Silent Sham may cost UNC millions in grant money


The high price of irresponsibility:

UNC-Chapel Hill spokeswoman Kate Luck confirmed late Thursday that the school "is in conversations with the Mellon Foundation, one of our most valued external partners, about their concerns related to the UNC System’s legal settlement regarding the Confederate Monument.”

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is one of the largest charitable foundations in the world and a key funder of academic research. According to its publicly available database, it awarded UNC-Chapel Hill seven Mellon grants over the last three years, totaling more than $7 million​.

It's likely Republicans won't be that concerned over this, because the bulk of the Mellon grants are targeted to the Humanities, as opposed to medical research. But as a former history major myself, I have been following the UNC Humanities for several years now, and this division has contributed greatly to both the culture of NC via the arts, and a much better understanding of the social fabric holding us together. The last thing we need to do is undermine projects like this:

Interstate Crosscheck Dismantled, But Questions Remain

Here’s a story you might have missed with all the hubbub around impeachment, Silent Sham, and redistricting.

Some of you might recall Interstate Crosscheck, the program touted by then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to ferret out so-called voter fraud. The basic idea was that Kobach convinced several states to send him voter data, which his crack Kansas team would comb through for duplicates, showing people voting more than once in different states.

In 2014, then Speaker of the NC House Thom Tillis raised all kinds of alarms about voter fraud and pushed the state to send it’s voter data to Kansas for Kobach’s effort.

Turns out Interstate Crosscheck has been shut down, settling a lawsuit by the ACLU of Kansas. Besides using completely inept and bogus methodology, the voter data was stored on insecure servers and had other security vulnerabilities.

Friday News: It's Primary time


HOLDING'S NOW BLUE CONGRESSIONAL SEAT HAS DEMS LINING UP: Deborah Ross, a former state director of the ACLU and former state legislator, has filed to run for the seat. Ross, who lost the 2016 Senate race to incumbent Republican Richard Burr, represented parts of Wake County in the statehouse from 2003-13. Andrew Terrell, a former Obama administration official who led a UK trade office in Raleigh, has also filed to run in the race. Terrell, 32, would be the state’s first openly LGBT member of Congress. Monika Johnson-Hostler, executive director of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault and a member of the Wake County Board of Education, has filed. Unlike Ross and Terrell, Johnson-Hostler was running before the map was redrawn. Retired Marine Scott Cooper, who raised more than $450,000 for a challenge to Holding, said the new map placed his home in the 4th district, represented by Democrat David Price.

Eastern NC's bond reform is a model for the rest of the state

"Innocent until proven guilty" means nothing when you're behind bars:

Two major changes are in store. The first is magistrates, instead of relying on a set list of bond fees correlating with a certain class of crime, will instead decide bond or no-bond with a flow chart that narrows down whether someone should have a secured bond, or should be released on a promise to appear in court, to another person willing to ensure they show up in court or on an unsecured bond.

The second is Beaufort County's District Court will hold a bond hearing every week to ensure that those charged with minor crimes are not sitting in the county jail solely because they cannot afford bail.

Our criminal justice system has many flaws, but this one threatens the core of our democracy. Pre-trial incarceration, especially for those charged with non-violent crimes, is a direct violation of our Constitutional rights. I say "our" rights because Americans are quick to dismiss the rights of others, but become very interested when the situation gets personal. It is a shameful facet of our society, and one we may grow to regret dearly. I'll let the ACLU explain it more deeply:

Thursday News: One-Term Pat


MCCRORY VS, FOREST IN GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY A POSSIBILITY: With a poll showing him with a double-digit lead in a Republican primary, former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory suggested Wednesday that he’s keeping the door open to running for his old seat. “This is a decision for me and my family,” he told listeners of his morning radio show. McCrory was reacting to a new Civitas Poll that showed him leading Lt. Gov. Dan Forest 42% to 31% among likely GOP primary voters. State Rep. Holly Grange had 3% and 25% were undecided. Forest had $1 million on hand at the end of June, according to a report filed with the State Board of Elections. McCrory’s campaign account showed $69,000. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who narrowly defeated McCrory in 2016, had $5.6 million on hand.


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