Daily dose

Saturday News: It's Mueller time

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TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE HAS CONCLUDED WITH NO ADDITIONAL INDICTMENTS: With no details released at this point, it's not known whether Mueller's report answers the core questions of his investigation: Did Trump's campaign collude with the Kremlin to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of the celebrity businessman? Also, did Trump take steps later, including by firing his FBI director, to obstruct the probe? All told, Mueller charged 34 people, including the president's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and three Russian companies. Twenty-five Russians were indicted on charges related to election interference, accused either of hacking Democratic email accounts during the campaign or of orchestrating a social media campaign that spread disinformation on the internet. Five Trump aides pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller and a sixth, longtime confidant Roger Stone, is awaiting trial on charges that he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article228303174.html

Friday News: Cracking the whip

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INTERIM PRESIDENT WANTS FIRING POWER OVER UNC PROFS WHO HOLD BACK GRADES: Teachers at UNC schools who intentionally withhold grades — to protest university policies or actions, for example — can be fired, the UNC system’s Board of Governors was told Thursday. Interim UNC President Bill Roper asked Arden to say again whether professors could be fired for withholding grades. Yes, Arden said. “It was threatened, I know that,” Roper said. He said it was frustrating to hear such a threat used because withholding grades “harms a lot of people.” On hearing of the threat last fall, Roper said, it made him think of the adage, “There ought to be a law,” to prevent or punish such willful dereliction of duty.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article228244699.html

Thursday News: Also known as "Lying"

TILLIS BLAMES DEMOCRATS FOR HIS FLIP BEFORE HE FLOPPED: On March 14, Tillis voted to support President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration to circumvent Congress and fund a wall on the southern border. Tillis’ vote received attention across the country, because it came less than a month after he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post that criticized Trump’s decision. On Feb. 25, the Post published Tillis’ letter: “I support Trump’s vision on border security. But I would vote against the emergency.” A Washington Post reporter called Tillis’ vote a “remarkable flip-flop.” WRAL’s editorial staff referred to it as a “flip-flop for the ages.” The Fayetteville Observer’s editorial writers said it was an “Olympic gold flip-flop.” In a fundraising email, the North Carolina Democratic Party said Tillis “says one thing, then does another.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article228170414.html

Wednesday News: Snipe hunting

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RALPH HISE WORRIES STUDENTS WILL STEAL ID PHOTOS OFF THE INTERNET: Rep. David Lewis, a Harnett County Republican who was a key negotiator on the voter ID law, said Tuesday he was interested in changes that would make more student and employee IDs good for voting. However, Sen. Ralph Hise, a Spruce Pine Republican and co-chairman of the Senate Redistricting and Elections Committee, said the voter ID law is fine the way it is. Hise said Tuesday that universities need to verify students’ personal information so matches can be made to elections board data. Only student photos taken by the university or contractor should be suitable for voting purposes to guard against people using fake IDs to vote, he said. “Someone could click a photo on the internet and submit it,” Hise said.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article228137884.html

Tuesday News: Guns, guns, guns

TRUMP-LOVING REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE SPORTS SHOTGUN IN CAMPAIGN AD: One of 17 candidates vying for the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District special election will begin airing television ads in the Greenville market Tuesday. In the ad, Eric Rouse, a Lenoir County commissioner, is seen skeet shooting — hitting clays with Democratic priorities like the Green New Deal written on them in the 30-second ad. It closes with Rouse cocking a gun and vowing to have President Donald Trump’s back if elected. Rouse is among 26 candidates running to replace Republican Rep. Walter Jones, who died on Feb. 10. Jones, who represented the district since 1995, voted with Trump just 49.3 percent of the time, the lowest of any Republican representative, according to FiveThirtyEight.com. The primary is April 30 in the district that includes parts or all of 17 counties in Eastern North Carolina.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article228096429.html

Monday News: Rape culture

LESS THAN 1 IN 4 SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES END IN CONVICTION: Fewer than one in four defendants charged with sexual assault in North Carolina can expect to be convicted of that charge or a related reduced charge, and some parts of the state generate few if any sexual assault convictions, according to Carolina Public Press’ analysis of state court data. The picture is not universal. A few counties have conviction levels well above the state average. But in 38 counties, there were no recorded convictions at all during the 4½ years included in the analysis, not even on plea deals reducing original sexual assault charges to lesser offenses. The analysis specifically examined rape charges involving threats, force, intimidation or an incapacitated person. Defendants at times pleaded guilty to some separate charge, such as possession of a firearm by a felon or sexual battery, a misdemeanor.
https://carolinapublicpress.org/28695/analysis-nc-convicts-fewer-than-1-in-4-sexual-assault-defendants/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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COOPER'S BUDGET PUTS PUBLIC EDUCATION ON RIGHT TRACK: Teacher pay isn’t the only, the best or even most significant, marker for support for education. Cuts force teachers to turn to online fundraising or dig into their own pockets for basic classroom supplies. There’s a shortage of school nurses, guidance counselors and psychologists. Classrooms are badly in need of technology upgrades. Too many school buildings desperately need repairs and renovations. In many growing areas there simply aren’t enough classrooms to house students. Responding by providing pay bonuses to teachers who get trained and carry firearms in their classrooms – as proposed by state Sen. Ralph Hise of Mitchell County and backed by key Senate leaders – is a cynical, token and dangerous gesture.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-cooper-s-budget-puts-public-education-on-right-track/18253984/

Saturday News: Too many hurdles

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12 UNC SYSTEM SCHOOLS MISS DEADLINE ON VOTER ID REQUIREMENTS: Student IDs from a dozen University of North Carolina schools, including UNC-Chapel Hill, didn't get the signoff they needed Friday for students to use them at the polls during the 2020 elections. With a deadline in state law passing, it's up to the General Assembly to act, or these IDs won't satisfy the state's new voter ID law next year. The problem for most of the universities: They let students provide pictures for their own IDs. A law passed after voters approved a constitutional amendment in November requiring photo identification at the polls requires universities to take those pictures themselves or to have a contractor do it. Campus-by-campus practices also vary on Social Security numbers and other key identifiers, leaving some schools out of step with the law.
https://www.wral.com/no-voter-id-approval-for-12-unc-campuses-including-chapel-hill/18263233/

Friday News: Anti-immigrant fervor

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HOUSE REPUBLICANS WANT TO FORCE SHERIFFS TO COOPERATE WITH ICE: In addition to no longer letting sheriffs decide whether to work with ICE, the bill would also increase the number of people who have their immigration status checked when arrested. State law currently instructs officials to check the immigration status of anyone charged with a felony or a DUI. But this new bill would make them check the immigration status of anyone charged with any crime. Birdsong said that could end up being costly for local governments who hadn’t budgeted for the additional jail population this bill would create. The bill is also an example of an over-reaching big government, she said. “What you see in this bill is a thwarting of local officials making decisions on how to keep their communities safe, and also a thwarting of the will of the people,” Birdsong said. “People voted for these sheriffs for a reason.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article227760179.html

Thursday News: Failure to act

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FBI KNEW ABOUT MCCRAE DOWLESS AS EARLY AS MAY 2018: The search warrants also show state officials have worked actively with the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section out of Washington, D.C., on the investigation since at least May 2018. That's when FBI Special Agent James Kaylor conducted surveillance on Dowless while he met with people outside a Bladenboro gas station where one of the CashPoints ATMs was located, according an affidavit filed with the search warrant. In October, Kaylor also accompanied an agent with the State Bureau of Investigation during an interview with Tonia Gordon, one of the Dowless associates charged last month. Kaylor is listed as the point of contact in DOJ subpoenas revealed earlier this week that demand records from the State Board of Elections, Dowless and Republican Mark Harris, who hired Dowless during his Congressional run in the 9th District.
https://www.wral.com/unsealed-warrants-show-fbi-probed-9th-district-issues-before-18-election/18238855/

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