The legalization of marijuana can no longer be ignored by Democrats

Pay close attention, because the your base surely is:

The issue today is a pillar of progressive politics, but not because of graying hippies who like their Rocky Mountain High. Rather, for many Democrats, legalization has become a litmus test for candidates’ commitment to equal treatment for all races in policing and criminal justice as well as fighting economic inequality.

Numerous states already have or soon will legalize the use of marijuana in one shape or another, but North Carolina (not to mention the Federal government) is still incarcerating tens of thousands under its misguided "War On Drugs" mentality. You can beat somebody until they're almost lifeless, or defraud them out of their family's meager savings, and get less jail time than having a half-pound of a certain plant, and when that insanely warped system of (in)justice falls heavily on young black males, the motives behind it become crystal clear:

Monday News: Rape culture

LESS THAN 1 IN 4 SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES END IN CONVICTION: Fewer than one in four defendants charged with sexual assault in North Carolina can expect to be convicted of that charge or a related reduced charge, and some parts of the state generate few if any sexual assault convictions, according to Carolina Public Press’ analysis of state court data. The picture is not universal. A few counties have conviction levels well above the state average. But in 38 counties, there were no recorded convictions at all during the 4½ years included in the analysis, not even on plea deals reducing original sexual assault charges to lesser offenses. The analysis specifically examined rape charges involving threats, force, intimidation or an incapacitated person. Defendants at times pleaded guilty to some separate charge, such as possession of a firearm by a felon or sexual battery, a misdemeanor.
https://carolinapublicpress.org/28695/analysis-nc-convicts-fewer-than-1-in-4-sexual-assault-defendants/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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COOPER'S BUDGET PUTS PUBLIC EDUCATION ON RIGHT TRACK: Teacher pay isn’t the only, the best or even most significant, marker for support for education. Cuts force teachers to turn to online fundraising or dig into their own pockets for basic classroom supplies. There’s a shortage of school nurses, guidance counselors and psychologists. Classrooms are badly in need of technology upgrades. Too many school buildings desperately need repairs and renovations. In many growing areas there simply aren’t enough classrooms to house students. Responding by providing pay bonuses to teachers who get trained and carry firearms in their classrooms – as proposed by state Sen. Ralph Hise of Mitchell County and backed by key Senate leaders – is a cynical, token and dangerous gesture.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-cooper-s-budget-puts-public-education-on-right-track/18253984/

Hacker-In-Chief? A look at Beto's misspent youth

Burning down the frontier of the Internet:

The hugely influential Cult of the Dead Cow, jokingly named after an abandoned Texas slaughterhouse, is notorious for releasing tools that allowed ordinary people to hack computers running Microsoft’s Windows. It’s also known for inventing the word “hacktivism” to describe human-rights-driven security work.

Members of the group have protected O’Rourke’s secret for decades, reluctant to compromise his political viability. Now, in a series of interviews, CDC members have acknowledged O’Rourke as one of their own.

My first takeaway after reading this is that Beto is leaps and bounds more (technically) intelligent than the rest of the pack of Dem candidates. Just being able to access those message boards and forums back in the 1980's took skills most people didn't (and still don't) have, much less being able to write code to break security protocols. While Beto doesn't appear to have been involved in some of the darker operations, he was not above breaking the law to get what he wanted:

Saturday News: Too many hurdles

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12 UNC SYSTEM SCHOOLS MISS DEADLINE ON VOTER ID REQUIREMENTS: Student IDs from a dozen University of North Carolina schools, including UNC-Chapel Hill, didn't get the signoff they needed Friday for students to use them at the polls during the 2020 elections. With a deadline in state law passing, it's up to the General Assembly to act, or these IDs won't satisfy the state's new voter ID law next year. The problem for most of the universities: They let students provide pictures for their own IDs. A law passed after voters approved a constitutional amendment in November requiring photo identification at the polls requires universities to take those pictures themselves or to have a contractor do it. Campus-by-campus practices also vary on Social Security numbers and other key identifiers, leaving some schools out of step with the law.
https://www.wral.com/no-voter-id-approval-for-12-unc-campuses-including-chapel-hill/18263233/

The end of an era: Nancy McFarlane bows out as Raleigh's Mayor

The adversarial nature of social media has taken a toll:

As mayor, the release continued, McFarlane has worked to expand public transit, increase affordable housing, update the city’s land-use rules, protect the environment, support small business and entrepreneurs, and “champion the arts.” But within the past year, the eight-person city board has become fractured, with McFarlane increasingly on the minority side.

“We used to fight together for the things we cared about,” she said in a video. “Now it just seems like we fight with each other. The mean politics of Twitter and social media is painful when it’s about you or someone you love. This social disease has exploded since I first ran for city council in 2007. Raleigh politics could use a reset.”

In the 2000's it was the blogosphere where elected officials were chewed on and conspiracy theories flourished, but that effect pales in comparison to Twitter and Facebook of the last decade. In this day and age, city council members are either superheroes or villains, and even the most common-sense projects can get derailed by a poorly thought-out turn of phrase. In theory, this new access to information should have served to reduce mistrust of government, because we now know a hell of a lot more about what's going on. But that just (apparently) gives people more things to question, more fuel for conspiracy fires. I'm on the front lines in this growth war, and things like this make my hair stand on end:

Friday News: Anti-immigrant fervor

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HOUSE REPUBLICANS WANT TO FORCE SHERIFFS TO COOPERATE WITH ICE: In addition to no longer letting sheriffs decide whether to work with ICE, the bill would also increase the number of people who have their immigration status checked when arrested. State law currently instructs officials to check the immigration status of anyone charged with a felony or a DUI. But this new bill would make them check the immigration status of anyone charged with any crime. Birdsong said that could end up being costly for local governments who hadn’t budgeted for the additional jail population this bill would create. The bill is also an example of an over-reaching big government, she said. “What you see in this bill is a thwarting of local officials making decisions on how to keep their communities safe, and also a thwarting of the will of the people,” Birdsong said. “People voted for these sheriffs for a reason.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article227760179.html

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