Monday News: End the violence

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UNC CHARLOTTE STUDENTS RALLY TO DEMAND ACTION ON GUNS: “In a matter of seconds, my life was changed forever,” she said. “All we wanted was to go to class, but now we’re graduating with PTSD and a deep fear every time we don’t see a clear exit.” The rally, organized by the nonpartisan March for Our Lives and the NAACP, was held to raise awareness of gun violence and call for local, state and national elected officials to enact common-sense gun safety laws. The March for Our Lives agenda advocates, among other things, for funding research and intervention programs to address the root causes of gun violence, universal background checks, bans on high-capacity magazines and semi-automatic assault rifles, and safe storage and mandatory theft reporting laws for gun owners. Saturday’s call to action is for everyone, from gun opponents to gun safety advocates to gun owners, said Margaret Murphy, a sophomore from Holly Springs who is the new director of UNC-Charlotte’s March for Our Lives chapter.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article231556008.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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PRESIDENTIAL CHARACTER, HONESTY MATTER. CONGRESS NEEDS TO ACCOUNT FOR TRUMP: It is painful to watch and listen to President Donald Trump. There seems to be no end to the deception, disrespect, arrogance, meanness and plain old lying. He even says it is OK to take information about his political opponents from foreign governments and not bother to alert the FBI. This has nothing to do with politics or policies. It is all about character and the corruption of core values. Anyone who disagrees or might challenge him, is a “failing dummy.” Trump’s insulting personal denigrations are crude. Trump goes to extraordinary lengths to hide the truth of his own worth, business relationships and even his physical health. Yet he has the gall to make unfounded and veiled accusations about others.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-presidential-character-honesty-matter-congress-needs-to-account-for-t...

If you're reading a Nicholas Sparks novel, you might want to burn it

That message in a bottle is likely to be tainted with hate:

Sparks reportedly wrote in a November 2013 email that “we’ve spent way, way too much time … talking about ‘tolerance, diversity, non-discrimination, and LGBT’ in these first twelve weeks.” Benjamin also claims in the lawsuit that Sparks told him “black students are too poor and can’t do the academic work” asked of the school’s students, A separate November 2013 email from Sparks obtained by The Daily Beast appears to support that claim, with the writer saying the school’s lack of diversity “has nothing to do with racism” but rather “money” and “culture.”

According to Benjamin’s 2014 complaint, Sparks supported a group of students who bullied the school’s LGBTQ students. The former headmaster also alleged that Sparks referred to a school club for LGBTQ students as “the Gay Club” and that two bisexual instructors were threatened with termination when they came forward to support the LGBTQ students.

It's been years, but I've read several of his books, and moderately enjoyed them. Had I known at the time that the money I spent on said books would partially fund such a school, I would have been furious. It's direct connections like this that demonstrate how important it is to be aware of what and who you are funding with your commerce. The days of not caring are over.

Saturday News: Attack on higher ed

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SENATE BUDGET CUTS EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL FUNDING: State Senate budget writers have proposed phasing out $26 million in extra funding that the early colleges receive as part of their mission of providing high school students with access to college courses. School leaders across the state are warning that the loss of the supplemental state funding means some early colleges, especially those in rural communities, won’t have enough money to stay open. “If they’re not going to have the supplemental funding, they’re going to have to scale back dramatically or not be able to continue,” said Elizabeth Yelverton, legal affairs and policy manager for the N.C. Association of School Administrators. “There’s a very good chance that a lot of schools will close without the funding.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article231561948.html

Environmental Injustice: Black children get new school next to Superfund sites

As usual, Lisa Sorg is right on top of the situation:

What a contrast it would be to the current Aberdeen Elementary and Primary schools. Built in the 1940s, when Aberdeen was formally segregated, the schools are cramped, dilapidated and threadbare. They remind teachers, staff and students – most of whom are from communities of color – of enduring inequality. But this land and this school would be different. Better yet, the property was cheap: $9,000 an acre. It was the first and only offer school district administrators considered.

The land was cheap for a reason. It is sandwiched between two Superfund sites where pesticides were dumped for 50 years. It is located next to an industrial area and within a mile of 10 air pollution sources.

The more infuriating part of this is the fact that everybody involved in this decision knew damn well this plot of land was bad news. You'd be hard-pressed to find so many hazardous sites gathered together so densely anywhere else, and if you'll take a glance at that image above, the school is going just above that big red-orange blurp that signifies groundwater tainted with (among other things) TCE. But when it comes to local politics, once the fix is in, it's damned near impossible to convince people to step back:

Friday News: Provenance

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SBOE DELAYS APPROVAL OF NEW VOTING MACHINES UNTIL COMPANY OWNERSHIP IS REVEALED: North Carolina election officials were supposed to certify new voting machines on Thursday for millions of voters to start using in 2020. But they declined to make any decisions, citing uncertainty over who owns the three companies that were seeking approval to sell voting machines here. The state gave them until next week to divulge everyone who owns at least 5 percent of their companies or any parent or subsidiary company. “I believe this follows along with the cyber security concerns we have found in the Mueller report and other documentation that has been furnished to our board,” Robert Cordle, the chairman of the State Board of Elections, said Thursday when the board announced its surprise decision.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article231523978.html

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