Charter school foxes in the public school henhouse


Mark Johnson has just proven he's nothing but a shill:

Johnson touted Maimone’s background with the charter school in his announcement Friday, pointing out that he led the school as it grew from 110 students in grades 7-9 in 1999 to about 1,300 students in grades K-12 today. The superintendent’s announcement said students “thrived” at Maimone’s school.

The charter earned a “B” performance grade and did not meet growth expectations on its 2016-2017 assessments, according to the most recent state report available. The school serves a decidedly different population than many typical public schools, however, with just 7.5 percent of its students considered “economically disadvantaged.” Traditional school supporters have often pointed out that the state’s growing charter sector serves a more affluent population.

Aside from being completely in the thrall of the school choice crowd, Johnson may have just hired somebody who's keeping a dark secret:


My wife Jane wants to talk about the Kavanaugh clusterfuck, and I feel obliged to hear her out. She's trying to make sense of something that is hideously unfair and grotesque. I know I can't help, but I listen. It's heart-breaking in every way.

Robeson County Commissioners face lawsuit over pipeline permitting

Holding a sham hearing when you've already made up your mind:

During a quasi-judicial hearing in August 2017, the eight-member commission voted unanimously to grant a Conditional Use Permit to ACP, LLC to construct the facility on land previously zoned as agricultural. But the rules governing quasi-judicial hearings, which much like a trial include sworn testimony and evidence, are strict and clearly laid out in state statute.

And in deciding on special permits, the governing board, in this case the Robeson County Commission, can’t have a “fixed opinion” on the issue before hearing all of the evidence. To do otherwise would be akin to a judge or jury issuing a verdict before a trial even began. But as court documents show, the commissioners strongly supported the ACP long before they were confronted with the decision to issue a special permit for the station and tower.

I've had to "preside" over a few of these quasi-judicial hearings myself, and you have to watch every step you take. In this particular case, what they said in the weeks or months before the hearing will (likely) not be nearly as important as the procedural process itself. If they crossed their t's and dotted their i's, and if the applicant's testimony was not obviously incorrect or deceptive, the Commissioners will probably skate on this lawsuit. And even this "ex parte" allegation may not have the teeth the complainants think it does:

Friday News: The company you keep

NC REPUBLICANS WHO SUPPORT KAVANAUGH ENTER HALL OF SHAME: North Carolina Democrats and activists went on the offensive against Republicans for not opposing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The state Democratic party launched online ads Thursday targeting GOP state legislators who signed an open letter last month supporting Kavanaugh. The ads target suburban districts seen as vulnerable in November's legislative elections. During a U.S. Senate hearing, Kavanaugh again denied he sexually assaulted a woman while they were high school students. The North Carolina chapter of the National Organization for Women, NARAL Pro-Choice NC and other advocacy groups led demonstrations against the state's two Republican U.S. senators through rallies in three different cities.

First in Torture? NC's deep involvement in extraordinary renditions

Flying the not-so-friendly skies:

According to testimony provided to the Commission, “research shows conclusively that aircraft operated by Aero Contractors played a central role in the CIA torture program. 200 From 2001 until 2004, Aero Contractors operated two aircraft owned by a series of CIA shell companies — a 737 Boeing Business Jet originally numbered N313P and a Gulfstream V originally numbered N379P — on behalf of the CIA. 201 Aero Contractors utilized two airports in North Carolina for these purposes: Johnston County Airport (JNX) in Smithfield, N.C. for N379P 202 and Kinston Regional Jetport at the state-run Global TransPark for N313P. 203.

Aero Contractors was formed on September 28, 1979. 206 It is incorporated in Delaware as a “[c]ontract aviation services” business, 207 and its filings with the North Carolina Department of State list four corporate addresses in Smithfield, North Carolina. 208 Its founder was Jim Rhyne, “a legendary C.I.A. officer and chief pilot for Air America, the agency’s Vietnam-era air company.” 209 Aero Contractors’ involvement in clandestine transfer of individuals pre-dated 9/11, as the company operated rendition flights in the 1990s for the U.S. government. 210.

I left those footnote numbers in there for a reason. This is an insanely well-researched report, and should not be dismissed out-of-hand. I would also be remiss if I didn't remind readers that Air America engaged in numerous criminal activities during the Vietnam War, including drug-running in order to help finance their operations. Back to the report:

Wrongfully imprisoned, then ripped off by their lawyer

The system has failed them at every turn:

A Florida lawyer defrauded, deceived and embezzled funds from two mentally disabled clients who were declared innocent after spending 31 years in prison, according to a complaint filed Wednesday by the North Carolina State Bar. Henry McCollum and his half-brother, Leon Brown, were exonerated in 2014 after serving decades in prison for the notorious rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. They received $750,000 each from the state in compensation.

The North Carolina State Bar charged that Orlando lawyer Patrick Megaro took excessive fees when he pocketed a third of each award despite having done virtually no work on their exonerations or compensation cases. The complaint lists 16 separate ethical violations. Megaro allegedly lied to federal and state judges, double-billed his clients and misused trust funds.

Not only does this case exemplify the mistreatment of African--Americans in our criminal justice system, it also exposes the disgusting fear-mongering Republicans thrive on during campaign season:

Thursday News: Frat boys stick together


IGNORING THE VICTIMS, RICHARD BURR PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR KAVANAUGH: "Democrats made it clear they would stop at nothing to block President Trump’s Supreme Court pick before Judge Kavanaugh was even chosen as the nominee. President Trump has every right to nominate the individual of his choosing to the Supreme Court, and the Senate should go through the normal advice-and-consent process, as it has done for the last 12 weeks," Burr said in a statement. "Immediately following the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing, the Senate Judiciary Committee should vote up or down on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. I intend to support Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination when it comes before the full Senate." WRAL News asked Burr spokeswoman Caitlin Carroll whether his support could change if unfavorable evidence against Kavanaugh were to come out in the committee hearing. "He intends to support Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination in the full Senate," Carroll responded.


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