Thursday News: Enshrining bigotry

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EVANGELICAL LEADERS SIGN ANTI-GAY "MANIFESTO" THAT LAMENTS DECLINE OF WESTERN CULTURE: The president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest and several faculty members have signed a statement from conservative evangelicals saying same-sex attraction and identifying as transgender are sinful and that supporting either is immoral. The 14-article manifesto, called “the Nashville Statement” for the city where it was ratified, was released late Tuesday by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, an evangelical coalition formed in 1987. More than 150 people had signed the document when it was put online Tuesday, including Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Matthews. Through the day Wednesday, it garnered more signatures.
http://www.newsobserver.com/living/religion/article170185087.html

UNC to white supremacist Richard Spencer: Nope

Kudos to Chancellor Folt for making the right decision:

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt has declined a request from the National Policy Institute to rent a space for white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak on campus, citing safety concerns. “Our basis for this decision is the safety and security of the campus community—we are not willing to risk anyone’s safety in light of these known risks,” Folt said in a statement.

“I am deeply saddened and disturbed that the violent and virulent rhetoric being espoused by extremist groups has jeopardized the ability of campuses to promote robust dialogue and debate about important issues while ensuring public safety.”

What she said. It's long past time we stop allowing these racists to spew their hatred under the guise of pseudo-intellectual debate. Keep in mind, under the new GOP "Campus Free Speech" law just enacted, students who would have protested this bigoted nut-job would have faced punishment for that. Which is probably *exactly* why the National Policy Institute wanted to have him speak now, so they could force the UNC administration to carry out said punishments. This ain't over yet, folks. They'll pick another school in the UNC System before you can light that tiki torch, so keep your peepers open

Republican supporter of non-partisan redistricting gets double-bunked

But Jon Hardister has a fix for that, says he will move to Whitsett:

State Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Greensboro) plans on moving to eastern Guilford County to avoid having to run against a GOP colleague under the Republican-led redistricting proposal legislators are poised to adopt.

In the new plan being finalized this week, Hardister and state Rep. John Faircloth (R-High Point) both live in Guilford County’s proposed state House of Representatives’ District 61. Faircloth represents the current District 61 and plans to run for re-election in 2018.

I'm tempted to act all Nostradamus-like because this is almost exactly what I warned Republicans about in this Op-Ed column, but I don't want to put the kibosh on Bill Cook leaving, so I'll leave the bragging for later. As far as Jon is concerned, if there's going to be a Republican taking over this new District, then I'm glad it's going to be him.

Wednesday News: Good riddance

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RENEWABLE ENERGY OPPONENT BILL COOK SET TO RETIRE AFTER NEW MAPS PUSH HIM OUT: Redistricting claimed its first victim. Republican state Sen. Bill Cook, drawn into a Democratic-leaning district in a new election map, announced Tuesday that he won’t run for reelection. Cook, who lives in Beaufort County, argued against the configuration of the district this week. It’s an area Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won with 53 percent of the vote over Republican Donald Trump, who took 45 percent. The new district includes incumbent Democratic Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, who lives in Northampton County. Cook vigorously opposed solar farms, saying they permanently ruined farmland. Solar technology experts say such concerns are unfounded.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article17...

Tuesday News: Living in the age of tyrants

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NORTH KOREA FIRES MISSILE OVER JAPAN WHILE US CONDUCTS NAVAL WAR GAMES IN AREA: North Korea fired a ballistic missile from its capital Pyongyang that flew over Japan before plunging into the northern Pacific Ocean, officials said Tuesday, an aggressive test-flight over the territory of a close U.S. ally that sends a clear message of defiance as Washington and Seoul conduct war games nearby. Each new test puts the North a step closer toward its goal of an arsenal of nuclear missiles that can reliably target the United States. The North has launched at an unusually fast pace this year, and some analysts believe the North could have viable long-range nuclear missiles before the end of President Donald Trump's first term in early 2021.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/world/article169856987.html

Who's the liar, Berger or Lewis?

Yesterday, Senator Phil Berger said:

"This is not a racial gerrymander. This is not a political gerrymander."

Three weeks earlier, Representative David Lewis said:

"We want to make clear that we are going to use political data in drawing this map. It is to gain partisan advantage on the map. I want that criteria to be clearly stated and understood.”

It's way past time for the courts to take his clusterfluck away from the legislature and draw new districts itself.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This pretty much sums up the GOP's efforts to repair their unconstitutional maps:

We have to fight the new maps, which means candidate recruitment and other campaign efforts might be pointless in the near future. Gee thanks.

Duke Energy wants to fleece customers for coal ash cleanup and canceled nuke plant

Asking for a 16.7% rate increase from residential customers:

The increase includes Duke’s request to recover almost $680 million from customers for the money spent since 2015 cleaning up the utility’s coal-ash ponds at eight current and former coal-powered plants in North and South Carolina.

And the filing says Duke will ask the N.C. Utilities Commission to cancel plans for Duke’s proposed Lee Nuclear Station and let Duke charge N.C. customers for the state’s share of more than $540 million in planning and pre-construction costs the utility has already spent on the project. That will be detailed in a separate filing.

Aside from being costly mistakes made by the utility itself, neither one of those things will provide an additional kilowatt of energy for our state. Nothing. If you walked into a Belks or even a Harris Teeter and were greeted with a sign that said, "We made some stupid decisions so now we've raised our prices by almost 17%! Have a nice day!" You would probably turn around and walk right out. But you can't walk out of Duke Energy. If we ever needed the NCUC to stand up and do what's right, this is it.

Monday News: New court, new day

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COOPER ASKS NC SUPREME COURT TO REVIEW ELECTIONS ISSUES: Gov. Roy Cooper has asked the seven justices to review a three-judge panel’s decision that upheld the merger this year of the state elections board and ethics commission, a case that could determine whether Republicans will have leadership on elections boards at the state and county level during presidential election years when North Carolina voters also elect their governor. Another case that will go before the state’s highest court on Monday is a redistricting challenge sent back to the justices earlier this year after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed federal court rulings finding unconstitutional racial gerrymandering in 28 state legislative districts and two unconstitutional gerrymanders in place from 2011 to 2016.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article169699727.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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AS LEGISLATURE BUMBLES AND DELAYS ON REDISTRICTING, COURT NEEDS TO BE SWIFT AND DECISIVE: What has become amply clear is that the legislative leadership is doing as little as possible to comply with the federal court’s redistricting order. Rather than take the opportunity to actively inform and involve the public in the process, legislators have been content to do the least they can get away with. As anyone who sought to follow Tuesday’s public hearings learned, the many technical glitches and disorganization reflected a token effort at best by legislators who obviously have their minds made up. There are even Republican legislators, knowing what was coming even before the latest plans were disclosed, who already have announced future political plans. It’s clear the skids are greased and the public hearings were merely for show. The people of North Carolina deserve better.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-as-legislature-bumbles-and-delays-on-redistricting-court-needs-to-be-s...

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