"RED FLAG" BILL WOULD TEMPORARILY REMOVE FIREARM FROM DANGEROUS INDIVIDUALS: A North Carolina bill allowing courts to temporarily seize firearms from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others was filed Thursday, hours after President Joe Biden recommended states adopt laws to reduce gun violence. But if history is any guide, Democrats will have a hard time passing such “red flag” bills in North Carolina. Three of them, Reps. Marcia Morey of Durham, John Autry, of Charlotte, and Grier Martin, of Wake County, filed House Bill 525 Thursday just before 4 p.m. The 10-page proposal outlines a process for “an extreme risk protection order” that a family member, a current or former spouse or partner, law enforcement or a health-care provider could pursue to have guns temporarily removed from someone who courts deemed a danger. Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have adopted similar legislation, Biden said.
WAKE COUNTY, UNC HEALTH PAUSE JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE AFTER (1%) ADVERSE REACTIONS: Wake County spokeswoman Stacy Beard said 18 people had an adverse reaction to the vaccine at the PNC Arena clinic. More than 2,300 Johnson & Johnson vaccines were administered at the clinic on Thursday, meaning 0.78% of vaccine recipients had a reaction. Fourteen people who had a reaction were evaluated by Wake County EMS at PNC Arena and were treated on site. Four people were taken to a local hospital to be evaluated and are expected to be released. Symptoms like nausea, dizziness, fainting and one allergic reaction were reported by those who reported reactions. "All individuals are monitored. If they're concerned, we monitor them for 30 minutes. So, most indications were caught early on," said Ryan Jury, who oversees Wake County's vaccination efforts. UNC Health spokesman Alan Wolf said the medical system was pausing administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at all UNC Health vaccine clinics after a small number of recipients reported feeling faint at the Friday Center on Thursday. "I don't think this is an allergic reaction. Most of the people that I've seen here today who have felt faint have a history of feeling faint, especially around needles. So, it's really hard," explained Wohl.
RONNIE LONG WON'T "FORGIVE AND FORGET" ABOUT BEING WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED FOR 44 YEARS: The $750,000 wire transfer from the state of North Carolina appeared in Ronnie Long’s bank account on Friday, more money than Long had ever seen, more money than the Concord native had ever dreamed of. And, Long said Wednesday, not nearly enough. “Ain’t no way in hell that you put me in the penitentiary and then tell me what I’m worth,” an angry Long shouted through the phone during a 15-minute interview with the Observer from Durham. “These people were trying me for my life, man. Do you understand that? They were trying me for my life, and then they took evidence and destroyed it.” Long served almost 44 years for a crime he says he never committed. He was convicted in 1976 by an all-white jury in Concord of raping the widow of a Cannon Mills executive after a trial in which potentially exculpatory evidence was either intentionally withheld from his defense team or disappeared altogether. Citing the corrupted investigation and trial, a federal court overturned Long’s conviction last year. He was released from prison in September and pardoned by Gov. Roy Cooper a week before Christmas. “Fair? What’s fair?,” Long said, his voice rising. “Ask yourself that question when these people took away your 20s, your 30s, your 40s, your 50s and they started in on your 60s.”
NEO-NAZI LEADER PLEADS GUILTY TO HATE CRIMES CHARGES AFTER TARGETING JOURNALISTS: A leader of the white-supremacist neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal conspiracy and hate-crime charges for threatening journalists and activists. Cameron Shea, 25, and three co-defendants were charged with plotting in an online chat group to identify journalists and advocates they wanted to threaten as retaliation for their work exposing antisemitism, the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington said in a news release. In a federal court in Seattle, Shea pleaded guilty to two counts — out of five — in the indictment, one for conspiracy and one for interfering with “a federal protected activity because of religion,” the statement said. He faces up to five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and up to 10 for the hate-crime charge and is scheduled to be sentenced in June. Other members of the organization have been arrested for carrying out different intimidation and harassment tactics on minorities and journalists, such as calling law enforcement to their homes and offices in the hopes of prompting a forceful response from the police — a practice known as “swatting.” John Cameron Denton of Montgomery, Tex., considered one of the group’s leaders, was charged in district court in Alexandria, Va., last year for calling in fake threats targeting a ProPublica reporter who had written about Denton and Atomwaffen extensively. One of the victims on the list was Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard G. Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald, who was handcuffed and dragged out of his home by police after a false report was made in June. Atomwaffen is a notorious extremist group that became active in 2016 whose members meet and organize in online forums and claim to be preparing for a race war to combat what they argue is the cultural and racial displacement of the white race.
BOEHNER SAYS TOM DELAY WAS DRIVING FORCE IN BILL CLINTON'S IMPEACHMENT: Former Speaker John Boehner, Republican of Ohio, says in a new memoir that he regrets supporting the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, calling it a partisan attack that he now wishes he had repudiated. In his book “On the House: A Washington Memoir,” a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Boehner blames Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, then the No. 2 Republican, for leading a politically motivated campaign against Mr. Clinton over his affair with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern. The Republican-led House voted to impeach Mr. Clinton on two counts in 1998. He was acquitted by the Senate. “In my view, Republicans impeached him for one reason and one reason only — because it was strenuously recommended to us by one Tom DeLay,” Mr. Boehner writes. “Tom believed that impeaching Clinton would win us all these House seats, would be a big win politically, and he convinced enough of the membership and the G.O.P. base that this was true. He pulls no punches for those he views as far-right bomb-throwers in his party. (He saves several particularly forceful insults for Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.) And he issues a stinging denunciation of Donald J. Trump, saying that the now former president “incited that bloody insurrection” by his supporters at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and that the Republican Party has been taken over by “whack jobs.” Mr. Trump’s “refusal to accept the result of the election not only cost Republicans the Senate but led to mob violence,” Mr. Boehner writes. Mr. Boehner also details on the record some of Capitol Hill’s most talked-about exchanges, including the time that Representative Don Young, Republican of Alaska, pulled a knife on Mr. Boehner on the House floor after a critical speech about sweetheart projects going to Alaska. Mr. Boehner also relays an encounter in his office in which Mark Meadows, then a Republican representative from North Carolina and a leader of the right-wing Freedom Caucus, dropped to his knees to beg for forgiveness after a political coup attempt against Mr. Boehner failed. “Not long after the vote — a vote that like many of the Freedom Caucus’s efforts ended in abject failure — I was told that Meadows wanted to meet with me one-on-one,” Mr. Boehner recalled. “Before I knew it, he had dropped off the couch and was on his knees. Right there on my rug. That was a first. His hands came together in front of him as if he were about to pray. ‘Mr. Speaker, please forgive me,’ he said, or words to that effect.”