Daily dose

Monday News: Suffragette City

WOMEN MARCH ON RALEIGH WITH THE ERA ON THEIR MINDS: Most of Sunday’s event took place in the grassy center of Halifax Mall, where nearly a dozen speakers took the stage, representing a wide range of issues, from healthcare and reproductive rights, to indigenous people’s rights, to pay inequality between men and women. Longtime activist and march organizer Yevonne Brannon said a new generation is ready to pick up the torch for women’s rights. “I think you see a lot of young women who are anxious,” Brannon said at a march event earlier in the week. “They’re willing and ready and want to connect to their world. They’re very frustrated by coming out of high school and entering college, entering the workplace and seeing that we’re still facing many of the things they read about in their U.S. History classes.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/wake-county/article239601663.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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IT'S TIME TO IMPLEMENT SOLUTIONS TO BRING QUALITY EDUCATION TO ALL NC STUDENTS: The order outlines in seven clear – and now indisputable -- points what needs to be done. It also provides a series of deadlines for the state to demonstrate compliance. The first will be two months from now. That will be a month before the opening of the General Assembly’s “short” session. Judge Lee will have the opportunity to determine if the state is moving properly in the agreed-upon direction. Then the General Assembly will need to pass the laws to fulfill the order. And all North Carolinians will be able to watch to see if their legislators provide the means to be sure every child gets access to the quality education our State Constitution is supposed to guarantee. It has been a quarter-century since North Carolina declared that, as the judge put it, “every child in North Carolina have the opportunity to receive a sound basic education in a public school.”
https://www.wral.com/editorial-with-agreement-on-facts-now-implement-solutions-to-bring-quality-educ...

Saturday News: Impaired government, impaired waters

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TRUMP'S EPA ROLLS BACK NC'S WATER PROTECTIONS: Krista Early, who directs Environment North Carolina’s campaigns to protect the state’s waterways and drinking water, said the rollback undoes 50 years of progress. "It strips regulations that have protected our drinking water and our wetlands and our feeder streams throughout the entire nation," Early said. Intermittent streams and isolated wetlands are no longer protected from pollution or development. Yet, Early said, they still feed into the creeks and rivers that become drinking water from many parts of the state. When it rains, the contaminated runoff will lead to more fish kills, chemical spills and toxic algae blooms, she said. "With the weakening of the Waters of the U.S. rule and the Clean Water Act, we are now looking at regulations that have currently been in place in North Carolina no longer being in place, and there’s no way for us to come back from this because our hands are tied," she said.
https://www.wral.com/rollback-of-federal-protections-could-affect-nc-s-drinking-water/18908050/

Friday News: Childish distractions

REPUBLICANS PLAY WITH FIDGET SPINNERS DURING IMPEACHMENT, THANKS TO RICHARD BURR: As senators sat through endless hours of arguments on impeachment, they found a new outlet to focus their attention: fidget spinners. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., handed out the toys to his colleagues before Thursday's trial proceedings began. A fidget spinner is a small toy designed to be spun between the fingers, relieving stress or boredom. The devices and stress balls were on the tables at Burr's "Carolina Cookout" luncheon for senators that included hamburgers, hot dogs, sweet potato fries and ice cream sundaes. Burr was later seen playing with a blue spinner while listening to arguments by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., an impeachment manager. Other senators, including Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., were also seen with spinners on their desks.
https://www.wral.com/trial-highlights-conspiracy-theories-and-fidget-spinners/18905917/

Thursday News: Collective bargaining

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NCAE POLLS MEMBERSHIP ON POTENTIAL TEACHER STRIKE: The NCAE Organize 2020 Racial & Social Justice Caucus is surveying school employees across the state about how many days of work they’re willing to miss to pressure the General Assembly to meet their funding demands. The survey gives options ranging from missing zero days to up to 10 days. The survey is taking place even though it’s against state law for teachers and other public employees to go on strike. Jeffrey Hirsch, professor at the UNC School of Law, cited how teachers in other states with similar bans went on strike and were not punished. If there are any consequences, he said it would be more likely that a North Carolina school district targeted the ringleaders for punishment. “Going after a large group of teachers would be very, very unlikely,” Hirsch said in an interview Wednesday.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article239504518.html

Wednesday News: Demagoguery

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DAN FOREST SAYS PLANNED PARENTHOOD WAS CREATED TO DESTROY BLACK PEOPLE: Community leaders in Raleigh are divided over comments made by Lt. Gov Dan Forest during a speech at a church on Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The Republican candidate for governor took aim at Planned Parenthood, claiming it originated to ‘destroy the entire black race.’ He has made no secret of his Christian beliefs over the years, including his opposition to abortion. Speaking to a group of black ministers in Fayetteville on Monday, he said he was glad the holiday honoring the civil rights leader combined issues of justice with life. "There’s no doubt that, when Planned Parenthood was created, it was created to destroy the entire black race," he said. "That was the purpose of Planned Parenthood. That’s just the truth. That’s not just some bloc on the side. That was the purpose when that organization was created."
https://www.wral.com/raleigh-community-leaders-divided-over-lt-gov-forest-comments-about-planned-par...

Tuesday News: Kabuki Theatre

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MARK MEADOWS PART OF TRUMP TEAM TO DISCREDIT IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES: The White House also announced Monday night that it had assembled a team of eight House Republicans to serve as part of the president’s defense team, including some of his fiercest defenders, like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mark Meadows of North Carolina and John Ratcliffe of Texas. McConnell’s trial rules, which limited each side’s arguments to 24 hours over two days, gave the White House a helping hand at the outset and drew swift anger from Democrats. The rules left open the possibility that the Senate could not only decline to hear new evidence not uncovered in the House impeachment inquiry, but could also sidestep considering the House case against Trump altogether — although such a vote is considered unlikely. “Under this resolution, Sen. McConnell is saying he doesn’t want to hear any of the existing evidence, and he doesn’t want to hear any new evidence,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the minority leader. “It’s a cover-up, and the American people will see it for exactly what it is.”
https://www.wral.com/trump-legal-team-to-ask-senate-for-speedy-acquittal-in-impeachment-trial/18898443/

Monday News: The struggle continues

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VOTING RIGHTS A MAJOR THEME AT MLK JR CELEBRATION: Former Tallahassee Mayor and 2018 Democratic Florida gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum spoke about “the power of the people” and carrying on King’s legacy, particularly through voting. “Our strongest tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and what he fought so hard for... may be the ballot itself,” Gillum said. He said the ballot should be valued as much as the stone monuments, the memorial street names in cities all over America, the holidays and the fire that burns for King in Atlanta, Georgia. “Every day we are fighting in Florida and in Texas and in North Carolina to make the Voting Rights Act mean something,” Gillum said. And the fight will continue as “the other side” tries to strip and suppress that right to vote from groups of people through gerrymandering, rigging elections and targeted voter ID laws.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article239395893.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE $74,999 QUESTION: CAN UNC'S $2.5 MILLION BAD DEAL BE STOPPED? The DTH revelations are raising questions about whether the key party to the deal, Sons of Confederate Veterans, violated tax and campaign spending laws. State Attorney General Josh Stein, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall who oversees non-profits -- along with the state Revenue Department and state Board of Elections, all must look into these serious matters. The rush to approve anything, at any cost, to get rid of the Silent Sam issue has done just the opposite. In fact, Superior Court Judge Allan Baddour, who signed the initial consent judgment and order is reexamining his approval and will be holding a hearing on Feb. 12 to further look into the deal. It is time for the courts and regulators to say enough-is-enough. Terminate the deal. University officials should be ashamed of themselves.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-the-74-999-question-can-unc-s-2-5-million-bad-deal-be-stopped/18884725/

Saturday News: Greenwashing?

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FARM WORKERS' UNION POINTS FINGER AT WHOLE FOODS: “FLOC members faced abusive working conditions, wage theft, threats, and violations of basic health and safety protocols in the tobacco and sweet potato fields of North Carolina, including on farms that supply Whole Foods,” the union said in a press release Thursday. Now it is demanding a meeting with “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store.” Whole Foods, a Texas-based supermarket chain, prides itself on being “the world’s leader in natural and organic foods” and is committed to sustainable agriculture. But in 2019, FLOC said, the grocery store “made a set of commitments it has yet to fully follow through on.” “As the 2020 planting season approaches in the U.S. South, farmworkers, NGO’s and labor unions representing workers in the Whole Foods distribution chain have come together to seek real engagement with Whole Foods,” the release states.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article239397123.html

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