North Carolina's new botanical "First in Fly-Eat" license plates

UNC's Paul Jones writes, "Ohio and North Carolina have for years been fighting about which state own the right to say they were the Home of Aviation or the First in Flight. But now NC has something no other state can claim -- First in Fly-Eat! The license plate features not only the famously hungry plant, but also it's fabled food, the fruit fly -- in the process of being trapped. Proceeds go to preserve Venus Fly Trap habitat. Joint projects of the NC Botanical Gardens and the Friends of Plant Preservation." Read the rest

Heirs' property: how southern states allow white land developers to steal reconstruction-era land from Black families

Back in 2017, The Nation ran a superb, in-depth story on "heirs' property," a legalized form of property theft that allows primarily rich white developers to expropriate land owned by the descendants of Black slaves. Read the rest

Voting machine companies: the names of our parent companies are trade secrets

When the North Carolina State Board of Elections asked the voting machine companies whose products were used in state elections who owned those companies, both Election Systems & Software and Hart Intercivic claimed that the answers to the question were proprietary, confidential trade secrets that would devalue their companies if they were divulged. Read the rest

Mass shooting at UNC Charlotte leaves 2 killed, 4 injured [DEVELOPING]

Two people were killed and four others were injured at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the Mecklenburg Emergency Medical Services Agency confirmed in a post on Twitter on Tuesday evening. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders outraised every other Democrat in North Carolina

One major tactical consideration for Democrats in selecting their candidate for the 2020 presidential election is whether that candidate can garner support in flippable red states, like North Carolina: that's why it's so important that Bernie Sanders outraised every other would-be Democrat nominee in NC this year, bringing in $48,000 (his nearest competitor, Pete Buttigieg, raised $32K, while Kamala Harris raised $29K and Elizabeth Warren raised $20K) (I am a donor to both the Sanders and Warren campaigns). Sanders also outraised every other Democrat nationally and leads in polls with key traditional Democrat voting groups, including Hispanics. (Image: Gage Skidmore< CC-BY-SA) (via Naked Capitalism) Read the rest

A&E postpones documentary series on North Carolina church

"The Devil Next Door," A&E's six-part documentary series on the alleged abuses at the Word of Faith Fellowship Church in North Carolina was scheduled to premiere Tuesday night at 10:00 PM EST. But at the last minute, the network yanked the series from its schedule. A spokesperson from A&E said producers were working on additional reporting but did not set a future broadcast date.

On Twitter, a lawyer for the church accused A&E of paying some of the participants in series.

A&E has run into this problem before. In 2016, their documentary series "Escaping the KKK" was canceled before it aired after it was discovered producers had paid some of the participants.

The Word of Faith Fellowship Church was the subject of an investigation by the Associated Press, who called the church a cult. It was founded in 1979 by Jane Whaley, a former math teacher who considers herself to be a prophet. Allegations of physical and emotional abuse have been made by dozens of former members.

(via Washington Post)(Photo: WLOS) Read the rest

Hurricane Florence makes pig poop ponds overflow in North Carolina

And you thought 2018 couldn't get more grimly, disgustingly, apocalyptically fucked up.

There are roughly 4,000 “hog-waste lagoons,” that is the official term folks, in North Carolina. In the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality today says a number of these pork poo ponds are at risk of flooding and overflowing. Read the rest

North Carolina Verizon customers, trapped by Hurricane Florence, say they're being throttled and upsold

Redditor AbeFroman21 posted that he and his family are without power or internet due to Hurricane Florence, and that Verizon has throttled their internet access to an unusable trickle, offering to unblock them if they pay for a higher tier of service. Read the rest

Six years ago, North Carolina Republicans voted in a law decreeing that the seas weren't rising

In 2012, North Carolina's Coastal Resources Commission studied the question of sea-level rise and the likelihood that coastal areas would be inundated by severe weather, concluding that the seas were likely to rise by 39" over the century; the Republican legislature, backed by property developers building in low-lying coastal regions, passed a bill prohibiting any such research and decreeing that the seas would rise at the same rate that they had through history, without regard to any science about accelerating rates fueled by climate change. Read the rest

Raleigh-Durham, I'm headed your way! (CORRECTED!)

UPDATE: The event at Flyleaf is at 6PM, not 7!

I'm delivering the annual Kilgour lecture tomorrow morning at 10AM at UNC, and I'll be speaking at Flyleaf Books at 6PM -- be there or be oblong! Read the rest

Failed 'Wizard of Oz' theme park to reopen for tours

Want to walk down a yellow brick road at a once-defunct, "famously failed" Wizard of Oz theme park? Of course you do. Head over to Beech Mountain in North Carolina in June for one of the six upcoming tours of the Land of Oz.

Visitors for these special "Journey with Dorothy" tours will follow Dorothy around the park and help her search for the "wonderful wizard."

The park writes:

Your tour’s first stop is at the Fountain of Youth, where you be asked to drop all inhibitions and to remember your childhood. You may even get the chance to play one the roles of Dorothy's trusted companions or the wicked witch that she meets throughout her journey.

Tickets are $25 each and are somehow still available. They are also hosting a 3-day event in the fall called "Autumn at Oz."

--

According to the Charlotte Observer, urban exploration became popular at the park's site while it wasn't being used and many explorers helped themselves to the road's yellow bricks.

Here's the Observer's take on the park's rise and fall:

The park officially opened in 1970, with the intention of becoming a re-incarnation of the Land of Oz featured in the classic film "The Wizard of Oz." On opening day, actress Debbie Reynolds cut the opening-day ribbon as daughter Carrie Fisher ("Star Wars") stood by her side.

The Park would literally become an overnight success, with 400,000 visitors in its first season.

That success was short lived, however.

Read the rest

Cambridge Analytica campaigned for Republicans across America in 2014

2016 wasn't Cambridge Analytica's first rodeo; in 2014, they worked for Republicans in races across the country. Read the rest

Raleigh cops are investigating crime by getting Google to reveal the identity of every mobile user within acres of the scene

Public records requests have revealed that on at least four occasions, the Raleigh-Durham police obtained warrants forcing Google to reveal the identities of every mobile user within acres of a crime scene, sweeping up the personal information of thousands of people in a quest to locate a single perp. Read the rest

Unreal estate: World's largest chest of drawers for sale in North Carolina

Built in the 1920s as High Point, North Carolina's "Bureau of Information," this 36-foot-tall The Goddard-Townsend style dresser/building represents the area's furniture and hosiery industries (note the socks).

It is considered the world's largest freestanding chest of drawers, though down the street an 80-foot-tall bureau was created a few years back as a building's facade.

Now, for a mere $235K, this unusual High Point icon -- a commercial property -- could be yours.

(Pee-wee Herman, Old House Dreams)

first image via Google, second photo by Laurie Hlywa Read the rest

Federal appeals court blasts North Carolina's unconstitutional, Republican gerrymandering, orders new districts by Jan 24

North Carolina is one of several Republican-held states whose legislatures have created bizarre, misshapen and fundamentally, provably unfair electoral maps that ensure that the votes of Democrats in their states almost never result in representation by Democratic lawmakers. Read the rest

Net Neutrality is just for starters: municipal networks are the path to paradise

We just bought a house here in Burbank and I was delighted to learn that my new home office -- part of a business incorporated in the state of California -- would be sitting directly on one of the scorching-fast fiber optic lines that the city of Burbank maintains to wire up Disney, Warners and the other major businesses in town. Finally, an end to my long nightmare of slow, balky internet from Charter/Spectrum, my local cable monopolist! Read the rest

Durham protesters turn themselves in at police station after pulling down Confederate statue

On Monday, anti-racist protesters in Durham, North Carolina pulled down a statue dedicated to the "unknown soldiers" who fought to defend slavery, which was adorned with "a seal engraved with ‘The Confederate States of America’" and the words, "In memory of the boys who wore gray." Read the rest

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