Tuesday News: Domestic terrorism

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TWO CHAPEL HILL SCHOOLS ON ALERT AFTER MAN THREATENS TO "SHOOT THEM UP": According to a message from Principal Sulura Jackson sent to parents Monday night, school officials received a second-hand report of a man and woman looking near the school. The man reportedly told four girls, all under the age of 10, that he was going to “shoot up the school” on Tuesday. Jackson said the man reportedly told the girls he had a gun in the camouflage backpack he was carrying. School officials said they have been unable to confirm the credibility of the threat, but will have a noticeable police presence at Smith Middle and Seawell Elementary on Tuesday as a precaution. The incident is the latest in a string of threats received at North Carolina schools since a mass shooting killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla.
http://www.wral.com/police-presence-expected-at-chapel-hill-schools-after-man-told-children-he-would...

Tuesday Twitter roundup

I was wondering about this just last night:

Trump voters have been pretty resilient over his ham-handed leadership since he took office. By "resilient" I mean "blind," of course. Which proves to me they knew ahead of time he would be a disaster, but voted for him anyway because they hoped he would punish the people they don't like. And when your hatred runs that deep, even if you get punished some yourself, it might still seem worth it.

Tariffs on Canadian lumber exacerbate affordable housing crisis

Unnecessary costs like this add up quickly:

The Outer Banks Homebuilders Association is urging its members to contact members of Congress to urge repeal of the Trump Administration’s tariffs on Canadian soft lumber imports. Rising lumber prices have already increased the average price of a single-family home by $6,388 since January of last year, according to the OBHBA and the National Association of Homebuilders. Some of the increases are due to tariffs of more than 20 percent on Canadian softwood lumber shipments into the U.S.

The NAHB points out that U.S. domestic production of softwood lumber is insufficient to meet the demand for construction of houses. According to the NAHB, in 2016, the U.S. consumed 47.1 billion board feet of softwood lumber but domestic producers were only able to supply 32.8 billion, creating a shortfall of over 14 billion.

As with many (even moderately) complex issues, Trump is simply not intelligent enough to grasp the ramifications of his actions. If these tariffs are not removed, there will be a push, probably successfully, to relax U.S. regulations on domestic timber culling. Here in the Southeast, we're already seeing the scourge of the wood pellet industry. Is Europe placing tariffs on that? Oh no, they want us to clear-cut our forests so they won't have to touch theirs. Slapping a tariff on Canadian lumber makes absolutely no sense, no matter which way you look at it.

Monday News: That's not how any of this works

REPUBLICAN CLERK OF COURT TELLS STAFF THEY MUST WORK ON HER CAMPAIGN: The memo said employees would be required to campaign for her, including taking vacation time so they weren't doing political work while on the clock. "You will be required to stand at the polls on May 8th for half day. Vacation leave will (be) taken." was the second item on the list. The third item said staffers were required to attend a Republican forum at a church. She also wrote that she would ask staffers "to go out with me on Saturdays or during the week to speak to people you know. You will take vacation leave." After the memo was published, Surry County Clerk of Court Teresa O'Dell told the Mount Airy News that she doesn't require staff to work for her campaign. She acknowledged that the memo "seemed to indicate otherwise" and sent a follow-up note.
http://www.wral.com/court-clerk-despite-memo-staff-not-required-to-campaign/17471424/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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186,000 SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLDS CAN CHANGE NC. WILL THEY?: Vote – particularly young people. It is one of the strongest refrains coming from the “March for Our Lives,” the political movement that’s grown out of the tragic Parkland, Fla. high school shootings. Voting makes a difference and prompts change. Not voting leaves it to others. For the hundreds of thousands of young people who’ve taken to the streets to demand change, the challenge is at their feet – quite literally. We’ll be able to see the proof behind the rhetoric. Will they register and will they vote? If the protests are a sign of increased young-voter engagement, it will be a wave that could have a big impact – not just in 2018 but for several years to come. It isn’t hard. Early registration is available at most high schools, state Division of Motor Vehicles branches and many other places. There’s information available on line here. See you at the polling place.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-186-000-seventeen-year-olds-can-change-n-c-will-they-/17467665/

This is NOT a drill....

ICYMI, on Friday the Department of Homeland Security put out an ad seeking a contract firm that could monitor over 200,000 journalists and people who post on public media.
Yes, that's right, DHS wants to create a list of journalists, and bloggers, and others, who make public comments. On what topics? Who knows!

Forbes reports:

Saturday News: Melting snowflakes

NC LEGISLATURE TO INSTALL AIRPORT-LIKE SECURITY CHECKPOINTS: After decades of open access, tighter security measures will be put in place at the Legislative Building next week. Metal detectors and X-ray machines will be installed at the entrances to the building, and the public will be screened before entry, Paul Coble, who oversees operations of the legislative complex, said in a news release Friday. "The Legislative Building for the General Assembly has always been the 'People’s Building,' and all members of the public, including daily school group tours, will continue to have access to their government and the legislative process," Coble wrote in the release. "Our goal is to make the building safe for all who have business with the General Assembly, as well as for the members, staff, press and citizens of the State of North Carolina."
http://www.wral.com/security-lines-coming-to-legislative-building/17469289/

Misleading and disingenuous: Smithfield's lawyers push the boundaries in hog nuisance lawsuit

And NC State (knowingly or not) is complicit in the deception:

Anderson, representing Smithfield, had attempted to liken Kinlaw’s waste management system — flushing the barns with wastewater and emptying the manure and urine into open lagoons to be sprayed hundreds of feet in the air onto fields — to that at a research farm operated by NC State University off Lake Wheeler Road in Raleigh. Just three miles from the courthouse, Anderson argued, and yet people in downtown smelled nothing.

However, Rogers had visited that research farm as well, and conducted studies there. The only similarity is that both facilities are farms. The NC State faciliy has 1,000 hogs; Kinlaw has nearly 15,000. The NCSU farm uses clean water to flush the barns, sharply reducing the odors. The university farm, unlike Kinlaw, also removes solid particles that go into the lagoon, also reducing the odor, and has a different treatment system. “It’s not a fair comparison,” Rogers said.

Of course it's not a fair comparison. It's like apples and orange Crayons, only eating the Crayons probably wouldn't ruin your life or tank your property values. And while I realize this is civil court, where there's more leeway for rhetorical ad-hominem attacks, this particular dog-whistle should have been snatched out of their hands by the judge:

Friday News: Taken

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THE FIRST PUBLIC SCHOOL FALLS VICTIM TO INVOLUNTARY TAKEOVER BY CHARTER OPERATORS: A politically connected company with a limited track record has been chosen to take over a low-performing North Carolina elementary school. The State Board of Education voted 7-4 on Thursday to hire Charlotte-based Achievement For All Children to manage Southside Ashpole Elementary School in Robeson County. Achievement For All Children is heavily connected to Oregon resident John Bryan, a generous contributor to political campaigns and school-choice causes in North Carolina. He has taken credit for passage of the law creating the Innovative School District. SchoolWorks rated AAC as meeting expectations in four of 11 areas. The other company vying for the contract, the Michigan-based Romine Group, was rated as meeting expectations in two areas.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article208006534.html

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