Wednesday News: Another one bites the dust

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PITTSBORO CONFEDERATE STATUE TAKEN DOWN OVERNIGHT: The Confederate monument outside the Chatham County courthouse was taken down overnight, with crews removing the base early Wednesday. About 50 people who supported and opposed the monument gathered in downtown Pittsboro as the work began Tuesday night. The statue was taken off its base around 2 a.m. Wednesday, and the base was removed around 5:30 a.m. “It’s heartbreaking,” Robert Butler, a supporter of the monument, said as crews worked overnight. “A statue’s never hurt a soul, just like a grave memorial. Do they hurt anybody?” Anderson Ritter disagreed. “It represents stuff that never really should have happened, and it kind of memorializes and makes it seem good,” Ritter said. “I and other people don’t agree with that.”
https://www.wral.com/confederate-monument-is-removed-from-downtown-pittsboro/18779547/

Tuesday News: Love wins over Hate

GREENSBORO COLLEGE STUDENTS STAND AGAINST WESTBORO BAPTIST BIGOTS: Three Westboro Baptist protesters stood with signs at South Josephine Boyd Street and Spring Garden Street, on the sidewalk in front of a Walgreens drug store and across from the UNCG campus. A crowd of several hundred UNCG students and other counterprotesters occupied the other three corners. University and Greensboro police were on all four. Police surrounded the Westboro protesters, who weren’t approached during their vigil. Counterprotesters waved rainbow-colored signs and umbrellas and passed out rainbow-colored stickers. They sang "Let it Shine" and "We Shall Overcome," accompanied by a UNCG student on a four-string hybrid instrument known as a banjolele. An ad-hoc brass band of about a dozen students warmed up with scales, then launched into "Let's Go Band" ("Bum bum bum bun-um ..."), "Jingle Bells" and snippets of other pop and pep band tones. The crowd, which grew as the counterprotest continued, clapped and cheered every few minutes whenever a passing motorist honked.
https://www.greensboro.com/news/local_news/rabid-hate-group-westboro-baptist-came-to-greensboro-so-d...

Tuesday Twitter roundup

It's always something with these guys;

Just like Trump, make the deal and then refuse to pay your bills until some court makes you do it.

Two-Faced Tillis and the desperate love affair with Trump

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His post-op recovery after having his spine removed is not going well:

Take Trump’s suggestion to investigate Joe Biden in a phone call with the Ukrainian president. Some GOP senators call it inappropriate but not impeachable; other at-risk incumbents have struggled with the query. It’s the central question of Trump’s impeachment inquiry.

Tillis sides firmly with Trump: “Would I have done it? I don’t know because I’m not the president, and I haven’t been pursued relentlessly for three years.”

He can't even say that he wouldn't pull the same stunt as Trump. That stunt being misusing his power to bribe a foreign leader into helping him dig up dirt on a political opponent. Withholding military funding that was approved and directed by Congress, no less, merely for personal gain. And Tillis can't (or won't) say that he wouldn't do that himself. File that away for next year's General Election, just in case Tillis does survive the GOP Primary:

Monday News: Escalation

VIOLENCE BREAKS OUT IN PITTSBORO OVER CONFEDERATE STATUE: The arrests began late Saturday morning, when police took away two men in handcuffs after a fight on East Street next to the traffic circle that surrounds the statue and the Chatham County Historic Courthouse at the center of town. Chatham County sheriff’s deputies and Pittsboro police shut down that section of the street to traffic for roughly 30 minutes. Allan Wayne Hall, 52, was charged with inciting a riot and simple affray, while Calvin James Megginson, 29, was charged with simple assault, according to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office. A third man, Robert Butler, 63, was also arrested and charged with inciting a riot, the sheriff’s office said. All three men live in Pittsboro.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/chatham-county/article237438204.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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EDUCATORS BACK COOPER'S PAY RAISE VETO, LAWMAKERS MUST DO BETTER: Under the bill, teachers with 0-15 years experience would not have received any raise this year. Teachers with 16-20 years would see only $50 more a month before taxes. Teachers from 21-24 years of experience would get $150 more a month, while our most dedicated veterans with 25 years or higher would have salaries raised $60 a month. For school year 2020-21, teachers with 0-15 years would again get nothing, and teachers with 16 years or more would all get another $50 a month. As bad as this deal would have been for teachers, it would have been downright insulting for our non-certified staff and retirees. The vetoed legislation provided no cost of living adjustment for retired educators and would have increased pay for bus drivers, cafeteria employees, custodians and other classified employees by just $15-20 a month.
https://www.wral.com/justin-parmenter-educators-back-cooper-s-pay-raise-veto-lawmakers-must-do-bette...

Filing begins for 2020 Legislative races in two weeks

Last year Democrats broke the GOP's supermajority in both houses of the General Assembly, and Democrats also fielded candidates in all 170 contests. How much the latter contributed to the former might be a subject for debate, but we would be foolish to write it off as a coincidence. Having a full slate of candidates changed the dynamic, and it also served to provide every Democrat in the state with General Assembly candidates to vote for. It was a monumental task, to be sure, but we can do it again. Follow this link to a WRAL story of the new Legislative districts, where you will find interactive maps for both the House and the Senate. p.s. I would recommend an "outside in" approach to candidate recruitment, putting effort into finding good candidates in the hard-to-find, mostly rural districts first.

Saturday News: $6.5 Million wasted

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GENERAL ASSEMBLY SESSION FINALLY ENDS, WITH LITTLE ACCOMPLISHED: The second-longest legislative session in North Carolina history has finally ended, but it likely will be remembered for what was left undone rather than what was accomplished. Lawmakers adjourned Friday after adopting a new congressional district map and filling a vacancy on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. The map, which still must be approved by a state court, passed along party lines after much Democratic complaining that it was still too partisan. The 2019 session lasted 156 days, trailing only the 179-day session in 2001. It cost state taxpayers at least $6.5 million, and for all of that money, no state budget was passed, teachers didn't get raises, Medicaid wasn't expanded and even plans to shift Medicaid to a managed care system could be in jeopardy.
https://www.wral.com/friday-wrap-long-session-finally-ends-with-final-map-redraw-but-much-left-undon...

Does Gannett merger signal the death of local journalism?

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Being a little fish in a big pond usually means you get eaten:

The deal would combine the country’s two largest newspaper chains, with more than 260 daily papers, and hundreds more websites and community and weekly papers in 47 states. The new company, to be called Gannett even though New Media is the acquirer, would have a daily print circulation of 8.7 million, dwarfing the next largest chain, McClatchy, with daily circulation of 1.7 million. McClatchy owns The News & Observer of Raleigh and The Charlotte Observer.

The companies say the advantages of size and reach will attract more digital advertisers and save expenses by eliminating operations deemed redundant or expendable, helping to offset a two-decade slide in revenue from print advertising and subscriptions, which has imperiled the industry.

Bolding mine, because I'm pretty sure that's the exact same wording Berkshire Hathaway used just before cutting the Greensboro News & Record staff down to a skeleton crew. Admittedly, it's real easy for people like me to grouse about the erosion of investigative journalism, since I don't have to solve the financial problems that brought this about. But I am currently subscribing (paying) for 4 different news outlets, so I'm kinda doing my part. Needless to say, the journalists' unions are not happy about this:

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