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Friday News: Berger channeling Trump

BERGER'S REFLEXIVE SOCIAL MEDIA BLASTS STIFLE DIALOGUE (Capitol Broadcasting Co. editorial) -- Senate leader Phil Berger should focus on discussing issues and reaching consensus rather than seeking confrontations via social media. Sen. Berger needs to remember that North Carolina voters support Medicaid expansion -- 63 percent -- and increased funding for public schools. Gov. Cooper did not run in a gerrymandered district. He ran statewide. He has not proposed a "massive tax hike" or "massive budget busting." Someone should take Berger's phone away from him. Maybe he would then talk with the governor about his proposals and see what common ground might be found. It is what North Carolina citizens want and expect from their leaders. Sen. Berger knows that.

Thursday News: Zero credibility


BERGER DEMANDS COMPROMISE BUT WON’T PROMISE REPEAL OF HB2 (Policy Watch) – Senate boss Phil Berger is continuing to demand more “compromise” from Democrats if there’s to be any action on HB2 – but won’t say there could be complete repeal. “I think it’s possible for there to be some arrangement to address that issue,” Berger said. “I think it’s going to take compromise on both sides.” The General Assembly failed to repeal the controversial last month in one of several hastily convened extra sessions just before Christmas.

Wednesday News: Calling for the Puppetmaster

Art Pope.jpg

GOP LEADERS ENLIST ART POPE IN FIGHT AGAINST MEDICAID EXPANSION (Winston-Salem Journal) -- As Friday’s hearing in New Bern on expanding the state’s Medicaid program looms, state Republican leaders have enlisted former state budget director Art Pope in their efforts to thwart the initiative. Pope, who served in the McCrory administration, said in a declaration submitted Monday that state money is being used already to advance Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposal. Pope said that Medicaid expansion funds would have to be diverted from projects that were authorized for funds. “They are resources and funds that will be unrecoverable once they are expended,” he said.

Tuesday News: Wishful thinking edition

LOOKING TOWARD BIPARTISAN CONSENSUS IN N.C. POLITICS (Duke U. News) -- In the aftermath of a divisive election, Duke Professor Fritz Mayer opened an inauguration day panel Friday asking, “How do we make North Carolina purple?” The bipartisan panel of political leaders and activists expressed optimism that it would be possible for North Carolinians – and the country – work more across ideological spectrums. Three hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as the United States’ 45th president, Mayer, director of Duke’s Center for Political Leadership, Innovation, and Service (POLIS), moderated a roundtable discussion including NC Senators Tamara Barringer and Dan Blue, Pope Foundation President John Hood, and Rick Glazier, executive director of North Carolina Justice Center.

Monday News: The big question


AFTER MASS TURNOUT, CAN PROTESTS TURN INTO POLITICAL IMPACT? (AP) -- More than a million people turned out Saturday to nationwide demonstrations opposing President Donald Trump’s agenda, a forceful showing that raised liberals’ hopes after the election denied them control of all branches of federal government. Now, the question is whether that energy can be sustained and turned into political impact. Deb Szeman, a self-described “homebody,” had never participated in a demonstration before hopping on an overnight bus from her home in Charlotte, North Carolina, to attend the women’s march on Washington. She returned on another bus that pulled in at 4 a.m. Sunday, full of people buzzing about what might come next and quipping that they would see each other at the next march. “I wouldn’t have spent 18 hours in Washington, D.C., and taken the bus for seven hours both ways if I didn’t believe there was going to be a part two, and three and four and five,” said Szeman, 25, who works at a nonprofit and joined the National Organization for Women after Trump won the White House. “I feel like there’s been an awakening,” she said.

Sunday News: The roar still echoes

DEFIANT VOICES FLOOD U.S. CITIES AS WOMEN RALLY FOR RIGHTS (New York Times) -- On successive days, two parallel and separate Americas were on display in virtually the same location. First there was President Donald Trump’s inauguration, his message of an ailing society he would restore to greatness aimed at the triumphant supporters who thronged Washington on Friday. Then on Saturday, in what amounted to a counterinauguration, the speakers, performers and marchers proclaimed allegiance to a profoundly different vision of the nation. They voiced determination to protect an array of rights that they believe Mr. Trump threatens, and that they thought only recently were secure.

Saturday News: Women march for the future

THOUSANDS OF NORTH CAROLINIANS TO MARCH FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS (WUNC-FM) -- Thousands plan to march in North Carolina for women's rights Saturday. Events in Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh will begin at 10 a.m. and coincide with the Women's March on Washington . That event, expected to draw crowds in the hundreds of thousands, was planned shortly after Donald Trump's presidential victory and takes place during his first official day in office. It has inspired similar marches in hundreds of cities around the country and world.

Friday News: Corrupt to the very end


MCCRORY ORDERED $166,000 PAYOUTS TO DEPARTING CABINET HEADS (Raleigh News & Observer) -- On his way out of office, Gov. Pat McCrory ordered accrued vacation and bonus leave payouts worth about $166,000 to his 10 Cabinet secretaries — money they would not otherwise have been entitled to receive. The top executives were exempt from state personnel regulations, and so were not eligible to receive the payouts under typical circumstances. McCrory on Dec. 29 wrote to the state controller and the interim director of the Office of State Human Resources telling them to send the payouts “as if they were regular state employees,” retroactive to their first day of employment in the exempt position.

Thursday News: We're way past "I'm sorry," dude

HEADLINE, TO PHOTO, FAKE NEWS MASTERPIECE FROM DAVIDSON GRAD (New York Times) -- It was early fall, and Donald J. Trump, behind in the polls, seemed to be preparing a rationale in case a winner like him somehow managed to lose. He was hearing “more and more” about evidence of rigging, he added, leaving the details to his supporters’ imagination. A few weeks later, Cameron Harris, a new Davidson College grad with a fervent interest in Republican politics and a need for cash, sat down at the kitchen table in his apartment to fill in the details Trump had left out. In a dubious art just coming into its prime, this bogus story would be his masterpiece. “I had a theory when I sat down to write it,” recalled Mr. Harris, a 23-year-old former college quarterback and fraternity leader. “Given the severe distrust of the media among Trump supporters, anything that parroted Trump’s talking points people would click."


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