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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


INDEPENDENT REPORTING IS A BEDROCK OF DEMOCRACY, NOT "FAKE NEWS": These days when a president utters out-and-out falsehoods, the reporting that identifies the errors, verifies the accurate information and seeks to correct the record, is condemned and labeled “fake news.” News you do not like is not “fake news.” Not liking something; being embarrassed or uncomfortable at being held accountable, doesn’t make REAL news anything less. The first obligation of journalists is to be fair to the facts – and making sure they are presented accurately, transparently and so citizens understand them. Independent news reporting is a bedrock value of American democracy. For those who don’t like it, stop calling it “fake news.” It is nothing of the sort. Rather than fighting those shedding light on falsehoods, it would be better to foster a closer relationship with the truth.

Saturday News: Twitter to the rescue?

NEW BERN DEVASTATED BY STORM SURGE FROM FLORENCE BACKING UP RIVERS: An ominous tweet appeared on a historic North Carolina community's Twitter feed about 2 a.m. Friday. It came as rivers swelled, tides crested and the rain wouldn't stop. And that's when people found themselves trapped in their homes as the water rose. "WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU," the tweet said. "You may need to move up to the second story, or to your attic, but WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU." The city of about 29,000, which was founded in the early 1700s and was briefly the state capital, is near the North Carolina coast and is bordered on the east and south, respectively, by two rivers. When Florence started battering eastern North Carolina with record rainfall, the Neuse and Trent rivers began to swell — and combined with high tide, made for dangerous flooding. Roberts, the city spokeswoman, said preliminary estimates show about 4,300 residences and 300 commercial buildings had been damaged. She said that count is expected to increase significantly.

Friday News: Gee, thanks

ICE PROMISES NOT TO ROUND UP IMMIGRANTS FLEEING FROM FLORENCE: Immigrants in North Carolina and South Carolina shouldn’t worry about being arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as they evacuate their homes or at the emergency shelters, an ICE spokesperson said Wednesday. Bryan Cox, spokesperson for ICE in the southern region, said everyone should follow local evacuation orders during Hurricane Florence. “Our highest priority remains the preservation of life and safety,” Cox said in an email. “In consideration of these circumstances, there will be no immigration enforcement initiatives associated with evacuations or sheltering related to Florence, except in the event of a serious public safety threat.” Hurricane Florence has forced more than 1 million residents in the Carolinas and Virginia to evacuate their homes.

Thursday News: Here we go again...


GOP CONTEMPLATES SPECIAL SESSION AFTER HURRICANE FLORENCE: Both Bell and Senate Finance Chairman Harry Brown said a session would deal only with disaster relief. The Republican majority that controls the General Assembly has a history, though, of dropping surprise legislation into special legislative sessions. They came back into session in December 2016 to pass some $200 million in disaster relief for Hurricane Matthew, then also passed legislation limiting incoming Gov. Roy Cooper's powers. This time, "if we come back into session, it will be for disaster recovery only," said Bell, R-Wayne. Brown, R-Onslow, said he couldn't think of anything else the legislature would take up. “I would think [disaster relief] would be the only thing," he said. The General Assembly already plans to come back into session after Thanksgiving to flesh out implementation language for any constitutional amendments that pass during the Nov. 6 elections.

Wednesday News: Not-so-deep state


MARK MEADOWS DEVELOPS CONSPIRACY THEORIES TO PROTECT TRUMP: On Sept. 5, a week after a closed-door interview between Ohr and the House Oversight Committee, Meadows sent a letter asking the Justice Department to review Ohr’s contacts with Steele. But even before that request, Meadows was floating a theory for his supporters to consider. “Here are some key facts you need to know about Bruce Ohr to understand why he is important to our investigation,” Meadows wrote in an email newsletter. “Bruce Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS — which was the firm hired by the Clinton campaign to write the dossier. Bruce Ohr gave the dossier to the FBI. The FBI then used the same dossier to spy on the Trump campaign.” But as PolitiFact noted in a fact-check of conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt about Jordan’s theory, there is no evidence that Nellie Ohr personally routed the dossier to the Justice Department.

Tuesday News: McCrory jumps on Marsy bandwagon


HIS FINELY-TUNED SENSE OF SMELL DETECTED THE $5 MILLION CAMPAIGN BUDGET: In what could be North Carolina’s most expensive single campaign of the fall, former Gov. Pat McCrory Monday helped kick off the effort to pass a constitutional amendment designed to ensure the rights of crime victims. “Victims too often feel abandoned and we need to give them a voice,” McCrory told reporters in Charlotte. A simultaneous news conference took place at Raleigh’s Crime Victims’ Memorial Garden. Speakers there included former Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby. Critics question the need for the amendment as well as its potential cost. “What’s most disturbing about it is it really crashes head-on with the presumption of innocence,” said Drew Findling, president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. “The presumption of innocence is abandoned when you immediately take the position that there is a victim of a crime.”

Monday News: Police state


GROUPS AGAIN CLASH OVER SILENT SAM, EIGHT ARRESTED: Once the students and members of the New Confederate States of America were both on campus, the groups began yelling back and forth, as those in opposition to the return of the “Silent Sam” statue yelled “Nazis go home" and threatened to pull the statue down again if it returns to campus. Video from the scene showed that the two groups were being kept away from each other with barricades. After about an hour, the members of the New Confederate States of America were willingly escorted off campus by police and the situation escalated as the group of anti-"Silent Sam" demonstrators turned on police, upset that law enforcement protected a group they believe stands for hate. Police from Durham, Chapel Hill and Greensboro held the crowd back as they pushed through and a line of bicycles was used to keep students back.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


NORTH CAROLINA'S BRAND SHOULDN'T BE HOMAGE TO FALSE PAST: Headed east on Hillsborough Street toward the state Capitol, the view dominated by a 75-foot-tall monument – commemorating “Our Confederate dead … First at Bethel, Last at Appomattox.” It was dedicated May 20, 1895 and unveiled by Julia Jackson Christian, granddaughter of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. It is a relic to what should be a time gone by -- part of the Jim Crow-era propaganda campaign to cloud the realities of defeat in the Civil War. As significant, it was a daily reminder to the freed African-American population that they remained second-class with rights and privileges still subject to those white men wanted to grant. Is our first message to visitors; “Welcome to North Carolina. We were part of the Confederacy”?

Saturday News: Canceled fishing expedition


AG JOSH STEIN STANDS UP TO U.S. ATTORNEY'S OVERREACH ON VOTING RECORDS SUBPOENA: Stein, in a letter to the U.S. attorney’s office, asked the office to withdraw the subpoenas and issue new ones “that are appropriately tailored to documents relevant to your inquiry.” Stein said if the matter is not resolved by Monday, Sept. 10, “we will have no option but to request judicial relief.” The subpoena requested from the state board all voter registration applications, federal write-in absentee ballots, federal post card applications, early-voting application forms, provisional voting forms, absentee ballot request forms, all “admission or denial of non-citizen return forms,” and all voter registration cancellation or revocation forms from Jan. 1, 2010 through Aug. 30, 2018. More than 15 million documents would have to be turned over, said Andy Penry, the chairman of the state board.

Friday News: Small comfort


EASTERN DISTRICT EXTENDS DEADLINE FOR VOTER RECORDS TO JANUARY: North Carolina’s state board of elections and 44 counties will not have to turn over voting records until after the November elections and will be able to redact any information on how someone voted, an assistant U.S. attorney said in a letter to the state board on Thursday.The letter comes less than a week after a federal prosecutor’s office, at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, subpoenaed extensive voting records from the state board of elections and the board of elections from 44 counties, including Wake, in the eastern part of the state. They demanded the records, including state records on all 100 counties, by Sept. 25. The state board said its subpoenas would encompass more than 15 million documents, while the county subpoenas would produce more than 2.3 million ballots “traceable” to a voter, causing alarm among interest groups, members of Congress and voters.


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