Daily dose

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


LEGISLATORS RUDENESS TO COOPER NOMINEES IS ALSO AN INSULT TO VOTERS: The North Carolina General Assembly is infected with a culture of secrecy, special-interest backroom deals and a disrespectful lack of transparency and candor with the state’s citizens. The blame rests squarely with Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore. They need to cease and desist. Lest anyone doubt it, look no further than the handling of Gov. Roy Cooper’s nominees for the State Board of Education, the state Industrial Commission and a state Superior Court special judgeship. All were eminently qualified. None had a hint of any concerns in their background that would have made them unfit for service. Senate President Phil Berger, following the session told reporters simply: "We're supposed to be more than a rubber stamp." The reality is that without any discussion, that’s what Berger, Moore and the rest of the majority in the General Assembly amount to –simply thoughtless and reflexive.

Saturday News: Act your age


NC GOP CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CHASTISED BY JUDGE OVER POOR PARENTING: Steve Von Loor, the Republican nominee challenging Democratic 4th District Congressman David Price, claimed that A.J. Robey was harassing him and making him afraid for his safety. He claims Robey has a collection of "assault knives" and has thrown rocks at his car. Meanwhile, Robey claimed the opposite was true, accusing Von Loor of threatening behavior toward Maria Robey, who divorced Von Loor in 2010. He wanted a court order to keep Von Loor away from his home. Wake County District Judge Dan Nagle threw out both claims, saying they didn't rise to the level of severity the law requires for protective orders. He also gave both men, who have engaged in an acrimonious back-and-forth on social media in recent weeks, and their wives a lecture about their parenting skills, telling them to start acting like adults. "Custody and visitation should be about the children, but now it's turned into something else, and it's having a bad effect on the children," Nagle said.

Friday News: Barefoot and pregnant

GOP CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE MARK HARRIS SAY WOMEN SHOULDN'T TRY TO BE INDEPENDENT: Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris, a former Baptist pastor, once delivered a sermon questioning whether a career was the "healthiest pursuit" for women. n the sermon, Harris, then pastor of Charlotte's First Baptist Church, spoke about "God's plan for biblical womanhood" and barriers to it. "In our culture today, girls are taught from grade school . . . that what is most honorable in life is a career, and their ultimate goal in life is simply to be able to grow up and be independent of anyone or anything," he said. "But nobody has seemed to ask the question that I think is critically important to ask: Is that a healthy pursuit for society? Is that the healthiest pursuit for our homes? . . . Is that the healthiest pursuit for the sexes in our generation?"

Thursday News: It runs in the family

GOP CLAIMS WHITE SUPREMACIST PRIMARY WINNER CONCEALED HIS BIGOTRY FROM VOTERS: Current and former party officials say Russ Walker's rhetoric on race, religion and white supremacy wasn't part of the campaign. That came out later, when a website called christdescendedfromjoseph.com was tied back to him. Walker's pitch during his one joint appearance with fellow candidate John Imbaratto had more to do with the lawsuits he's filed over the years and the health effects of canned soda, Imbaratto said. He didn't mentioned God being a racist or Jews being the "children of Satan," themes he hits heavily online. There were signs, though. Literally. Walker protested The News-Journal, a local newspaper in Raeford, in January with a sign that said "God is a Racist." He had sued the paper over its refusal to print his letters, the newspaper reported Tuesday. Walker's campaign website, walkerforhouse48.com, is long and text heavy. It runs about 1,200 words before mentioning "the Jews."

Wednesday News: The bus is empty


TUSSLE CONTINUES BETWEEN BOARD OF EDUCATION AND JOHNSON OVER CONTROL OF DPI: The fight over who is running North Carolina's public schools remains unsettled, with both the State Board of Education and Superintendent Mark Johnson insisting they're in charge. Both sides claimed victory in a state Supreme Court decision released in June that upheld a 2016 state law transferring some of the state board's powers to Johnson. In a statement released Monday night, state board chairman Bill Cobey accused Johnson of overstepping the court decision by working with legislators to pass a new law in June that strips the board of power to oversee the state's public schools. Despite the new law, Cobey says the board will continue to pass rules and regulations that govern Johnson's ability to run the state Department of Public Instruction.

Tuesday News: Pay attention, NCGA

NC "INFLUENCERS" CALL FOR BETTER FUNDING OF NC SCHOOLS: Public schools need to receive adequate funding to ensure the continued health of North Carolina, according to a new survey of some of the state's most influential leaders. A group of 60 North Carolina Influencers — comprised of leaders in the state’s political, business, academic and faith communities — were asked about the importance of 14 different education topics. Nearly all the Influencers listed adequate funding as being very important, saying that taking care of that issue would help solve a variety of other problems affecting the state's K-12 education system. "While many of these issues are very important, adequate funding is the most important," said Pamela Davies, president of Queens University of Charlotte. "If NC was funding K-12 education appropriately, many deficiencies in our system, including teacher pay and Pre-K, could be addressed."

Monday News: The smell of victory


JURY AWARDS $25 MILLION TO HOG FARM NEIGHBORS: A North Carolina jury has awarded more than $25 million to a couple in the eastern part of the state who filed a nuisance lawsuit against Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, for the swarms of flies, stench, rumbling trucks and other downsides of the hog farm next door. The verdict came on Friday after the jury deliberated for three days behind closed doors. It is the second verdict for hog farm neighbors in a series filed against Smithfield Foods. The decision also comes in a week in which North Carolina lawmakers adopted a new Farm Act that restricts when and how neighbors can bring such claims in court in the future. North Carolina has about 9 million hogs on nearly 2,300 hog farm operations. Iowa is the only state with more hogs, showing an inventory of about 21.8 million in 2017.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


VOTERS NEED TO REJECT RUSHED, FATALLY-FLAWED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS: The people of North Carolina have learned very little about what is really in the unprecedented bundle of proposed amendments to the State Constitution. It’s not their fault. The little that is known gives every voter good reason to oppose these amendments and reject each one when they go to the polls in November. The fatal flaws are significant and strike at the fundamentals our Constitution is supposed to uphold. The amendments were concocted in secret. There’s been too little time for public examination, distribution of information and debate of changes that carry such permanence. Amendment advocates have been deceitful and dishonest. The Constitution is not a playground for partisan manipulation. Vote against all of the amendments and the legislators who pushed them. November can’t come soon enough.

Saturday News: Lame duck dynasty


FEARING LOSS OF POWER, REPUBLICANS PLAN NOVEMBER SESSION FOR SHENANIGANS: "We want to have the option of coming back – assuming that these constitutional amendments pass – if we need to adopt legislation along those lines, to consider that, plus as well as things that may come up between now and then," said Moore, R-Cleveland. "So we have a date to reconvene. Who knows if we’ll do anything at that period of time?" Moore mused, "but the consensus was to go ahead and put that date on there and then we’ll come back at that point." Asked the same question, Rep. Robert Reives, D-Chatham, was more pointed. "I think what is clear is this: There seems to be a belief that there may be some change in the election in November, and they want to have an opportunity in November to push through legislation that there’ll be no way on earth they'll get pushed through in January 2019," Reives said.

Friday News: Partisan hackery


LEGISLATIVE REPUBLICANS BLOCK SEVERAL COOPER APPOINTMENTS: Legislative Republicans turned back a number of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's appointments Thursday, giving little reason for the opposition in a couple of cases. Cooper's three State Board of Education appointments had been pending more than a year, a running source of friction between the administration and the GOP-controlled legislature. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said the Cooper administration didn't consult legislators before naming his appointees, a misstep that "bothered a number of people." Democrats said it sounded like partisan politics to them. The governor's office pointed out that the legislature confirmed people from Gov. Pat McCrory's administration to similar positions in the past, including his chief of staff's wife, who was appointed to the Industrial Commission two weeks before McCrory left office.


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