Tag Archives: North Carolina

‘Incredible News’ as NC Court Restores Voting Rights to 55,000 Formerly Incarcerated People

While GOP lawmakers ready an appeal, voting rights advocates move to ensure formerly incarcerated people know about the ruling.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-24-2021

Signs from the 13th Moral March on Raleigh – 2019. Photo: Anthony Crider/flickr/CC

Voting rights advocates in North Carolina on Tuesday applauded a ruling by a panel of three state Superior Court judges for taking “the first step” in restoring justice to tens of thousands of formerly incarcerated people convicted of felonies in the state.

A panel of the Superior Court voted 2-1 to restore voting rights to about 55,000 people who have been incarcerated for felonies in a decision that would terminate a state law which bars people from voting if they are still on probation, parole, or serving a suspended sentence. 
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Sea level rise is killing trees along the Atlantic coast, creating ‘ghost forests’ that are visible from space

Ghost forest panorama in coastal North Carolina. Emily Ury, CC BY-ND

Emily Ury, Duke University

Trekking out to my research sites near North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, I slog through knee-deep water on a section of trail that is completely submerged. Permanent flooding has become commonplace on this low-lying peninsula, nestled behind North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The trees growing in the water are small and stunted. Many are dead.

Throughout coastal North Carolina, evidence of forest die-off is everywhere. Nearly every roadside ditch I pass while driving around the region is lined with dead or dying trees. Continue reading

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Cheaper solar power means low-income families can also benefit – with the right kind of help

Solar power is becoming more common for households at all income levels. These homes in Richmond, California, went solar with the help of GRID Alternatives. GRID Alternatives, CC BY-ND

Galen Barbose, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Eric O’Shaughnessy, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Ryan Wiser, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Until recently, rooftop solar panels were a clean energy technology that only wealthy Americans could afford. But prices have dropped, thanks mostly to falling costs for hardware, as well as price declines for installation and other “soft” costs.

Today hundreds of thousands of middle-class households across the U.S. are turning to solar power. But households with incomes below the median for their areas remain less likely to go solar. These low- and moderate-income households face several roadblocks to solar adoption, including cash constraints, low rates of home ownership and language barriers. Continue reading

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With Rent Freezes About to Expire, Mnuchin Lobbies for More Wall Street Bailouts

As millions of Americans stand on the brink of economic annihilation, the money keeps flowing to Wall Street thanks to carefully contrived mechanisms to maintain a dying financial system afloat.

By Raul Diego  Published 12-4-2020 by MintPress News

Steven Mnuchin. Photo: White House

Many prophetic scenes depicted in a series of Mayan codices written in the early days of the Spanish colony, and translated and compiled in El Libro de los Libros del Chilam Balam, describe a world foreign to its original authors. But, one which was barreling down on them and their civilization even as the Mayan high priests recorded their visions for each stop on their cyclical calendar system.

The metaphors they leaned on to describe these new Western values and systems were accurate, despite having nothing comparable in their own cosmology or parallels in their relationship with the earth. In one of the most striking prophecies, the interpreting shaman warns of the days of “the golden club,” subtly alluding to the new paradigm of wealth and commercial imperatives being imposed on their world. Continue reading

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Trump lost the election, but he won the online disinformation war

Social media platforms have allowed US conservatives to delegitimise the election and sow mistrust of democracy.

By Peter Geoghegan. Published 11-9-2020 by openDemocracy

Screenshot: WNCT

In late August, roughly five weeks before Americans went to the polls, a story appeared in The New York Times reporting new data about the reach of fringe US conservative outlets on Facebook. The numbers were staggering.

Posts by far-right news site Breitbart had been shared three times as often as posts from the official pages of every Democratic member of the US senate combined in the previous 30 days. Conservative firebrand Ben Shapiro had chalked up 56 million interactions, more than the main pages of ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR put together. Continue reading

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Trump’s Pennsylvania lawsuits invoke Bush v. Gore – but the Supreme Court probably won’t decide the 2020 election

Judges can intervene in elections, but the Supreme Court really prefers not to. Jantanee Phoolmas/Moment via Getty Images

Steven Mulroy, University of Memphis

The Trump campaign has filed two lawsuits in federal court over ballot counting and voting deadlines in Pennsylvania, threatening to take the election to the Supreme Court. Both consciously echo the two main legal theories of Bush v. Gore, the infamous Supreme Court case that decided the contested 2000 presidential election.

But this race is not likely to be decided by the Supreme Court.

There are several reasons, sitting at the intersection of law and politics, why the ghosts of Florida past won’t rise again in Pennsylvania. As a law professor who’s authored a book on election reform, I rate success in Trump’s efforts to wrench back Biden’s lead through litigation as a real long shot, though not out of the question. Continue reading

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23 AGs Sue Trump Council Over ‘Reckless and Unprecedented’ Gutting of Bedrock US Environmental Law

“This administration’s insidious attack on one of our most important environmental laws is an attack on the democratic process itself.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-28-2020

Photo: NRDC

A coalition of 27 U.S. states, commonwealths, territories, counties, and cities filed a federal lawsuit on Friday challenging the Trump administration’s “unlawful, unjustified, and sweeping revisions” to a 50-year-old law that the president claimed would “streamline” infrastructure projects by limiting environmental reviews.

After revealing plans to alter the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in January, President Donald Trump announced what critics called “reckless and unprecedented” changes during a July campaign stop. The revisions, detailed in a final rule released by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), swiftly provoked legal threats from advocacy organizations. Continue reading

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Civil Rights Groups Sue NC City Over Law That ‘Effectively Bans Any Protest’

Ordinance in city of Graham “sends a clear message that racist monuments are valued more highly than Black lives and our constitutional rights.”

-By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published -7-3-2020

Gather to Demand Justice rally in Graham, NC Photo: Anthony Crider/flickr/CC

Civil rights groups on Friday filed a lawsuit against Alamance County and the city of Graham, North Carolina, after officials issued a new ordinance last week announcing the police department would not be issuing protest permits during the city’s current state of emergency.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the ACLU, and a local law firm filed the lawsuit and a temporary restraining order on behalf of Alamance County NAACP and eight individuals who were planning to protest at the Alamance County Courthouse in the center of Graham. Continue reading

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Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.

Even as company pharmacists protested, Walmart kept filling suspicious prescriptions, stoking the country’s opioid epidemic. A Republican U.S. Attorney in Texas thought the evidence was damning. Trump’s political appointees? Not so much.

By Jesse Eisinger and James Bandler. Published 3-25-2020 by ProPublica

Attorney General William P. Barr, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Photo: Department of Justice (Public domain)

On a Tuesday just before Halloween in 2018, a group of federal prosecutors and agents from Texas arrived in Washington. For almost two years, they’d been investigating the opioid dispensing practices of Walmart, the largest company in the world. They had amassed what they viewed as highly damning evidence only to face a major obstacle: top Trump appointees at the Department of Justice.

The prosecution team had come to Washington to try to save its case. Joe Brown, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, led the group, which included Heather Rattan, an over-20-year veteran of the office who had spent much of her career prosecuting members of drug cartels. Continue reading

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A military perspective on climate change could bridge the gap between believers and doubters

A soldier stands guard at the damaged entrance to Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, Oct. 11, 2018, after Hurricane Michael. AP Photo/David Goldman

Michael Klare, Hampshire College

As experts warn that the world is running out of time to head off severe climate change, discussions of what the U.S. should do about it are split into opposing camps. The scientific-environmental perspective says global warming will cause the planet severe harm without action to slow fossil fuel burning. Those who reject mainstream climate science insist either that warming is not occurring or that it’s not clear human actions are driving it.

With these two extremes polarizing the American political arena, climate policy has come to a near standstill. But as I argue in my new book,“All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change,” the U.S. armed forces offer a third perspective that could help bridge the gap. Continue reading

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