From eNature.com in the USA:
They once roamed the southeastern U.S. Now they’re making a last stand in the forests of eastern North Carolina.
From eNature.com in the USA:
They once roamed the southeastern U.S. Now they’re making a last stand in the forests of eastern North Carolina.
This video from the USA says about itself:
NC Moral Mondays and Imminent Disturbance
29 May 2014
In response to Moral Mondays, North Carolina‘s legislature has banned “imminent disturbance.” Violations include “singing, clapping, shouting, playing musical instruments or using sound amplification equipment.”
From daily News Line in Britain:
Thursday, 5 June 2014
‘THE very best of America has come from imminent disturbance, and to limit people’s right to assemble and protest is both unacceptable and un-American,’ AFL-CIO Strategic Advisor Communications Director, Eric Hauser insisted on Monday.
The AFL-CIO has released a video slamming the North Carolina state legislature for establishing undemocratic ‘imminent disturbance’ rules, aimed at limiting the First Amendment rights of North Carolinians.
‘We stand together with the thousands who have spoken out against these reprehensible rules, and call on North Carolina’s leaders to reverse course and restore the basic rights we fight for every day,’ Hauser continued.
These rules, which were established earlier this month, would prohibit individuals from engaging in activity deemed to be an ‘imminent disturbance’ to the North Carolina statehouse. The new rules directly impact on participants of the ‘Moral Mondays’, which have shed light on extreme right-wing policies introduced in the North Carolina statehouse.
The AFL-CIO has also endorsed the Postal Workers’ (APWU’s) boycott of the office supply giant Staples over the US Postal Service’s (USPS’s) privatisation of retail operations by contracting mail services to Staples, with ‘postal counters’ staffed with low-wage, high-turnover Staples employees rather than postal employees.
The USPS began contracting out postal services to Staples in October. So far, 80 Staples stores are part of the pilot programme. But the USPS plans to expand the scheme to 1,500 Staples locations nationwide at the same time the USPS is eliminating public post offices.
In a letter to AFL-CIO affiliate unions, trade and industrial departments, state federations and central labour councils, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler wrote: ‘The pilot programme between the US Postal Service and Staples jeopardises mail services provided by US post offices and the good jobs that come with them.’
APWU President Mark Dimondstein said: ‘Our brothers and sisters in the labour movement are key allies in this struggle, and we greatly appreciate their support. The “Don’t Buy Staples” campaign is an essential component of the movement to stop the dirty deal between the US Postal Service and Staples.
‘The boycott covers all Staples Inc. office supply stores in the United States, Staples.com and Staples Advantage along with all Staples-branded proprietary products.’
In related news, dozens of APWU members and their allies rallied outside Staples’ annual stockholder meeting on Monday morning in Palo Alto, Calif.
Dimondstein said: ‘Staples is a company with declining sales, with plans to close more than 200 stores by the middle of next year. Shareholders need to ask management why they are involved in this kind of controversial deal when they have so many problems to fix in their core business.’
The AFL-CIO said on Monday: ‘In our regular weekly feature, we’ll be taking a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the persons or organisations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.’
Winner: AFSCME workers at Central Michigan University, for standing up to a nonsensical anti-family attendance policy and forcing Aramark to back off a policy that wouldn’t have helped anyone.
Runner-Up: Raise Michigan and other raising wages advocates in the state who worked hard and pressured Republicans to accept an increase to the state’s minimum wage that they originally opposed.
Loser: The North Carolina General Assembly, for deciding that freedom of speech and freedom of assembly don’t really apply in the Tar Heel State.
Runner-Up: Staples, which is now being boycotted by the Postal Workers (APWU) – with the support of the AFL-CIO – because of its deal with the US Postal Service to provide in-store postal services with low-wage, non-union, non-trained Staples employees.
‘In our new regular feature, we’ll be taking a look at the villains who are doing their best to prevent the United States from raising wages for all or some Americans. We’re going to try to take a look at more than just the usual suspects in these posts, and we’ll probably stay away from government officials to give you a look at other key players who are part of the problem.
‘This week, our Low-Wage Villain of the Week is Rob Walton, chairman of Walmart. Rob Walton’s story is not what we think of as an inspirational, all-American success story. Choosing a rich father has unquestionably worked well for Rob.
‘The Walton family sits on a net worth of more than $144 billion (more than the bottom of nearly 42% of Americans combined – yes, Rob, his siblings and mother are worth the same amount as 130 MILLION Americans), and Rob himself has a net worth of $35 billion.
‘So Rob has become the 14th richest person on the planet, despite the fact that the furthest he has gone from working for his dad’s company was working for a law firm that . . . did legal work for Walmart. But, you might wonder, is he doing good work as chairman?
‘His wealth increased by $305 million last year. But before you say he earned it, no . . . he really, really didn’t. While the overall Standard & Poor’s 500 index has gained 15% in the past year, Walmart shares fell 2.2%.
‘In the first quarter of 2014, stocks were down 3% and customer traffic declined 1.4%. Second quarter projections don’t show these trends changing. Advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. gave Walmart an 8 (on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the highest level of risk) and said that shareholders should vote against the company’s executive compensation plan, Chairman Walton and director Michael Duke.
‘And the company is dealing with numerous legal problems, including a $21 million settlement for wage theft, which isn’t its first such settlement in recent years, and is being sued for illegally firing workers for union organising.
‘So the company isn’t exactly being run well, but Chairman Walton is very well compensated. Does Rob share that wealth? No, the employees in the company are some of the lowest paid of any large employer in the country.
‘Walmart brags that its US workforce averages pay of $12.78 an hour, but that number leaves out more than half of the company’s workforce, such as part-time and temporary workers, and includes some managerial staff.
‘The company admits that 500,000 of its workers earn less than $10 an hour. Numerous job websites report the average pay for Walmart employees to be less than $10, ranging from $8.63 (Glassdoor) to $9.64 (PayScale).
‘In any event, the wages are low enough that many of the company’s workers receive government benefits designed to help the poor. It is estimated that Walmart employees received $6.2 billion in public assistance last year.
‘For getting rich off of his father, and staying rich by impoverishing and mistreating his workers rather than hard or innovative work, Rob Walton is our Low-Wage Villain of the Week.’
Seattle voted unanimously on Monday to raise the city’s minimum wage to the highest level of any major US city – $15 (£9) per hour, twice the national minimum.
Wages would begin to rise next year, ultimately reaching $15 from Washington state’s minimum of $9.32 over three to seven years, depending on the business.
The current US minimum wage is $7.25, although 38 states have set higher levels. The AFL-CIO said: ‘Today’s vote in Seattle will go down in history as a milestone in the struggle to raise wages and ensure fair pay for all workers.
‘It is proof that when working people organise and make their voices heard, we all benefit. While Republicans in Congress fail to act, Seattle, along with other cities and states around the country, is ensuring that workers receive a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work.’
This video from the USA says about itself:
Maya Angelou – I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings (part 1).
And this video is part 2.
From daily The Guardian in Britain:
Maya Angelou, celebrated US poet and author, dies aged 86
Jessica Glenza in New York
Wednesday 28 May 2014 18.06 BST
Maya Angelou, the American poet and author, died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Wednesday. She was 86.
Her son, Guy B Johnson, confirmed the news in a statement. He said: “Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension.
“She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.”
Johnson said Angelou “passed quietly in her home” sometime before 8am on Wednesday.
Bill Clinton, at whose inauguration Angelou read her On the Pulse of the Morning, said in a statement: “America has lost a national treasure, and Hillary and I a beloved friend.”
Angelou’s failing health was reported as recently as Tuesday, when she canceled an appearance honoring her with a Beacon of Life Award because of “health reasons”. The ceremony was part of the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon, in Houston, Texas, part of Major League Baseball’s Civil Rights Games.
Last month, forced to cancel an appearance at a library in Arkansas, she wrote: “An unexpected ailment put me into the hospital. I will be getting better and the time will come when I can receive another invitation from my state and you will recognize me for I shall be the tall Black lady smiling. I ask you to please keep me in your thoughts, in your conversation and in your prayers.”
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was an indictment of the racial discrimination she experienced during her childhood. “If growing up is painful for the southern black girl,” she wrote, “being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat. It is an unnecessary insult.”
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings has had a wide appeal, particularly to younger female readers and continues to appear on school and university reading lists in the US and the UK.
Actors, writers, directors, activists and politicians shared thankful and mournful notes in response to Angelou’s death.
Angelou had lived in North Carolina since the early 1980s, when she became a professor at Wake Forest University, a private liberal arts college. A statement from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem called Angelou “a national treasure whose life and teachings inspired millions around the world”.
The mayor of Winston-Salem, Allen Joines, said the town would probably remember Angelou best for her commitment to health and theatre.
She supported the founder of the National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, and eventually became its first chairperson in 1989. In 2012, the Maya Angelou Women’s Health and Wellness Center opened in the city. A street in Winston-Salem is named after Angelou.
Despite her many accomplishments, the mayor said small moments seemed to touch the poet.
In April 2008, the town threw Angelou an 80th birthday party. Despite entertainers and speakers present at the party, the mayor said, “The thing that seemed to touch her the most was a group of little kids.”
This video says about itself:
Leatherback Turtles 21 May 2013
These two Leatherback Turtles were observed feeding on Moon Jellies approximately 8 nautical miles Southwest of Mexico Beach, FL. It was amazing how they allowed me to swim within 4 feet of them for about 9 minutes as they fed on Moon Jellies.
From The Robesonian in the USA today:
UNCP professor leads study to help protect leatherbacks
20 hours ago
A blockbuster scientific study that tracked ocean-going leatherback turtles may help save the endangered reptiles whose numbers have plummeted as commercial fishing continues to take a toll.
John Roe, a biology professor at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and reptile expert, is the lead author of a satellite-tracking study that began more than two decades ago and included 15 scientists from leading universities and institutes. The study tracked 135 leatherback turtles as they trekked across the Pacific Ocean. It was released online on Jan. 8 by The Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) of London and will be published in print form on Feb. 22.
The leatherback population has declined by 90 percent since 1980 due in large part to longline fishing vessels hauling them in as “bycatch.” Using GPS to track the travels of the world’s largest ocean-going turtle, it may be possible to untangle them from the multi-billion dollar fishing industry, Roe said.
“The high profile of this paper helps the turtles’ cause; it’s a huge industrial issue,” Roe said. “It’s an important study, and many conservation groups are behind it.”
The study represents “the largest compilation of satellite-derived position estimates with fisheries information to predict times and locations of bycatch risk for any species of marine vertebrate.” Roe analyzed huge volumes of data, which gives “strong evidence of predictable time and location of leatherback movements” all of which “make the problem of leatherback bycatch more manageable.”
Some of the participating scientists work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, which is responsible for the stewardship of the nation’s living marine resources and their habitat.
“Leatherback turtles travel thousands of miles to and from nesting sites, and their movements are predictable,” Roe said. “They follow jellyfish, their sole food source, and fishermen follow similar patterns.”
It’s difficult to get data from the industry on leatherbacks hooked on longlines, but fishermen do not intentionally catch the large turtles, which can damage their equipment.
The study, which began in 1992 and ran through 2008, is a remarkable cooperative effort among many groups who tag turtles, according to Roe.
“Knowing that many people are putting satellite transmitters on turtles, we were able to collaborate with them to get a better picture of what’s going on in the ocean,” he said.
Universities represented in the ongoing research are UNCP, Indian-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, Cornell, Duke, Stanford, Maryland and Drexel. Institutes participating were NOAA and the Leatherback Turtle Conservation Trust. Funding came from the Lenfest Oceans Program of the Pew Charitable Trust, the tagging of Pacific Pelagics Program, Drexel’s Betz Endowment and the Schrey Endowment of Indiana-Purdue.
Several leading international turtle scientists were co-authors, including the study’s senior scientist James Spotila of Drexel, Stephen Morreale of Cornell, and Frank Paladino of Indiana-Purdue, who is Roe’s mentor.
“I was able to maintain a relationship with this group from my time as a post-doctoral fellow,” Roe said. “I pushed the study forward and crunched the numbers.”
As lead author, Roe is also the spokesman for the paper, and interest in the study has been high. Thus far, BBC News, Nature World and Science Daily have reported on it. Roe has done an interview with WHYY, Philadelphia public radio.
Roe said acquiring more data would narrow the field of collisions between turtles and fishing vessels. A related study of leatherbacks in the Atlantic will be published online in the coming months.
“Turtles and whales are in the spotlight globally,” Roe said. “There has been success in some areas like shrimping on the East Coast of the Atlantic where turtle excluder devices have been incorporated in nets. But leatherbacks are not coastal turtles and remain in deep water, which makes regulation more difficult.”
The study identified hot spots of conflict. In the eastern Pacific, leatherbacks are at the highest risk in the South Pacific Gyre, an enormous ocean eddy past the Galapagos Islands and south of the equator. In the western Pacific, the highest potential for bycatch is near nesting beaches of northwest New Guinea.
In Pembroke, Roe stays busy with his students tracking box turtles, a terrestrial species that is North Carolina’s state reptile. Roe, who joined UNCP’s faculty in 2010, earned his doctorate from the University of Canberra, Australia. He has studied turtles and snakes Down Under, across the Pacific and from Michigan to North Carolina.
“I expect to have some papers on box turtles ready for publication in a year, and I am looking at some turtles of conservation concern in the Lumber River,” he said. “There is no shortage of interesting reptiles.”
See also here.
The last large populations of the leatherback turtle are at risk because their migratory routes in the Atlantic Ocean clash with the locations of industrial fisheries, a new study shows: here.
The Definitive Ranking Of Animals Riding On Turtles: here.
This video says about itself:
5 Sep 2013
The Syrian village of Ma’loula in the mountains north of Damascus is a UNESCO world heritage site, it is one of the only villages in the world where ancient Aramaic is still spoken – that’s the language believed to have been spoken by Jesus Christ.
It has been overrun in an assault by al-Qaeda linked group Jabhat al-Nusra, who were fighting alongside opposition brigades from Baba Amr in Homs. A nun from a convent in Ma’loula has accused Jabhat al-Nusra of shelling the village and its inhabitants indiscriminately.
By Joseph Kishore in the USA:
North Carolina man charged with seeking to join US-backed Syrian opposition
14 November 2013
A man from the US state of North Carolina faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for allegedly seeking to join the Al Nusra Front (Janhat al-Nusra), an Al Qaeda-linked organization that has been promoted by the US and its allies throughout the Syrian civil war.
According to an indictment filed by a grand jury in North Carolina, Basit Javed Sheikh, who lived in the city of Carey and is originally from Pakistan, contacted an individual who turned out to be an agent of the FBI to seek assistance in traveling to Syria.
The involvement of FBI informants is a feature of nearly every terrorism-related prosecution filed by US officials. In this case, Sheikh allegedly made contact with the informant through an Islamist Facebook page in August, expressing an interest in traveling to Syria to support the forces fighting against the government of Bashar al-Assad.
According to a report in CBS News, “Sheikh told the covert informant in early September that he’d bought a one-way ticket to travel to Turkey in hopes of making contact with people who would get him to Syria.” He allegedly said he had travelled to Turkey last year for a similar purpose, but had become frustrated by his experience with individuals who claimed to be part of the Free Syrian Army, which has had the official backing of the US.
The plans for travel to Turkey were apparently cancelled. Sheikh was arrested earlier this month at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport before boarding a plane to Lebanon, a trip that the US government claims had the same aim as the Turkish trips.
If the accusations of US officials are true, Sheikh’s actions in seeking to join Al Nusra in fact entirely conform to the activities of the US government itself. At the time that he first allegedly made contact with the FBI informant, the war drive of the Obama administration against Syria was at its peak. Over the summer, the US government had been preparing to launch a direct military intervention against the Assad government, after having fueled and stoked a sectarian conflict, dominated by the Al Nusra Front, for two years.
Thanks in part to the military and financial assistance from US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria became the dominant forces in the civil war aimed at toppling Assad, a principal ally of Iran and Russia. These forces carried out repeated terrorist attacks, including the bombing of civilian institutions, the murder of prisoners of war, and the massacre of members of the Alawite minority.
A Reuters report on September 5—when Sheikh was allegedly in discussions with the FBI informant—noted that claims by Obama administration officials that the opposition in Syria was “moderate” were “at odds with estimates by US and European intelligence sources and nongovernmental experts, who say Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements.”
Sheikh is at least the third individual arrested by US authorities for allegedly seeking to join the Al Nusra Front, which is formally designated as a terrorist organization. Earlier this year, Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, an 18-year-old from Chicago, was seized while leaving the US, allegedly to join up with Syrian forces. Similarly to the latest case, the arrest came after undercover FBI agents ensnared Tounisi in an Internet sting.
Last March, a US Army veteran, Eric Harroun, was arrested on charges related to his going to Syria and allegedly fighting alongside the Al Nusra Front.
In Harroun’s case, defense lawyers argued that there was confusion over what group he was to join, and that he had, in fact, intended to fight with the Free Syrian Army. Throughout the Syrian conflict, the FSA has worked closely with the Islamist organizations.
Initially, Harroun was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction outside of the United States—which carries a possible death sentence—and providing material support to a terrorist organization, which is punishable by 15 years in prison.
In the end, however, Harroun was allowed to plead to a lesser charge of conspiring to violate arms control laws and was released after being sentenced to time served.
During an initial hearing, Harroun’s lawyer, Geremy Kamens, had argued in his defense: “It is extremely unusual for the US to charge a person who is fighting in a manner that is aligned with US interests.”
While dozens of innocent people entrapped by undercover agents provocateurs have been sent to prison for decades on trumped up charges of conspiring to provide material support for terrorism, these cases involving Syria pose a dilemma. How can federal courts send people to prison for supporting Al Qaeda, when the US government is doing the very same thing?
Recently, Al Qaeda in Syria beheaded Mohammad Fares. They thought Mr Fares was an adherent of the Shiite tendency within Islam; enough “reason” to murder him so cruelly. However, then it turned out that Mohammad Fares was a Sunni Muslim, like themselves. Whoops-a-daisy! [sarcasm off; deep sadness on]
Blood brothers. When Assad’s horrific prisons were the CIA’s dumping ground: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
13 August 2013
Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed into law Monday one of the nation’s most wide-ranging voter-identification laws, just a few weeks after the Supreme Court opened the door for such changes by striking down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act.The move by the Republican is expected to touch off a major court battle over voting rights, and the Justice Department is weighing a challenge to the new law.
The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.
By Ed Hightower in the USA:
After Supreme Court Decision in Shelby County
States suppress the right to vote
17 August 2013
On Monday a coalition of public advocacy groups filed a lawsuit challenging a newly enacted North Carolina law that severely restricts the right to vote. The lawsuit, League of Women Voters et al. v. North Carolina, charges that the state’s new voting regulations disproportionately affect minority voters. The law in question is the most reactionary piece of legislation purporting to curtail the nonexistent problem of voter fraud to date, and comes on the heels of the US Supreme Court’s striking down of a key enforcement provision of the Voting Rights Act in June.
A number of other states have taken similar measures to restrict the franchise. In Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia and South Carolina, previously enacted photo ID requirements, at one time precluded or tied up in Voting Rights Act litigation, will soon go into effect. Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor is currently fighting in court to uphold a photo ID law enacted by a Republican predecessor.
A letter from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach charged that his office was impeding the approval of 14,000 voter registration applications in violation of the National Voter Registration Act. Kansas has a voter registration law that requires applicants to provide proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. A substantially similar requirement in an Arizona law was recently struck down by the US Supreme Court.
North Carolina’s state government is presently dominated at all levels by the Republican Party, the chief instigator of anti-voting legislation in the United States. The Republicans enjoy a supermajority in both houses of the state legislature, as well as a favorable judiciary and the governorship. Extreme right-wing sections of the ruling elite have used the state as a testing ground for the implementation of reactionary policies on a host of issues, from workplace rights to social services. Art Pope, the billionaire magnate of Variety Wholesalers, spent over $2 million on the state’s congressional elections, and in return, Governor Pat McCrory placed Pope in the important post of state budget director.
The new voting law aims to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters. It creates enormous difficulties for working-class voters, as well as youth and the elderly, by eliminating same-day voter registration and shortening the early voting period.
In the 2012 election, 2.5 million North Carolinians cast their ballots during the early voting period, more than half the total electorate. In the 2008 and 2012 general elections, more than 70 percent of African-American voters took advantage of early voting.
In the 2008 and 2012 elections, approximately 250,000 North Carolinians were able to vote or register to vote or update their registration all at the same time, with African Americans disproportionately taking advantage of this opportunity. Under the new law, there is no same-day registration at all.
The same is true for so-called out-of-precinct voting. In the past, North Carolina voters would have their votes counted in presidential and gubernatorial elections even if they voted at the wrong precinct. Now those votes will not be counted, with a disproportionate effect on poor, working-class and young voters, who change residences more frequently.
The new law also includes a photo ID provision, creating another hurdle for low-income, working, elderly and disabled voters who have to obtain an approved government-issued ID card to show at the polls.
State-level attacks on the right to vote confirm the prognosis of the World Socialist Web Site that there is no section of the ruling elite interested in defending democratic rights. To the extent that any Democratic Party politicians or leaders who claim to carry forward the legacy of the civil rights movement oppose the attacks on the right to vote, it is only from the standpoint of seeking electoral advantage over their Republican rivals.
Attacks on the right to vote starkly reveal the state of class relations in the United States. As social inequality reaches new heights on an almost daily basis, the ruling class cannot maintain its privileges without undermining democratic forms of rule.
The right to vote has been fought for and expanded on the basis of mass political struggle. One look at the US Constitution’s several amendments concerning the right to vote reveals its paramount importance. The 15th Amendment, passed in the wake of the Civil War that freed the slaves, states that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State…on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude…”
The 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920 amid rising social struggles of the working class and just three years after the Russian Revolution, guaranteed the right to vote to women. The 24th Amendment assured that the right to vote could not be thwarted by a poll tax or any other tax.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County paved the way for a redoubled assault on the right to vote. The Court’s majority opinion repeatedly emphasized the reactionary doctrine of “states’ rights” to mask its antidemocratic agenda. The majority ruled that the right of a state to regulate elections outweighed the constitutional principles granting power to the federal government to protect the right to vote against the intervention of any state, including the power to enact legislation to achieve this end.
“States’ rights” was of course the battle cry of the slaveholders of the Confederacy in the Civil War. In that instance as well as today, states’ rights ultimately means the right to suppress the people of the state in question, whether they be actual chattel slaves or workers who are barred from the polls. The right of the state stands in opposition to the rights of the people.
The new voting restrictions at the state level represent a growing break with constitutional principles and the progressive heritage of the American Revolution and Civil War, and later social struggles of the working class. They are of a piece with the burgeoning surveillance state, militarism abroad and the assault on all basic democratic rights.
North Carolina just enacted what may be the worst voter suppression law in the country: here.
This video is called Inside Story: How relevant is the US Voting Rights Act?
By Ben Chacko in Britain:
North Carolina restricts right to vote rules
Tuesday 13 August 2013
The new rules limit early voting and insist on voters carrying government-issued photo identification to the polls.
It abolishes the right to register and vote on the same day and ends a secondary school-based civic programme which registers young people to vote as they approach 18.
Mr McCrory claims this will reduce “rampant” vote fraud – but Democrats, civil liberties campaigns and trade unions insist it is aimed at suppressing voter turnout among poor and ethnic minority communities.
Republican strategists have noted a demographic decline in the party’s voter base, with the black and hispanic populations proportionally unlikely to vote for it.
National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People North Carolina president Reverend William Barber said the law was “trampling on the blood, sweat and tears of the martyrs, black and white, who fought for voting rights in this country.”
And the American Civil Liberties Union said it would mount a legal challenge.
Mr McCrory is one of a number of Republican state governors who have taken advantage of a Supreme Court ruling in June which undermined the Voting Rights Act.
The Act had required federal approval of changes to electoral law and was passed in the 1960s to stop southern states from racially discriminating against voters.
But judges dropped the requirement, leading to a flurry of right-wing bids to “tighten” voter registration.
Additional clauses in the North Carolina law weaken disclosure requirements on the funding sources for campaign adverts and remove any limit on corporate donations to political parties.
The new rules have sparked nationwide controversy, with former secretary of state Hillary Clinton speaking out against an “assault on voting rights” on Monday.
US attorney-general Eric Holder said last month he was asking courts to restore the federal approval requirement for changes to electoral law in Texas – and that this bid to restore voting rights “will not be our last.”
See also here.
Billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed today to appeal against a ruling that the city’s police have “illegally and systematically” used racial profiling in stop-and-searches: here.
Barbra Streisand: Why Is It Easier to Get an Assault Weapon Than to Vote? Here.
This video from North Carolina in the USA says about itself:
Help Get High-Speed Internet to Rural America
Jun 12, 2009
Jack Kennedy’s online flower business is suffering because he can only get a slow dial-up connection or an expensive and unreliable satellite connection in rural N.C. Help get all Americans access to a fast, open and affordable Internet at www.freepress.net
By Jim Newell in the USA:
Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:46 am
Loss of Internet Access
It appears that I am about to lose Internet access, and the important point is that this means that large numbers of low income people are also about to lose access to the Internet.
It looks like dial-up access is about to be discontinued, and I can’t afford the other, more expensive, services.
The main data is that no computers now being sold have a telephone jack so that they can be used with dial-up. That will quickly reduce the number of dial-up users further. My own Internet provider is hinting that they will soon be ending their service. It is possible that there are plans afoot for telephone companies to end land line service, although I don’t know for sure about that.
Then, of course, once dial-up and perhaps landlines are gone, it will be easier for Internet providers to raise their prices.
Dial-up connections to the Internet require no infrastructure other than the telephone network. Where telephone access is widely available, dial-up remains useful and it is often the only choice available for rural or remote areas, where broadband installations are not prevalent due to low population density, and high infrastructure cost. Dial-up access may also be an alternative for users on limited budgets, as it is offered free by some ISPs, though broadband is increasingly available at lower prices in many countries due to market competition.
From the Bankservice site in Bulgaria:
In addition, it is also to consider the SWIFT plans, as officially announced, to abolish the option of using a Dial-up as main connection, as well as the transfer from Single-I or Dual-I Economy (speed 64Kb, of which 8Kb guaranteed where 2Kb are for service traffic) to Dual-I Standard (full 64Kb). This would cost to SWIFT users with such independent connection one-off costs in the range of five to thirteen thousand USDollars and increase in the current costs by two to ten thousand USDollrs a year.
This video is about wolves.
Translated from Vroege Vogels radio in the Netherlands today:
Friday, February 8, 2013 10.10
USA: February 2013. Yet another Red wolf has been shot dead, adding to the spate of Red wolf shootings at the end of 2012. The wolf was found with a suspected gunshot wound on January 18, 2013, north of the Town of Fairfield, in Tyrrell County, North Carolina: here.
Prehistoric wolf bone on Texel island: here.
This video from the USA is called The Real Fox-Coyote Enclosure. There are some unpleasant and graphic scenes in the video, please do not watch if you will be at all offended.
From Wildlife Extra:
Barbaric ‘fox penning’ still legal in North Carolina
Coyotes and foxes used to ‘train’ hunting dogs
December 2012. North Carolina, the state where 7 Critically Endangered Red wolves were ‘accidentally’ shot in the last few months of 2012 (Out of a total wild population of around 110), still allows a barbaric practice which has been banned elsewhere. Wild foxes and coyotes are trapped, captured, and then put into pens where hunting dogs are used to fight and kill them.
This practice, which is currently legal – but entirely inhumane – allows people to trap wild foxes and coyotes and place them in confined pens where hunting dogs are then “trained” to bay and kill them. Often the foxes and coyotes are mauled to death, sometimes after enduring several rounds of “hunts” and injuries.
Opponents of this barbaric practice claim that competitions are run in which the hunting dogs are scored on how quickly they can bay/kill the coyotes or foxes. It’s a cruel thing to do to any wild animal, and it is akin to dog fighting which is illegal in the US, because all of the animals involved are canids. While foxes have been long used for this practice, we are told that wild coyotes are also now trapped for use in fox pens because, being more resilient, they live longer than the foxes through the “hound training.”
Sign a petition
If you would like to help, please sign this petition calling for a ban on this practice in North Carolina. Click here.