Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


FARR'S NOMINATION MAKES THE WRONG STATEMENT: From 2009 through 2016 two highly qualified African-American women -- Jennifer May-Parker and Patricia Timmons-Goodson – were nominated to fill the judgeship. Sen. But they were NEVER even considered – no committee hearings, no committee votes and no debate by the U.S. Senate. Richard Burr insulted the people of the eastern part of the state by ignoring the two nominees. Now, President Donald Trump’s added to the insult with his nomination of Thomas Farr. Why? Farr, as a counselor and adviser for the late U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms’ political operations and most recently to the state’s Republican Party, assisted in both developing and later defending, strategies, tactics and laws that were designed to discriminate against and diminish the impact of minority voters. The facts speak for themselves.

Can you say machine gun?

Thomas Mills recently cautioned Democrats to avoid campaigning against the NRA. I tend to agree with him. The NRA is a distraction. I'd also caution candidates against running on "gun control" or "gun safety." The former is too broad and squishy. And though the latter is admirable, almost any sane person is already in favor of it. I'm not sure "gun safety" buys us anything.

Saturday News: Two different worlds


REPORT SAYS NC CHARTER SCHOOLS ARE WORSENING SCHOOL SEGREGATION: In 72 percent of the counties where there's at least one charter school, the report said that charter schools increase the degree of racial segregation in the district. The report found that charter schools "tend to skew whiter than other schools in the same county." Nordstrom cites examples such as how 80 percent of the students in the four charter schools in Franklin and Granville counties are white while fewer than 50 percent of the students in those two districts are white. Charter schools used to be required to "reasonably reflect the racial and ethnic composition" of the population in the district where they were located. A 2013 law dropped the diversity mandate and diluted the language so charters must "make efforts" to reflect the local school district's demographics.

Will GOP leaders push for a constitutional amendment to shrink the size of the NC Supreme Court?

Faced with the likelihood that Anita Earls will crush opponents in her run for the North Carolina Supreme Court, Phil Berger and Tim Moore, leaders of the NC Senate and NC House respectively, may be hatching new plots to take over the judiciary. They can't win playing by the rules, so they'll do what they always do: Rig the system to suppress democracy.

NC Legislature fails the Sunshine test

Kirk Ross drops a whole salvo of truth bombs:

Communications between legislators and also between legislators and staff in the crafting of laws are among the few documents exempt from the state’s public records laws. The legislature’s requirements for county and municipal government agendas, meeting materials to be available well ahead of time does not apply to its own meetings.

The argument for legislative confidentiality, derived from English common law, is that the legislative process requires this privilege in order for agreements to be worked out. It’s a perfectly valid sounding rationale, but so unlimited and unchecked that it has long been intensely abused. It’s used to hide favors, fund pet projects and anonymously insert language into legislation.

I'm not even sure it sounds valid. Think about it: If lawmakers must have secrecy to agree to something, it naturally follows they're concerned about negative consequences if those communications came to light. Whether it's a strategic thing, where they don't want to give potential opponents to the measure a fair warning, or a personal concern, where they don't want to be associated with a controversial and maybe even unconstitutional act, it almost doesn't matter. They know they're on the wrong side of something, and they're trying to conceal it. Not just from other lawmakers, but from the general public. Which brings us back (once again) to the area of ethics, which should be just as important in holding lawmakers accountable as punishable crimes are. Back to the article, and what Kirk describes as the "black box":

Friday News: Hard lessons


NC PRISON FATALITIES BRING TO LIGHT NUMEROUS PROBLEMS WITH SYSTEM: Policies and procedures have been changed, safety equipment is being distributed, hiring has sped up and more training is being conducted at state prisons, officials told lawmakers Thursday. Last year was the deadliest year in the history of North Carolina's prison system. One corrections officer was killed by an inmate at Bertie Correctional Institution last April, and a failed prison break at Pasquotank Correctional Institution in October left four prison workers dead. The state Department of Public Safety called in federal investigators after the October incident to review prison operations, and they made more than 100 recommendations. Larry Reid, who led the team from the National Institute of Corrections, said investigators found many problems and deficiencies at Pasquotank Correctional.

Meet Supreme Court candidate Anita Earls

Thursday News: Flooding the swamp


SHADY DEALMAKER RAISES $5 MILLION FOR TRUMP AND RNC: On one side of a bitter, long-running civil lawsuit over a failed Russian oilfield investment is Elliott Broidy, a top Trump fundraiser who faces questions raised by McClatchy and other news outlets about his work in Romania and with the United Arab Emirates, and about a possible contract to persuade the Justice Department to drop a probe involving Malaysia’s prime minister. In spite of that, Broidy co-hosted an event in Beverly Hills Tuesday night that was projected to bring in $5 million for Trump and the Republican National Committee. He admitted in 2009 that he had paid nearly $1 million in bribes to pension officials in New York state in exchange for their investment with his Israel-focused Markstone Capital fund. His company was forced to forfeit $18 million in management fees, and Broidy avoided prison time by giving prosecutors information on the recipients of his payments.

Two faced Tillis

Listen to Senator Tillis getting all sanctimonious over the insider trading involving Equifax. Then answer me this. Where the hell is Mr. Tillis when it comes to Carl Icahn's insider trading related to Cheeto's steel tariffs? Icahn made millions dumping stocks that would be affected by the tariffs right after meeting with Trump ... and only days before Trump's tariff announcement.

What's up with that Senator Tillis? What does Trump have on you and your family? Videos of golden showers? Memos from Russian prostitutes? What are you afraid of, Senator?


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