First up, Desi Doyen joins us for an update on the devastating climate-driven wildfires that have devastated the town of Fort McMurray, Alberta, in the heart of Canada's oil sands region where many workers from the oil sands mines live and work. Cooler weather, and even a bit of rain, helped keep the fires from growing to a full half-a-billion acres, as feared on Saturday. Still, the scenes of neighborhoods completely destroyed from the fire are heartbreaking. Some 88,000 residents remain evacuated, even as the irony of this particular region being devastated by climate-induced fires remains palpable.
Then, on to North Carolina Republicans' latest self-induced disaster. Late last week, the U.S. Dept. of Justice warned the state that their anti-LGBT law (HB2) was in violation of the federal Civil Rights Act. They were given until today (Monday) to let the DoJ know how they planned to respond in order to avoid the potential loss of more than $2 billion dollars in federal education funding. That response came today in the form of a suit filed against the DoJ by NC. The DoJ quickly responded in kind, with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announcing a lawsuit against North Carolina for violation of the Civil Rights Act. She described HB2 as "state-sponsored discrimination," and told the transgendered community: "We see you. We stand with youвЂ¦And please know that history is on your side."
Democratic North Carolina state Rep. Chris Sgro, who also serves as president of Equality NC, joins us today to talk about the entire fine mess, even as news of the various suits were still breaking. He tells me that the state has already lost about half a billion to their economy, even before the potential loss of federal education funding, as businesses react to the "terrible anti-LGBT, anti-worker, anti-education bill that we know is in violation of the Civil Rights Act".
"This is not pro-business conservatism," Sgro tells me. "This bill wasn't about enabling local government. They went in and they were the big government who stripped local rights. And they are the anti-business party right now. If they really want to be pro-business, pro-growth, they have to act as quickly as possible to overturn House Bill 2. That's the only answer at this point."
Also on today's program: Surprising polling news out of Georgia (and another warning for Democrats along with it); Missouri Republicans pass a new Photo ID restriction law, with a compromise that leads to some Democrats joining; Democratic voter registration numbers skyrocket in California (and in Oregon); and the Dumbest Story of the Day as a photograph of female black cadets at West Point generates an official investigation.