DAN FOREST OPENS CAMPAIGN WITH RANTS ON ABORTION, SOCIALISM: On the “born alive” bill, which would have brought new penalties for medical professionals who allow abortion survivors to die, Forest said the law should have been passed. “The governor said we just didn’t need it,” Forest said. “But my take is, if it is not needed, then go ahead and sign it and tell people you stand for life.” Forest’s campaign highlighted anti-abortion viewpoints, indicating he will try to make the topic one of the main points of contention in the 2020 election. While his speech did not directly mention Trump, he said his campaign was committed to supporting the president, who will likely visit the state often in 2020.
WRONGLY CONVICTED MAN WHO SERVED 17 YEARS HAS DIED: A North Carolina man who was wrongfully convicted for murder and imprisoned for 17 years has died. The Innocence Project, a Duke University legal program that helped gain LaMonte Armstrong's freedom, confirmed in a Friday post that Armstrong had died at 69. It did not list a cause of death. Armstrong was convicted seven years after the 1988 killing of Ernestine Compton, but won his freedom in 2012 when evidence emerged showing he was not involved. News outlets report flawed police work may have led to the false conviction.In 2013, Armstrong was issued a state "pardon of innocence" and paid $750,000. He later won $6.42 million from the city of Greensboro. News outlets report Armstrong was a founding member of a nonprofit group to help "all harmed by wrongful convictions."
NC'S DEATH ROW LITTERED WITH RACIAL BIAS CONVICTIONS: Court filings argue that Cumberland County prosecutors improperly used race as a primary factor in choosing Augstine’s jurors. In one case, a potential juror was described in handwritten notes as a “black wino,” and then rejected. Notes for a white juror, who was accepted, read “drinks — country boy — OK.” Next week, the N.C. Supreme Court will consider whether Augustine and three others on Death Row should should have their sentences reduced to life in prison. This reprieve had already been granted to all four of them under the state’s Racial Justice Act, which let prisoners seek relief when they could show racial prejudice in jury selection. But their death sentences were restored when the legislature repealed the law in 2013. Two more Death Row defendants will argue that their cases were tainted by the same racial bias the courts have already found with the other four defendants, and they are requesting a hearing to present that evidence.
NC HAS A MEDIUM TO HIGH RISK OF WATER SHORTAGES IN AQUEDUCT STUDY: The WRI’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas researchers used hydrological models and more than 50 years of data to estimate the typical water supply of 189 countries compared to their demand. The result was a scale of “water stress” — how close a country comes to draining its annual water stores in a typical year. Of course, many years are not typical, and unpredictable weather patterns of a changing climate can have drastic consequences. In areas of high or extremely high water stress, said Betsy Otto, director of WRI’s Global Water Program, "if you then hit a drought ... you’re really in trouble, because you’re already using most of what you have.” The U.S. water picture is far less grim than that of other places. Seventeen countries ranked in the “extremely high stress” category, and they are home to about a quarter of the world’s population.
IN TRUE NARCISSISTIC FASHION, TRUMP CLAIMS WARNINGS OF RECESSION ARE PART OF A CONSPIRACY AGAINST HIM: President Trump, confronting perhaps the most ominous economic signs of his time in office, has unleashed what is by now a familiar response: lashing out at what he believes is a conspiracy of forces arrayed against him. He has insisted that his own handpicked Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, is intentionally acting against him. He has said other countries, including allies, are working to hurt American economic interests. And he has accused the news media of trying to create a recession. “The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election,” Mr. Trump tweeted last week. “The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!” The president’s broadsides follow a long pattern of conspiratorial thinking. He has claimed, without evidence, that undocumented immigrants cast millions of ballots, costing him the popular vote in the 2016 election. During the campaign, he predicted that the system might prove to be “rigged” if he did not win. He conjured up a “deep state” conspiracy within the government to thwart his election and, more recently, his agenda. And he has said reporters are trying to harm him with pictures of empty seats at his rallies.