Austin bomber blows himself up
As law enforcement was closing in on the 24-year old domestic terrorist suspected of planting bombs around the Austin, TX area, he reportedly blew himself up. As SWAT surrounded a hotel where they'd tracked him, he attempted to flee and ran his car into a ditch.
He was sitting in the vehicle as officers approached him and he reportedly detonated a bomb inside.
The first three devices were parcel bombs dropped off in front of homes in three eastern Austin neighborhoods. The fourth went off Sunday night on the west side of the city and was described by police as a more sophisticated device detonated through a trip wire mechanism.
The four devices were similar in construction, suggesting they were the work of the same bomb maker, officials said. In addition, there was also a package bomb that blew up at a FedEx distribution center near San Antonio on Tuesday, but it is still unclear whether it was linked to the Austin bombs. There was also a sixth incendiary device at a Goodwill store in Austin but police are also unsure whether it was related.
Investigators are looking into a motive.
He was home-schooled, posted conservative political views on a blog, didn't hold a steady job, and was living with roommates in a house he built with his father.
From the local Austin American-Statesman:
[He] received a degree from Austin Community College’s Northridge Campus and had worked at Crux Semiconductor in Austin as a “purchasing Agent/buyer/shipping and receiving,” according to a profile on a job recruiting website. He previously worked as a computer repair technician.
There are very few public social media posts under his name.
In other words... another of the "lost boys."
It's almost like the 20-something males who kill have some characteristics you can spot https://t.co/phE6pjcPq3— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) March 21, 2018
State panel looks at Confederate monument removal
It's only three statues, but it'll likely spark the debate about moving or removing Confederate monuments off public property in North Carolina.
A state committee mulling a move for three Confederate monuments away from the State Capitol will hold a public hearing Wednesday afternoon in downtown Raleigh.
The state Historical Commission's Confederate Monuments Committee has set aside two hours for comment, with a third hour optional if there's enough interest. Participants will be asked to speak for a minute or less on a proposal from Gov. Roy Cooper to move the monuments from the Capitol grounds to the Bentonville Battlefield historic site in Johnston County.
Gov. Roy Cooper (D) asked the Historical Commission to remove three statues from outside the Governor's office: the 1895 Confederate Monument, The Henry Lawson Wyatt Monument, and The North Carolina Women of the Confederacy Monument.
But how much power the Commission has to actually move the monuments might end up going to court (as everything in state government seems to nowadays)...
A state law passed in 2015 to protect Confederate monuments and other "objects of remembrance" puts the decision in the hands of the Historical Commission, but the panel's discretion is limited.
The law says state-owned monuments or works of art can be relocated only "when appropriate measures are required by the state" to preserve them or when removal is needed to make room for construction.
In a Thursday memo from two dozen House Republicans, including Speaker Tim Moore, to commission members, lawmakers stated that "preservation" should be narrowly interpreted, and they cited moving the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse back from the encroaching ocean as an example of a permissible move.
"This provision in no way applies to the relocation of an object of remembrance to reduce its potential for exposure to protest or criminal activity. Any such interpretation of the statute or variant thereof is wholly inconsistent with the spirit and letter of the law," the lawmakers wrote in the memo.
Speaking of suing over NC laws...
Charlotte breweries are suing over a state law limiting their ability to distribute their own products.
The Charlotte breweries claim the law is unconstitutional because once they've sold more than 25,000 barrels in a year, they're required to give up pricing and sales control of their products to middlemen for virtually as long as their beers are brewed. Brewers hitting that limit must sell everything to a wholesaler, which then sells to stores or taverns.
"This is an economic protectionism scheme designed to enrich one private party at the expense of another; a private party that contributes millions of dollars in campaign contributions to this General Assembly," attorney Andrew Erteschik said.
The political-action committee affiliated with the North Carolina Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association gave more than $500,000 to political candidates of both parties and the parties themselves in the five years prior to this election year, according to state campaign finance records. Executives of the state's roughly two dozen wholesalers gave more.
There are more than 200 breweries in North Carolina, and virtually all use distributors - under a system set up after the repeal of prohibition in the 1930s.
Peters goes out in a blaze
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Ralph Peters quit FOX News and wrote a scathing letter to his colleagues. Buzzfeed published his letter:
Four decades ago, I took an oath as a newly commissioned officer. I swore to "support and defend the Constitution," and that oath did not expire when I took off my uniform. Today, I feel that Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law, while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers. Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association. Now I am ashamed.
In my view, Fox has degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration.
It was not addressed to Sean Hannity. But it kinda' was.