Monday News: Isolationism

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TRUMP ADMINISTRATION RENEWS AND EXPANDS TRAVEL BAN TO EIGHT COUNTRIES: Travelers from eight countries will face restrictions on entry to the U.S, ranging from a total ban to more targeted restrictions, under a new proclamation signed by President Donald Trump Sunday. The new rules, which will impact the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, will go into effect on October 18. Officials stressed that valid visas would not be revoked as a result of the proclamation. Some countries will face full bans. Others are more tailored, such as restrictions impacting Venezuela, which will only apply to certain government officials and their families. Trump's controversial ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries expires Sunday, 90 days after it went into effect.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article175176506.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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IN OUR DEMOCRACY VOTING IS A DUTY, NOT OPPORTUNITY OR PRIVILEGE: It makes you wonder why the leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly work so hard at making it more difficult for people to vote. While many of their legislative efforts have been thwarted by the courts, North Carolina’s voters seem to be helping legislators along even without the bad laws. Look at the miserable voter participation in last month’s local elections in Mecklenburg County. Turnout in the election, which included a hotly-contested primary for Charlotte mayor, couldn’t even get 8 percent of the voters to the polls, only 43,434 of 544,908 eligible voters participated. Let’s be clear. Voting matters. It makes a difference. It is no cliché, nor mere homily to say that people have fought, given their lives, to keep or gain the right to vote. That sacrifice should not be casually ignored.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-in-our-democracy-voting-is-a-duty-not-opportunity-or-privilege/16965278/

Saturday News: Kicking the can down the road

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HISTORICAL COMMISSION POSTPONES DECISION ON MOVING CONFEDERATE STATUES: The state commission considering the fate of Confederate monuments on Capitol Square put off until April a decision on whether the statues should be moved to a Civil War battlefield. The NC Historical Commission voted 9-1 Friday to postpone action on the request to move the monuments 46 miles to Bentonfield Battlefield in Johnston County because members wanted more time to gather legal options on a 2015 monuments law and issues related to relocation. The commission voted to appoint a committee to collect legal interpretations of the 2015 law from the UNC School of Government, NCCU law school, Wake Forest law school, Campbell law school, the state Justice Department and any other “appropriate sources.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article17...

Gerrymandering update: Court explains why it didn't order Special Election

There is much truth in this:

The court initially ordered a remedial special election but on appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed its ruling and ordered that the panel make further considerations about the remedy. At the end of July, the panel denied the request for a special election and issued a timeline for lawmakers to redraw the gerrymandered maps. The 48-page unanimous opinion released Tuesday explains why the judges denied the plaintiffs request.

“Notwithstanding these weighty considerations favoring a special election, we nonetheless conclude such an election would not be in the interest of Plaintiffs and the people of North Carolina,” it states. “The compressed and overlapping schedule such an election would entail is likely to confuse voters, raise barriers to participation, and depress turnout, and therefore would not offer the vigorously contested election needed to return to the people of North Carolina their sovereignty.”

Late last year I knew we were in a race against time, and if the issue wasn't dealt with quickly enough by the courts, those same courts would be hard-pressed to require a Special Election. It's tempting to be angry about the delaying tactics used by the GOP to stretch this thing out, but that won't accomplish much. I don't want to step on any toes, but something else that won't accomplish much are creating our own maps to counter the Republican ones:

Friday News: A couple of nitwits

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BURR AND TILLIS SUPPORT BILL THAT WOULD COST NC BILLIONS: The new bill also converts federal funding for traditional Medicaid from an open-ended program to a capped one. About 2 million North Carolinians use Medicaid; more than half are children. The insurance also covers some of their parents, the elderly and the disabled. The federal government pays about two-thirds of the cost, with the state picking up the rest. The proposed legislation faces an uncertain future in the Republican-controlled Senate, which must pass it by Sept. 30 to take advantage of a procedural move that allows it to pass with just 51 votes. North Carolina Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis plan to vote for the legislation. Both voted for a repeal-and-replace plan the Senate rejected this summer. The bill would result in North Carolina receiving $8.1 billion less from 2020 to 2026 than under the current law, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article17...

The power of the purse: UNC students boycott campus stores over Silent Sam

When the institution lets you down, let down the institution:

Student organizers seeking the removal of a Confederate soldier statue at North Carolina’s flagship public university have embarked on a monthlong boycott of commercial goods on campus.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the boycott launched Monday at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a social media push follows marches, sit-ins, noise demonstrations and a lawyer’s letter last week pressing the school to remove the statue nicknamed “Silent Sam.” The boycott encompasses the Student Stores, the main dining hall, cafes, a snack stand, a bagel shop, Wendy’s, Starbucks and parking garages, and will end Oct. 18.

Whenever something like this occurs, you can't help but wonder about people who are already living on the margins losing their jobs. That being said, the students are very limited in the activities they can engage in to get rid of this anachronistic symbol of oppression. Don't forget, the General Assembly just passed a law to shield right-wing provocateurs on campus, threatening students with disciplinary action if they speak their minds in opposition. But that "bottling up" of the anger and frustration doesn't make it go away, it does just the opposite. The UNC administration should be glad a boycott is how they choose to vent that.

Thursday News: Show us the maps

DUKE ENERGY HIDES INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL COAL ASH FLOODING: Environmental groups say they will sue Duke Energy for not telling the public what would happen if any of its dozens of coal ash dams fail. Duke’s 31 North Carolina coal ash basins hold 111 million tons of ash in water-filled ponds. Ash holds metals that can contaminate rivers, lakes and groundwater. Duke says the maps aren’t public because they hold “sensitive public security information,” which North Carolina law defines as details that might aid an attacker. Notices of intent to sue Duke filed by environmental groups Wednesday, however, say federal law doesn’t allow those exceptions. The groups say Duke is the only U.S. utility that withholds parts of its emergency plans from the public. The Southern Environmental Law Center, representing eight environmental groups, sent the notices regarding emergency plans for 10 North Carolina power plants. The power plants include Allen on Lake Wylie and Marshall on Lake Norman.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article174420271.html

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