Wagging the rabid dog

Anyone who claims special knowledge or insight about last night's criminal action by Trump is full of it. There's no insight to be had ... just an opportunistic madman bringing America to a new kind of ugliness. Among many in the world, we already deserved pariah status. Trump's bombing will cement that reputation for generations.

One place I turn to understand complex issues is to a daily newsletter I receive from Heather Richardson. You can subscribe too, and also follow her on Twitter. @HC_Richardson

January 2

I sat down to write tonight about a number of stories I had saved over the course of the day, and opened the laptop seven minutes after news broke that the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds force, Qassem Soleimani, along with the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, had been assassinated in Iraq. At the time it was not clear who had done it, but the US government claimed responsibility minutes later.

Durham project residents speak out about carbon monoxide and rats

67 year-old buildings need serious maintenance:

In a tense meeting, residents of McDougald Terrace aired their concerns and frustrations to the Durham Housing Authority on Thursday.

Angry residents also pressed officials about the deaths of two babies at McDougald Terrace -- one child died Nov. 20; the other on Dec. 8. Durham's Assistant EMS Chief Lee Van Vleet told them that until autopsy reports come back, they cannot rule out the possibility the babies were poisoned by carbon monoxide.

Durham voters just approved a $95 Million affordable housing bond, so there's no reason why this particular project should be penny-pinched. What's the point in building new structures if you can't maintain the ones you've got? I know all the arguments about old structures vs. newer ones, I actually supervised several "troop self help" construction teams that renovated old WWII barracks on Ft. Bragg and turned them into office spaces. McDougald has 360 (brick) apartment units that could theoretically last another 70 years with the right investments, but the City seems to have forgotten it exists:

Friday News: Comes with the territory

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NC ATTORNEY GENERAL APPEALS VOTER ID RULING: The question of voter ID in North Carolina for the November 2020 elections remains unsettled, as Attorney General Josh Stein announced Thursday he will appeal a judge’s ruling blocking the state law requiring ID from going into effect. However, it appears that no matter how the legal fight unfolds, voter ID won’t be required during the state’s primary elections. Stein said in a news release that he would not request that ID be put back in place for the primary, “to avoid any further voter confusion.” Although Election Day for the primary isn’t until March, absentee voting starts in less than two weeks. His decision follows a high-profile win by the North Carolina NAACP, which successfully argued to a federal judge that the 2018 voter ID law appeared to be motivated at least partially by racial discrimination.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article238917153.html

SELC achieves record settlement on excavating coal ash

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The entire state owes them a debt of gratitude:

In a historic settlement SELC reached with Duke Energy and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality today, approximately 80 million tons of toxic coal ash at six Duke Energy coal ash sites are now slated for excavation.

Prior settlements and court orders required cleanups and excavation of 46 million tons of the toxic coal ash at eight other Duke Energy sites in North Carolina, and now the utility’s sites at its Allen, Belews Creek, Cliffside, Marshall, Mayo, and Roxboro facilities will be added to that list.

This is fantastic news, but we need to be cognizant of the next shoe that will drop: Rate increases associated with said cleanup. I'm not really speculating with this, Duke Energy is highly predictable, and will likely be pushing for another double-digit increase very soon. We will be watching.

Thursday News: Primary season

TWO MORE MONTHS UNTIL NC CHOOSES PARTY CANDIDATES: Feb. 3: The Democratic nominating process begins in earnest with the Iowa caucuses (though early voting will have already begun in a handful of other states). In the last four open Democratic presidential contests, the Iowa winner has gone on to become the party’s nominee. Feb. 11: New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary will take place. With two neighboring state senators (Sanders and Warren) vying for a top finish there, New Hampshire could determine which of the two progressive rivals departs the race first. March 3: Fourteen states are scheduled to hold their primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday, representing nearly half of all the Democratic delegates in the contest. The biggest prize will be California. Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Virginia and Tennessee are some of the other delegate-rich states voting that day.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article238861158.html

US Senate: Which way are you leaning?

We ran this poll last week for 48 hours. A total of 122 people voted, mostly for Cunningham.

I don't think these kinds of polls mean much, except possibly showing which candidate can stir up an online flurry on relatively short notice. This sort of tactical effort could represent a broader campaign capability ... or maybe not. It is what it is.

My apologies to candidates not listed. I was working from top-of-mind and I should have included three others.

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