Monday News: Public corruption does not pay


JUDGE ORDERS FORMER BUNCOMBE MANAGER TO START SERVING TIME: Multiple media organizations report that U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad on Friday denied a request by both prosecutors and lawyers to delay the sentence for former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene. Conrad says the 68-year-old Greene was at the heart of a corruption scheme by local officials dating back to 2007, and it's time for her to go to prison. Prosecutors said they wanted Greene nearby as she helps with the investigation and prosecution of other county officials and contractors. Three other county officials are charged with accepting gifts in exchange for awarding government contracts to a Georgia engineering contractor.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


SPEAKER MOORE'S HALF-FILLED CHAMBER WIN IS EMPTY VICTORY: As state House Speaker Time Moore speaks more and more about his successful veto overrides, we become increasingly convinced he has abandoned all perspective. So determined to win is he, that he has lost sight of his chief leadership responsibility -- to operate an open and honest House that respects the value of all citizens’ votes. Everybody likes a real winner. But it is how you play and win that becomes the legacy. Moore’s fairness-be-damned approach will haunt him. There is no morality to a victory when the other side believed that there would be no game. House minority leader Darren Jackson believed that he had been told by House Rules Committee Chairman Rep David Lewis that there would be no votes in the morning session. Jackson then informed his caucus. So, did Lewis unintentionally mislead Jackson or was it a deliberate act to give out fake information and fool Democrats? It doesn’t matter.

Opposition to the MVP Southgate pipeline is growing


And that includes NC DEQ, which is refreshing:

“At this time the department remains unconvinced that the project satisfies the criteria for the commission to deem it in the public interest, and whether it is essential to ensure future growth and prosperity for North Carolinians,” Sheila Holman, assistant secretary for the environment at the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, wrote to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Without demonstrated demand, the pipeline would just give Dominion Energy, formerly PSNC, an exclusive excess capacity, the DEQ writes. The proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate would be a 72-mile line connecting to the existing MVP in Pittsylvania County, Va., to carry Marcellus Shale gas to the distribution system south of Graham.

This project hasn't received a fraction of the statewide news coverage of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, but here in Alamance County, it's stirred up a lot of controversy. The company has already sued 5 (if not more) landowners who refused to allow surveyors onto their property, and now the City of Burlington is rolling up its sleeves to fight due to the threat to a major drinking water reservoir:

Saturday News: Slap on the wrist


ROBIN HAYES WILL PLEAD GUILTY TO LYING TO THE FBI: According to his agreement with prosecutors, Hayes will plead guilty to a single count of lying to the FBI. In a court document, he acknowledged that in August 2018 he “falsely stated to federal agents . . . that he had never spoken” with Causey “about personnel or personnel problems at the . . . Department of Insurance or about Greg Lindberg or John Gray.” Prosecutors said while the maximum sentence for the offense is five years, Hayes could be sentenced to up to six months, or serve no time at all under sentencing guidelines. The plea deal says prosecutors “recommend a sentence at the low end of the . . . range.” Hayes could not be reached. His attorney, Kearns Davis, would not comment.

Drought or Deluge: Climate Change abhors moderation

Over half of NC's counties are drying up as I type:

Klaus Albertin is chairman of the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council . He said in a news release issued by the Department of Environmental Quality on Thursday that water supplies, agriculture, fire threat and streamflows statewide are beginning to reflect the lack of precipitation.

Forty-five counties in the western and central parts of the state are in moderate drought stage, the least detrimental of four categories used in federal drought maps. Twenty-two counties are experiencing abnormally dry conditions, which means a drought could emerge without adequate rainfall. Albertin says while Hurricane Dorian left heavy rainfall along the coast, almost none fell west of Interstate 95. He says conditions could worsen before they improve.

As I was trying to go to sleep last night, I tried to remember the last time it had rained where I live. It's been long enough that I couldn't remember not just the exact date, but how many weeks it's been. That is not good. For several reasons, but the fact we're still in the hurricane season window is a big one. When the ground gets baked dry, rainfall doesn't infiltrate the soil very well, or quickly enough. So it runs off, and flash flooding is much more likely. And as our Western counties continue to dry out, wildfires can be expected. Plainly put, we need some rain, folks. Start dancing.

Friday News: One more time...


LAWSUIT FILED OVER NC'S GERRYMANDERED CONGRESSIONAL MAPS: The National Redistricting Foundation is backing a lawsuit filed by individuals in each of the state's 13 congressional districts, alleging that the General Assembly illegally drew the district lines in 2016 to favor Republican candidates. A similar argument went before the U.S. Supreme Court in March, but the high court ruled 5-4 in June that partisan gerrymandering is "beyond the reach of the federal courts." But in state court, several plaintiffs successfully challenged legislative districts drawn in 2017 on the argument that partisan gerrymandering violates North Carolina's constitution. A three-judge panel recently ordered lawmakers to redraw the maps without considering voting patterns of individual precincts.

Franklin Graham, Impeachment, and the Ukraine Connection

On Facebook, Franklin Graham is standing by his guy Trump, promoting the hell out of Donnie's appearance at the "religious freedom" conference earlier in the week and only barely mentioning "his enemies calling for impeachment".


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