REPUBLICAN MARK HARRIS WILL NOT FACE CHARGES IN BALLOT FRAUD CASE: Republican Harris had hired Dowless, a longtime Bladen County political operative, to handle absentee ballot gathering, and had appeared to win the seat by a narrow margin over Democrat Dan McCready by 905 votes. But the State Board of Elections refused to certify the election after receiving information that Dowless had manipulated absentee ballots. A special election was later held in which a different Republican, former state Sen. Dan Bishop, won the seat. Dowless, 64, faces three felony charges of obstruction of justice, two charges of conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and two charges of possession of absentee ballot. He also faces federal charges related to collecting Social Security disability payments while being paid to work political campaigns.
DAN FOREST HOLDS CAMPAIGN EVENT WITH NO MASKS OR DISTANCING: Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is holding in-person campaign events again, and he drew a crowd of more than 100 people Tuesday to an indoor event in Iredell County. His gubernatorial campaign posted a picture of the event to Facebook. People are seated 10 or so to a table and don't seem to be wearing masks. "Huge turnout tonight in Iredell Country!" the campaign wrote on its Facebook page. "People are ready for a change in leadership." The state is under an executive order that generally requires masks in an effort to stem the transmission of coronavirus. There's also a ban on mass gatherings – no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors – courtesy of orders signed by Forest's Democratic opponent in the November elections, Gov. Roy Cooper. The Cooper campaign has a commercial airing now blasting Forest for his mask comments and other coronavirus positions. Among other things, Forest has courted support from the ReOpenNC group, which has protested Cooper's shutdown orders at times by burning masks.
MANY TEACHERS ARE PUSHING THEIR DISTRICTS FOR REMOTE LEARNING PLAN C: “Mecklenburg is in really rough shape right now,” said Justin Parmenter, a language arts teacher at Waddell Language Academy in Charlotte. “We’re hopeful our local leaders will decide to go with Plan C because that’s the most prudent decision for keeping our students and staff safe.” Wake County should “do the right thing” and use virtual learning for all students for at least the first half of the fall semester, according to Quinn, the Broughton teacher. “Many of us are WCPSS parents too, so we understand the challenges of monitoring virtual learning and child care while also working a full-time job,” Quinn said. “But my inconvenience doesn’t get to outweigh the life of another person.” Time is short, though, for teachers to persuade school leaders to switch to Plan C. The first day of class for most students is Aug. 17. Sharon Contreras, the superintendent of Guilford County schools in the center of the state, is recommending using remote instruction for all students for the first five weeks of school. Guilford is the state’s third largest district.
JUSTICE GINSBURG BACK HOME AFTER INFECTION SCARE: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg left Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Wednesday, a day after being admitted for treatment of a possible infection. The court’s spokeswoman, Kathy Arberg, said in an emailed statement that Ginsburg “is home and doing well” but provided no other details about the justice’s condition. Ginsburg went to the hospital Tuesday after experiencing fevers and chills. The court said she was given an endoscopic procedure “to clean out a bile duct stent that was placed last August.” Ginsburg seems to have recovered quicker than anticipated. The court said Tuesday that she was expected to remain in the hospital for several days. At 87, Ginsburg is the oldest member of the nation’s highest court and the leader of its liberal wing. In recent years, Ginsburg has reached cult-level status among the left. Since being appointed to the high court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, Ginsburg has had a number of health scares. Last year, she received treatment for cancer that forced her to miss oral arguments for the first time in her career. It was the fourth time she’d been treated for cancer. Earlier this year, she declared herself cancer free.
HACKERS TARGET FAMOUS TWITTER ACCOUNTS WITH BITCOIN SCAM: It was about 4 in the afternoon on Wednesday on the East Coast when chaos struck online. Dozens of the biggest names in America — including Joseph R. Biden Jr., Barack Obama, Kanye West, Bill Gates and Elon Musk — posted similar messages on Twitter: Send Bitcoin and the famous people would send back double your money. It was all a scam, of course, the result of one of the most brazen online attacks in memory. A first wave of attacks hit the Twitter accounts of prominent cryptocurrency leaders and companies. But soon after, the list of victims broadened to include a Who’s Who of Americans in politics, entertainment and tech, in a major show of force by the hackers. Twitter quickly removed many of the messages, but in some cases similar tweets were sent again from the same accounts, suggesting that Twitter was powerless to regain control. The company eventually disabled broad swaths of its service, including the ability of verified users to tweet, for a couple of hours as it scrambled to prevent the scam from spreading further. The company sent a tweet saying that it was investigating the problem and looking for a fix. “You may be unable to Tweet or reset your password while we review and address this incident,” the company said in a second tweet. Service was restored around 8:30 Wednesday night.