Tuesday News: Fighting disaster with more disaster

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REPUBLICAN HURRICANE RELIEF WILL LIKELY CUT INTO OTHER PROGRAMS: Repairing the damage from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey could cost hundreds of billions of dollars at a time when Republicans in Congress are reluctant to spend much on anything, particularly without a way to pay for it. It could make passing disaster relief funding in the future a politically toxic exercise, even in the era of unified GOP government. Lawmakers last week sent legislation to the president’s desk providing more than $15 billion in storm relief funds, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency said should be sufficient to provide disaster relief for at least a few months. The measure may postpone the next debate over how much Congress should spend, but it doesn’t remove the possibility of a bitter political battle, with the administration expected to ask for as many as four emergency funding requests. “There’s nothing wrong with saying, ‘We’re running out of money so we’ll fill up the coffers,’ and coming back to the appropriations process later” to find offsets, Sanford explained. “It doesn’t have to be perfectly timed.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article172712986.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

If you live in Charlotte and forgot to early vote in the Primary, today is the day:

It will be interesting to see the overall turnout numbers for this Primary, which will (very likely) determine who the next Mayor of Charlotte is. And I'd like to give a special shout out to Betsy's mom Patsy Kinsey, who has two Primary challengers to face off to keep her seat. Fingers crossed...

Municipal segregation: African-American community sues for the right to vote

They've been knocking at the door for decades, but nobody answers:

A predominantly black unincorporated community is suing an adjacent North Carolina town after a decades-long fight for annexation. The Winston-Salem Journal reports the 73-household Walnut Tree Community Association and four individuals filed a lawsuit Thursday against the predominantly white town of Walnut Cove, alleging racial discrimination.

K&L Gates Law Firm, which represents the plaintiffs, says the lawsuit is an attempt to accelerate annexation so Walnut Tree community members can participate in town elections and receive the benefits and services available to town residents, including reduced water-sewer service rates. The town rejected a formal petition for annexation in January. K&L Gates says repeated denials of annexation since the 1970s violate the North Carolina Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

There is so much wrong with this situation I don't know where to start. The community was originally formed with Federal loan assistance, designed to help more African-Americans become homeowners. And most of them originally lived in Town, meaning they had the right to vote in municipal elections before they bought their new house. They didn't intentionally give up the right to vote to secure a home loan, they were under the impression their new community would become part of the Town:

Monday News: Powerless

HURRICANE IRMA LEAVES 4.5 MILLION FLORIDIANS WITHOUT POWER: Nearly 4.5 million homes and businesses across Florida have lost power as Hurricane Irma moves over the state. And utility officials say it will take weeks to restore electricity to everyone. Farther north, more than 100,000 are in the dark in Georgia. Much of eastern Alabama and coastal South Carolina are under tropical storm warnings as Irma pummels Florida, weakening on its march northward.The National Hurricane Center predicts the storm will cross Monday into southwest Georgia, where a hurricane warning was in effect for a large rural area including the cities of Albany and Valdosta. Rain already is falling in parts of the state, including metro Atlanta, early Monday.
http://www.newsobserver.com/latest-news/article172528026.html

Thoughts on the Great War for equality in America

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Stolen from my Facebook page:

People's eyes tend to gloss over when I start talking about history. I'm sure part of that comes from how I present the subject, as I tend to bounce around like I'm riding a time machine to point out how later developments undermined or enhanced notable historical events. Guilty as charged. But I feel it's important to not view these events as "closed" chapters, because that almost always leads to false assumptions.

Take the Civil War, for example: That event (or series of) should be viewed as merely a battle in a centuries-long war for racial equality, in not just our country, but the entire Northern Hemisphere, to be completely accurate. And that war continues to this day.

Just a side note, but intrinsically related: Just a few hours after my recent Op-Ed was published about erecting a monument to a former slave who was lynched in downtown Graham, I was contacted by a local playwright about forming a committee to pursue this goal. We met Wednesday and were joined by a local historian and a member of the clergy deeply interested in racial equality, and we are determined to make this happen. I'll keep you posted. Back to the boring lecture:

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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STANDING STRONG FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS IS BEST SCHOOL CHOICE: As the General Assembly sends money to big business and the wealthy, it deprives public schools by diverting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to private schools through a voucher scheme. By the end of this decade, at the current rate, North Carolina will spend more on private school vouchers than on textbooks and digital resources for 1.5 million public school students. In the last century, public education has transformed North Carolina into a beacon of opportunity. Public schools have made – and can continue to make -- a dramatic impact on generations of families. But we must make a choice: Instead of sitting quietly through the systematic dismantling of public schools, we should stand strong for the heart and soul of our state—a thriving public education system.
http://www.wral.com/mark-jewell-standing-strong-for-public-schools-is-best-school-choice-/16938098/

Saturday News: Take a hike, boys

GOVERNOR COOPER WANTS TO MOVE CONFEDERATE STATUES FROM CAPITAL GROUNDS: Gov. Roy Cooper's administration formally petitioned the state's Historical Commission Friday in an effort to remove three Confederate monuments from the Capitol grounds in downtown Raleigh. Cooper wants to move the statues 45 miles south to the Bentonville Battlefield historic site in Johnston County. A state law passed in 2015 to protect Confederate monuments and other "objects of remembrance" restricts what the state can do, even with consent from the Commission, which is slated to meet Sept. 22. The law says no state-owned monuments or works of art can be removed without its approval, but it also lays out rules for when the commission does allow changes. Monuments 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.
http://www.wral.com/cooper-administration-files-to-move-confederate-monuments-/16935662/

UNC Board of Governors crumbling under ideological discord

And big surprise, Tom Fetzer is right in the middle of it:

In a stunning and contentious session, a faction of the UNC Board of Governors moved Thursday for substantive changes in the university system, including lowering tuition and fees at the campuses, reorganizing the staff of UNC President Margaret Spellings and moving the UNC system headquarters out of Chapel Hill.

The meeting followed a scathing letter to Spellings and Board Chairman Lou Bissette that was reported by The News & Observer on Thursday. The Aug. 22 letter, signed by 15 members, took Spellings and Bissette to task for a lack of communication to the members before they sent a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper about security and plans for Silent Sam, the Confederate statue on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Some board members said they had never seen and wouldn’t have signed the letter written by new member Tom Fetzer.

If you find that second paragraph somewhat confusing, it doesn't mean your cognitive skills are waning. Two different letters are elevated to "subjects" in the narrative, making the letter referenced in the final sentence somewhat of a mystery. Tom Fetzer wrote the second letter, which is the first one mentioned in the paragraph. And he was complaining about the first letter written, which is the second one referenced in the paragraph. Does that help? Yeah, not so much. Basically this "renegade" group, which is apparently a majority of the Board, are pissed off they didn't get a chance to defend Silent Sam and/or accuse Roy Cooper of being the 2nd gunman on the grassy knoll in the letter Spellings sent to the Governor, and they feel it made them appear "weak." And it's that last part that should worry people the most, because if this vastly Republican body decides to really flex its muscles and make a show of power, the effects on the UNC System could be devastating. In addition to Fetzer, there are a couple more individuals who signed his letter that bear close watching:

Friday News: Standing up for rapists

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BETSY DEVOS TO ROLL BACK TITLE IX PROTECTIONS FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED: The Trump administration intends to rewrite the Obama administration’s directive on handling campus-based sexual assaults, saying the system has failed both victims and the accused, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Thursday. Her stance sets the stage for a dramatic reversal of how Title IX, the 1972 law that bars discrimination based on sex in education, is enforced. "Through intimidation and coercion, the failed system has clearly pushed schools to overreach. With the heavy hand of Washington tipping the balance of her scale, the sad reality is that Lady Justice is not blind on campuses today…," DeVos said. "Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously. Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined."
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article171820582.html

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