GOVERNOR COOPER VETOES REPUBLICAN VOTER SUPPRESSION BILL: Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a Republican-backed bill Thursday that would force elections officials not to count any mail-in ballots that arrive after polls close. “The legislature ironically named this bill ‘The Election Day Integrity Act’ when it actually does the opposite,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “Election integrity means counting every legal vote, but this bill virtually guarantees that some will go uncounted.” One of the GOP sponsors of the bill, Sen. Paul Newton of Cabarrus County, said in a press release that he believes moving up the deadline would improve voters’ confidence in elections. And again, the only reason voters' confidence was shaken is because Trump and his enablers spread outright lies about his election loss. That grace period was in place even before DeJoy intentionally disrupted mail delivery, forcing an extension of said period, so all of this can be dumped right in their laps.
VP KAMALA HARRIS HITS CHARLOTTE ON INFRASTRUCTURE TOUR: Vice President Kamala Harris visited Charlotte on Thursday to promote a newly-approved infrastructure spending plan — a key piece of legislation for President Joe Biden’s administration and one that will bring billions to North Carolina. Her visit also aimed to drum up support for the administration’s next big priority: its $1.85 billion social policy bill. That would focus on reducing the cost of healthcare, child care and address climate change, among other things. The infrastructure bill, she said, was “Part 1 of 2,” with the Build Back Better social bill being the latter. Harris celebrated the passage of the infrastructure bill while speaking at Charlotte Area Transit System’s garage and electric vehicle hub in South End, and spoke briefly with the Observer afterward. “People rely on public transit for all kinds of reasons — to get groceries, to get to school on time, to get to work on time, to get to church on time,” she said. “A bus stop within walking distance can make all the difference, versus a bus stop you have to walk for half an hour to get to.” What she said. It's time to stop doing the bare minimum on public transit just to check a box. It should be everywhere.
IT'S A PICKUP TRUCK, NOT A BALLET DANCER, FFS: Some new laws took effect in North Carolina on Wednesday, including one that forbids drivers from raising the front of their vehicle. The modification is commonly referred to as the "Carolina Squat." According to the law, a vehicle would be in violation "if the height of the front fender is 4 or more inches greater than the height of the rear fender." There is no language in the ratified bill that allows for "grandfathering" of existing modified vehicles. In short, it reads, "A private passenger automobile shall not be operated upon any highway or public vehicular area ..." if the front fender is more than 4 inches higher than the rear fender. NBC affiliate WYFF reports the modification is hazardous because the driver’s view of the road can be obstructed due to the angle of the vehicle. Additionally, the tilted modification can affect how the truck brakes. Drivers risk having their license revoked if they are in violation more than two times in a 12-month period. Now how about we crack down on these "Rolling Coal" idiots. I saw one just yesterday on the Interstate, weaving between lanes so he could smoke more people. Or something. Grrr.
OMICRON IS DRIVING EUROPEANS CRAZY, WE'RE NEXT: Weekly protests in the Netherlands over the country's 5 p.m. lockdown and other new restrictions have descended into violence, despite what appears to be overwhelming acceptance of the rules. In Israel, the government on Thursday halted the use of a controversial phone tracking technology to trace possible cases of the new coronavirus variant after a public uproar. With the delta variant of COVID-19 pushing up cases in Europe and growing fears over the omicron variant, governments around the world are weighing new measures for populations tired of hearing about restrictions and vaccines. It’s a thorny calculus made more difficult by the prospect of backlash, increased social divisions and, for many politicians, the fear of being voted out of office. New restrictions, or variations on the old ones, are cropping up around the world, especially in Europe, where leaders are at pains to explain what looks like a failed promise: that mass vaccinations would mean an end to widely loathed limitations. “People need normality. They need families, they need to see people, obviously safely, socially distancing, but I really think, this Christmas now, people have had enough,” said Belinda Storey, who runs a stall at a Christmas market in Nottingham, England. Lol! 'Rona don't care about your quasi-religious holiday, except maybe as a handy vector.
HERE WE ARE AGAIN FACING A POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN VIA REPUBLICANS: House and Senate leaders on Thursday announced they had clinched a deal to fund the federal government into next year, even as an intensifying GOP-led revolt over President Biden’s vaccine policies threatened to grind the government to a halt anyway. The day began on a positive political note, after top Democrats and Republicans brandished a new, bipartisan pact that would sustain federal agencies and operations into mid-February. If passed by both chambers of Congress, the measure would narrowly avert a shutdown that is set to occur at midnight Friday. But the prospects of an easy, swift resolution soon appeared in doubt. The House set up a vote on the funding stopgap on Thursday afternoon, but the Senate remained paralyzed by partisan bickering, as conservatives mounted a fresh political stand against the Biden administration’s response to the coronavirus. For the second day in a row, a group of Republicans led by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) threatened to hold up the government funding measure in protest of a presidential directive that orders large employers to require vaccines or implement comprehensive testing programs. Even though public-health experts see such policies as critical to combating the pandemic, the GOP lawmakers charged that Biden’s mandates are unconstitutional and threaten Americans’ rights and jobs. Doesn't threaten their lives though, does it? Anyone? Bueller?