Republican bigotry

GOP Onslow School Board candidate referenced "ignorant darkies" on Facebook

Jim Crow would be proud:

Eric Whitfield, who was one of four Republican candidates for Onslow County Board of Education to win the party’s nomination in Tuesday’s primary, posted a comment on Facebook that used the term “ignorant darkies” in a reference to black people.

Whitfield’s page has apparently been taken down but a screenshot of the comment has been circulating heavily since Thursday evening. Jacksonville Christian Academy posted on its Facebook page just before midnight Thursday that an employee of the school had been terminated from his job due to a social media statement made.

Okay, aside from the fact this relatively young white dude is trying to resurrect a racial epithet commonly used a hundred years ago, why (in the name of all that's holy) would voters choose a public school board member who works at a private Christian school? Whatever experience he has is somewhere between irrelevant and counterproductive. And before he screwed up and got fired, electing him would have created a massive conflict of interest (destroy public schools, parents choose private schools). Anyway, back to the jaw-dropping racism:

Silent Sam should be persona non grata on UNC campus

Bringing him back just isn't worth the trouble:

The question of what to do with Silent Sam — the Confederate statue that was toppled by protesters at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in August 2018 — just won’t go away.

The university thought it had found an answer in November when it reached an agreement to give the statue to the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and fund a $2.5 million trust to display it somewhere off campus.

Actually, it wasn't the University, it was the GOP-appointed Board of Governors for the entire UNC System. Might seem like I'm nit-picking, but UNC Chapel Hill did not make this deal, would never have given neo-confederates $2.5 Million for any reason, and the failure of this author to make that distinction in the intro to this story paints all UNC grads with the same idiotic brush. Back to the disposition of the distasteful statue:

Silent Sham hearing in progress right now

Joe Killian with the Progressive Pulse is live-Tweeting:

They basically just admitted this thing was rushed to avoid the opposition they knew would surface after the deal was made public. I'll post a few more, but you should jump over to Twitter and follow it:

Silent Sham update: $74,999 went to the Daughters, not the Sons

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And it actually paved the way for the sham lawsuit itself:

Through the SCV, the UNC System directed its $74,999 payment into the hands of Sara Powell, president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy North Carolina Division Inc.

Those funds incentivized Powell to cut her own deal on behalf of the UDC, allowing the SCV to “turn around and sue the (UNC System Board of Governors), so we could settle it and give them $2.5 million,” one person close to the UNC System's board said.

It's like when you detect a suspicious odor in your fridge, and then you discover a container of ancient leftovers hidden behind other stuff. You think it smells bad before you open the lid, but then you're gagging and racing it outside to the trash can. There are so many aspects of this case that stink, but quite possibly the worst one is the effort to avoid/evade scrutiny by the Attorney General's office. The UNC Board of Governors gave away a pile of cash so they would be forced to give away a much bigger pile of cash. Forget the damn statue for a moment; that activity alone is enough to have that Board completely replaced, or at least all the Board members who were involved. But don't expect BergerMoore to lift a finger. And don't expect the Board of Governors to police itself, either:

Memorial Hall on UNC campus under scrutiny for Confederate references

A lot of history in that building, and not all of it is good:

“We have all kinds of plaques in the hallways that remind us of the founders of the University. Some of them are only identified as ‘John Smith, planter,’ and then there are other people who are identified clearly as people who are signers of the original charter, they’re important people,” Moeser said. “But on either side of the proscenium are memorial plaques to the alumni Confederate war dead."

Christina Rodriguez, associate director of marketing and communications for CPA, said at this point, CPA has officially lodged a request through former Chancellor Moeser to move the conversation about the future of the tablets forward.

And of course there's always the question of slave labor used in the construction of these really old buildings, and how many were injured (or killed) during that process.

Soleimani's assassination was a tactical mistake as well as a moral one

But Trump doesn't have the mental capacity to understand that:

Iran’s government faced widespread protests in November over rising prices, with many apparently also outraged by Iran’s foreign spending on interventions in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and other countries while its own economy falters.

More than 300 people were killed in the anti-government protests, according to rights organization Amnesty International. During the violence and in the days that followed, Iranian authorities blocked access to the internet. Soleimani’s killing, however, helped rally the public around the leadership again.

That wasn't the first time Iranian citizens had engaged in widespread protests over economic issues in the last 15-20 years, but it was by far the deadliest. And it may have been the first time foreign interventions by (that's right) Soleimani's Quds Forces have been at the top of their list of complaints. While the government cracked down harshly on these protests, it is somewhere between possible and likely they would have curbed some of those foreign activities to avoid future domestic unrest. Something similar happened with their dockworkers' strike a few years ago. But setting that aside for the moment, it also appears Soleimani was engaged in diplomatic activities on this particular trip, in an effort to ease tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia:

Judge Baddour should recuse himself from Silent Sham case

Because you can't perform oversight of yourself:

The day before Thanksgiving, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) filed a lawsuit against the University of North Carolina over the "Silent Sam" Confederate monument that stood on the Chapel Hill campus before it was torn down last year by anti-racist protesters. Seven minutes later, Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour signed an order settling the case and requiring UNC to give $2.5 million to SCV to build a place to house the statue.

Going out on a limb here, because I am not a lawyer, but: The timeline (of lawsuit filed to order signed) raises some pretty big red flags. In order for the Judge's order to have been "well though-out" with all the T's crossed and I's dotted, he would have to have seen the text of the lawsuit before it was filed. And he would have had to be involved in the scheduling (timing) of the filing, so he could be available to sign off a few minutes later. Nothing wrong with that per se, it happens in civil suits from time to time. But it does demonstrate clearly that Judge Baddour was aware of the potentially huge opposition to such a deal, and the need for it to be taken care of quickly with little or no public exposure. And therein lies the problem, and the Judge's possible conflict of interest moving forward. By denying student and faculty intervention in the case, he has also blocked any "on the record" questions about his own involvement. There is no "adversarial" element in this case, no opposing counsel to present evidence, except what the Judge himself deems relevant. And since a reversal of his order would be an admission he made a mistake previously, the likelihood of that (ideal) outcome is small. Justice cannot survive under those constraints, this case needs fresh eyes.

Trump lover drives truck into Impeachment supporters

An unsettling vision of the future:

Police in Jackson County are investigating a video that shows a counter protester slowly driving his truck into a crowd of people marching to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump earlier this week.

About 100 people turned out in Sylva Tuesday evening to march in favor of impeachment. They were standing outside of the Jackson County Democratic headquarters when a truck began honking to pull into the parking lot - directly through the crowd.

This dude needs to be locked up, at least until he can have a mental assessment done. You can't make it out in the photo, but that's a flag with Trump's head superimposed on Rambo's body. First it was Rocky, now it's Rambo. Trump couldn't make it up ten of those Philadelphia Museum steps before collapsing from a massive coronary. Or stroke. Strokonary...

Did Bob Rucho orchestrate the Silent Sham deal?

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It would come as no big surprise if he did:

In an email dated this February, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans asks for a meeting with UNC Board of Governors member Bob Rucho, but the documents include no other correspondence until November.

That's when the UNC System asked the attorney general's office for approval to retain outside counsel for a possible settlement regarding Silent Sam. Eight days later, the settlement was done, and UNC-Chapel Hill — the campus where the statue once stood — had been told to transfer $2,574,999 to the university system.

I generally refrain from asking questions in headlines (like the above), because it borders on a logical fallacy and can easily drag you into conspiracy theory territory. But I'm also a big fan of Occam's Razor. If the SCV wanted a meeting with Rucho back in February and didn't get it, there would likely have been some follow-up communications shortly thereafter. Since there weren't, we can assume that the meeting took place, or at least some form of communication transpired between the two entities outside of official channels. Another question that needs answering: Why did they pick Bob Rucho to meet with out of the 5 members tasked with solving the problem? I know why they didn't pick Darrel Allison, although he is probably clueless.

SCV members complain about exremist takeover of group

And it's a lot uglier than we thought:

Internal conflict has intensified within the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. since its questionable settlement with the UNC System weeks ago. The settlement accrued the organization ownership of Silent Sam, as well as $2.5 million in UNC System money to fund the Confederate monument’s “preservation and benefit.” Kevin Stone, the state chapter’s commander, called it a “major strategic victory” for the pro-Confederate movement.

But multiple current members of the SCV chapter led by Stone, who spoke to The Daily Tar Heel and were granted anonymity based on personal safety concerns, are taking a far different tone.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts, I just wanted to comment on how very common this situation is, when petty tyrants move into positions of authority. It happens on condo boards, homeowners associations, committees and commissions, and even political party sub-groups (county, caucuses, etc.) These people will inevitably play upon your prejudices, in an effort to create an aura of conflict that doesn't exist (yet), and once placed in power they make that conflict a reality. Needless to say, when you see one of these people, run like the wind. Back to the confederacy of dunces:

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