's landfall.

We're not just talking about gasoline-related issues; the location of these refineries also means Houston is a hub for all petrochemical byproducts, from various plastics to a smorgasbord of industrial chemicals. The word "nasty" doesn't even come close. And when you're talking about air(borne) pollutants, even a few thousand pounds is a lot of dangerous particles. 2 million pounds? That's catastrophe-level stuff. Just one of the culprits is Benzene, and it's likely making an appearance in several Houston neighborhoods:

Friday News: Puppet irony

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JLF'S MARTINEZ GETS CALLED OUT FOR CLIMATE CHANGE DENIALISM DURING "FAKE NEWS" FORUM: Toward the end of the forum, an audience member suggested that journalism that simply builds a story around quotes from people with two opposing views without digging deeply into their words can result in an inaccurate report, especially when science is involved. Another audience member echoed that, and suggested stories about climate change fell into a similar category. To that, Martinez responded that the science was not clear on that issue. Audience members reacted with vocal criticism – prompting Martinez to say the reaction showed an unwillingness to listen to opposing opinions. Some in the audience then responded with another phrase that has taken off on social media during the presidency of Trump – “alternative facts,” several called out to Martinez.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article170497942.html

GOP coercion: Give us our plastic bags and we'll give you GENX funding

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Playing political games during a public health crisis:

The state's plastic bag ban, in effect since 2009 on the barrier islands and peninsulas of Dare, Currituck and Hyde counties, would be repealed under the House Bill 56. House Minority Leader Darren Jackson accused Republicans of "playing games" by tying the repeal to what essentially amounts to emergency clean water funding.

Jackson, D-Wake, asked Republican bill negotiators in committee why GenX couldn't have its own bill. Rep. Pat McElraft, R-Carteret, said Senate negotiators wanted the issues joined. "It's the vehicle we used," said McElraft, who helped work out the final language. "That's the privilege that we have here, to use any vehicle we want."

No, the privilege you have is being trusted by the people to do the right thing, but it's actions like this that betray that trust. You are basically using the fear and angst of Wilmington-area citizens as an "opportunity" to get something else you want, and it doesn't get much more disgusting than that. And while we're on the subject of disgust, the penny-pinching behind this so-called "funding" should enrage those citizens:

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