Friday News: Kava-Nope


CROWD GATHERS IN RALEIGH TO OPPOSE KAVANAUGH NOMINATION: The rally Thursday was called to send a message to the Republican U.S. Senators from North Carolina, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, but both senators appear ready to vote for him. Molly Rivera, ACLU North Carolina’s communications associate, urged the crowd of more than 100 people to keep calling Burr and Tillis and to sign a petition opposing Kavanaugh. The crowd was prompted to shout, “I believe survivors!” Many held anti-Kavanaugh signs. “Whatever happens in the coming days, this is a beginning not an end,” said Tara Romano, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice NC. NARAL Pro-Choice NC, ACLU of North Carolina, and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic were among the rally sponsors. The rally came a week after gripping testimony from Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, and Kavanaugh’s fiery denials.

JOSH STEIN IMPLEMENTS NEW RAPE KIT TRACKING SYSTEM FOR NC: North Carolina government's top lawyer says a new tracking system for pending sexual assault evidence kits and new funds toward completing untested kits sitting in local law enforcement agencies will help bring victims justice. Attorney General Josh Stein announced the new tracking system Thursday at the State Crime Lab. It will provide real-time updates for authorities, attorneys and victims themselves. Stein's office says a $2 million federal grant will help reduce the 15,000 untested kits in existence. The money also will go toward ensuring all kits have barcodes and training sexual assault investigators. The General Assembly approved the tracking system's creation and a committee to study prioritizing work on the untested kits — both recommended by Stein. He's said it would cost about $10 million to test the entire backlog.

CONGRESSIONAL SNOWFLAKE SENDS FBI AFTER OPPONENT'S TWITTER SUPPORTER: Andrew Cabaccang, who is from Raleigh but is currently living in Montana, said in a phone interview with McClatchy that it’s his Twitter account and that he was visited by the Sanders County (Mont.) Sheriff’s Office on behalf of the FBI on Sept. 19. Cabaccang said he wanted to help a Democratic candidate after the 2016 election and chose Watts after looking at his platform. He said he’s trying to “goad” Walker to agree to a debate with Watts. In some tweets, he has hinted that Walker, who is married and has three children, is involved in an affair with another man. Walker decided he had to respond. “The lies, allegations and foul language being spread by my opponent and his self-proclaimed ‘wingman’ have forced me to engage,” Walker wrote in his Facebook post, which included screen shots. Watts said Walker was trying to lump his campaign together with tweets from a Twitter user he does not know.

PLAN FOR DIX PARK BEING FINALIZED, INCLUDES HOTEL, BEER "HALL" AND OTHER AMENITIES: One of the most anticipated parts of the Dix Park plan has been unveiled. A boutique hotel, a food and beer hall, botanical garden and a concert venue are now officially proposed uses for the future Dorothea Dix Park. The list also includes play areas, gardens, athletic courts and trails. The plan is to create and then bridge two very different portions of the park: one a 21st century, bustling place to visit, and the other, an escape into nature in the middle of the city. “One of the biggest revenue generators for a park like this across the country is to put hotels or residential building on it,” Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane has said. “And because we have this huge hospital with small rooms, it naturally makes you think, how could you use this as a hotel? But it still has to be part of the park. You can’t just plop something in here to make money.”

REPUBLICANS HOPE TO USE KAVANAUGH HEARINGS TO ENERGIZE VOTING BASE: President Trump and his conservative allies now see their effort to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as central to salvaging the Republican Party’s fortunes in the midterm elections, and hope to use the fervent liberal opposition to his nomination to the Supreme Court as a graphic example of the threat posed by a Democratic return to power in Congress. The increasingly aggressive attacks on Judge Kavanaugh’s main accuser and the dark warnings about Democrats from his supporters are part of an effort to harness Republicans’ outrage over what they see as a Democratic plot to steal a pivotal Supreme Court seat. “What the Kavanaugh controversy has done is increase Republican voting intensity so that it is approaching Democratic intensity, which is already through the roof,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster. “What we’re seeing with Kavanaugh is a dry run,” said Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime friend of the president’s who has strong ties to conservative activists. “You’ve seen the dress rehearsal for the impeachment of President Donald Trump.”