Monday News: Gerrymandering on trial

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REDISTRICTING LAWSUITS PILE UP ON U.S. SUPREME COURT DOCKET: The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday on a lawsuit alleging partisan gerrymandering in the drawing of a Maryland congressional district. Eight years after the 2010 Census provided the basis for legislative redistricting, several other cases alleging unconstitutional gerrymandering in various states also are still working their way through the court system. In Pennsylvania, a recent court ruling reshaped congressional districts for this year's elections. But many of the other cases could have a greater impact in the years to come. That's because they could set precedents that states must follow during the next round of redistricting after the 2020 Census.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article206808874.html

Trumpoholics Anonymous

In this second year of Donald Trump's reign, a dangerously large number of American voters have become addicts, gobbling up his lies like crack cocaine. An intervention is in order.

The suggestions listed below are adapted from a number of classic 12-step programs. Though most such programs are religious in nature, I've chosen a secular approach. Please share with anyone you think might be trapped by this addiction.

Trumpoholics Anonymous

Step 1. Admit you are powerless to resist Trumpism.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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YES, JOHN BOLTON REALLY IS THAT DANGEROUS: The good thing about John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, is that he says what he thinks. The bad thing is what he thinks. There are few people more likely than Bolton is to lead the country into war. His selection is a decision that is as alarming as any Trump has made. His selection, along with the nomination of the hard-line CIA director, Mike Pompeo, as secretary of state, shows the degree to which Trump is indulging his worst nationalistic instincts. Bolton, in particular, believes the United States can do what it wants without regard to international law, treaties or the political commitments of previous administrations.
http://www.wral.com/yes-john-bolton-really-is-that-dangerous/17439092/

Tillis campaign had several foreign advisors, including former Soviet bloc

The Cambridge Analytica scandal is more pervasive than we thought:

"We weren't just working on messaging. We were instructing campaigns on which messages go where and to who." Wylie said that his largely foreign team instructed the Tillis campaign "on the messaging. We crafted his messaging, we targeted his messaging."

He said he couldn't recall any American Cambridge employees working on the Tillis campaign. "There were three or four full-time CA staffers embedded in Tillis's campaign on the ground in Raleigh. All of them were foreign nationals." A second former senior Cambridge staffer also said that most of the messaging team in 2014 was composed of foreign nationals. The staffer confirmed that there were foreign embeds in Raleigh on the Tillis campaign.

This story gets uglier by the minute. A foreign firm unethically (if not illegally) harvests Facebook user information, in order to form "psychographic" profiles, and then deploys foreign nationals to use that data to swing U.S. elections. And they knew it was not only wrong but legally questionable before they even did it:

Saturday News: Heartless

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CHICKEN PLANT AT CENTER OF MOORE ETHICS COMPLAINT PLANS TO EVICT IMMIGRANT FAMILIES: Ana Monter's family brought her to the United States when she was a child, like many other immigrants chasing the American dream. But they were so poor as she was growing up that she started working in a Chatham County chicken factory at age 15 to help support her family. She dropped out of school to work full-time and eventually saved up enough money to start a family and buy a mobile home of her own, just yards away from the factory in Siler City. Now, she's terrified the new owners of that factory — which has received millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded incentives to re-open the plant — are about to condemn her and her children to homelessness.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article206563339.html

Trump will wreck NC's economy

China's retaliation against Trump's misguided trade sanctions will hit North Carolina especially hard, with targets that include pork and aircraft parts, along with 126 other products. Our state’s top export is aircraft equipment, with a total value of $1.5 billion last year. Our third largest export is animals and meat, mostly pork, valued at $553.5 million. China is North Carolina’s third largest international customer behind Mexico and Canada.

Craft breweries file lawsuit over forced distribution regulations

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There really is no sound justification for this:

Two growing craft breweries are suing after failing to get North Carolina legislators to overturn a decades-old law on beer sales. Lawyers for Olde Mecklenburg Brewery and Noda Brewing Co. were in court Tuesday to challenge the law, which forces them to hand over to private companies the distribution of their own beer once they sell 25,000 barrels or about the volume of an Olympic-sized swimming pool in a year.

The Charlotte breweries say the state’s beer distribution law is unconstitutional. They argue they’re forced to give up control to politically influential middlemen where their products are sold for virtually as long as they stay in business. A state attorney says a three-judge panel should examine the beer distribution law overall, not just how it applies to those two breweries.

NC's beer & wine wholesalers may never hit the #1 spot for lobbying and campaign donations, but they perpetually funnel tens of thousands into the system each year. Which answers the question many had when attempts to rewrite that law failed last year, when the issue seemed to have much support. It will be interesting to see how those lobbyists react to a court case, where their little backroom deals no longer work.

Friday News: Airborne GenX

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DEQ TO DEPLOY RAINWATER MONITORS TO BETTER TRACK CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION: State researchers plan to install long-term rain catchers around the Chemours facility in Bladen County and in other far-flung locations around North Carolina in a stepped-up effort to isolate chemicals from the plant that are appearing in rain. The new devices also have motion sensors so that they're only open when it rains, allowing scientists to test rainwater and "dry deposits" separately. Tests have already found GenX, a compound Chemours uses to make Teflon and other products, in rain as far away as Wilmington. But at only one site, just east of Chemours' Fayetteville Works, has the concentration found been above the state's best guess at a safe level of the poorly understood industrial chemical.
http://www.wral.com/state-to-step-up-rainwater-measurements-on-genx/17435695/

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