Thoughts on the Great War for equality in America

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Stolen from my Facebook page:

People's eyes tend to gloss over when I start talking about history. I'm sure part of that comes from how I present the subject, as I tend to bounce around like I'm riding a time machine to point out how later developments undermined or enhanced notable historical events. Guilty as charged. But I feel it's important to not view these events as "closed" chapters, because that almost always leads to false assumptions.

Take the Civil War, for example: That event (or series of) should be viewed as merely a battle in a centuries-long war for racial equality, in not just our country, but the entire Northern Hemisphere, to be completely accurate. And that war continues to this day.

Just a side note, but intrinsically related: Just a few hours after my recent Op-Ed was published about erecting a monument to a former slave who was lynched in downtown Graham, I was contacted by a local playwright about forming a committee to pursue this goal. We met Wednesday and were joined by a local historian and a member of the clergy deeply interested in racial equality, and we are determined to make this happen. I'll keep you posted. Back to the boring lecture:

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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STANDING STRONG FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS IS BEST SCHOOL CHOICE: As the General Assembly sends money to big business and the wealthy, it deprives public schools by diverting tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to private schools through a voucher scheme. By the end of this decade, at the current rate, North Carolina will spend more on private school vouchers than on textbooks and digital resources for 1.5 million public school students. In the last century, public education has transformed North Carolina into a beacon of opportunity. Public schools have made – and can continue to make -- a dramatic impact on generations of families. But we must make a choice: Instead of sitting quietly through the systematic dismantling of public schools, we should stand strong for the heart and soul of our state—a thriving public education system.
http://www.wral.com/mark-jewell-standing-strong-for-public-schools-is-best-school-choice-/16938098/

Saturday News: Take a hike, boys

GOVERNOR COOPER WANTS TO MOVE CONFEDERATE STATUES FROM CAPITAL GROUNDS: Gov. Roy Cooper's administration formally petitioned the state's Historical Commission Friday in an effort to remove three Confederate monuments from the Capitol grounds in downtown Raleigh. Cooper wants to move the statues 45 miles south to the Bentonville Battlefield historic site in Johnston County. A state law passed in 2015 to protect Confederate monuments and other "objects of remembrance" restricts what the state can do, even with consent from the Commission, which is slated to meet Sept. 22. The law says no state-owned monuments or works of art can be removed without its approval, but it also lays out rules for when the commission does allow changes. Monuments can be relocated only "when appropriate measures are required by the state" to preserve them or when removal is needed to make room for construction.
http://www.wral.com/cooper-administration-files-to-move-confederate-monuments-/16935662/

UNC Board of Governors crumbling under ideological discord

And big surprise, Tom Fetzer is right in the middle of it:

In a stunning and contentious session, a faction of the UNC Board of Governors moved Thursday for substantive changes in the university system, including lowering tuition and fees at the campuses, reorganizing the staff of UNC President Margaret Spellings and moving the UNC system headquarters out of Chapel Hill.

The meeting followed a scathing letter to Spellings and Board Chairman Lou Bissette that was reported by The News & Observer on Thursday. The Aug. 22 letter, signed by 15 members, took Spellings and Bissette to task for a lack of communication to the members before they sent a letter to Gov. Roy Cooper about security and plans for Silent Sam, the Confederate statue on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Some board members said they had never seen and wouldn’t have signed the letter written by new member Tom Fetzer.

If you find that second paragraph somewhat confusing, it doesn't mean your cognitive skills are waning. Two different letters are elevated to "subjects" in the narrative, making the letter referenced in the final sentence somewhat of a mystery. Tom Fetzer wrote the second letter, which is the first one mentioned in the paragraph. And he was complaining about the first letter written, which is the second one referenced in the paragraph. Does that help? Yeah, not so much. Basically this "renegade" group, which is apparently a majority of the Board, are pissed off they didn't get a chance to defend Silent Sam and/or accuse Roy Cooper of being the 2nd gunman on the grassy knoll in the letter Spellings sent to the Governor, and they feel it made them appear "weak." And it's that last part that should worry people the most, because if this vastly Republican body decides to really flex its muscles and make a show of power, the effects on the UNC System could be devastating. In addition to Fetzer, there are a couple more individuals who signed his letter that bear close watching:

Friday News: Standing up for rapists

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BETSY DEVOS TO ROLL BACK TITLE IX PROTECTIONS FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED: The Trump administration intends to rewrite the Obama administration’s directive on handling campus-based sexual assaults, saying the system has failed both victims and the accused, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Thursday. Her stance sets the stage for a dramatic reversal of how Title IX, the 1972 law that bars discrimination based on sex in education, is enforced. "Through intimidation and coercion, the failed system has clearly pushed schools to overreach. With the heavy hand of Washington tipping the balance of her scale, the sad reality is that Lady Justice is not blind on campuses today…," DeVos said. "Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously. Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined."
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article171820582.html

The Usurpers, revisited

"If the usurper legislature does attempt to override the veto," Carter wrote in the letter dated Friday, "it opens itself up to litigation wherein the North Carolina State Courts may be asked to issue a declaratory judgment that the law is facially unconstitutional and void ab initio."

County Commissioners' prayer case may be headed to US Supreme Court

Please bow your head while you read this:

On Wednesday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, by a 9-6 count, ruled that prayer practices by Jackson County, Michigan, commissioners do not violate the U.S. Constitution. The court said the commissioners in Michigan adopted a religion-neutral practice. Writing for the majority, Judge Richard Griffin said there is no evidence the board adopted its prayer practices with discriminatory intent.

The ruling does not directly affect Rowan County’s lawsuit. However, in what’s known as a circuit split, Wednesday’s decision could increase the chances that one or both cases will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

I wish they would just outlaw this and be done with it. I find myself in an increasingly uncomfortable position, because of my involvement in my Town's government. First of all, I serve on the Planning Board at the pleasure of the Board of Aldermen. I take that responsibility very seriously, and actively opposing them or the Mayor over a procedural issue is not something I'd care to do. There's too many things I want to accomplish, and we need each other's trust and support to do that. Second, I have run for office and (very likely) will do so again in the near future, and getting on the wrong side of local church leaders is an express ticket to failure at the ballot box. So I've got personal principles on one side and political realities on the other, and I feel like they're squeezing me. And that alone should be proof enough that prayer and (good) government don't mix.

Thursday News: Go Josh!

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NC'S ATTORNEY GENERAL JOINS LAWSUIT AGAINST TRUMP FOR DACA REPEAL: North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has joined a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s plans to rescind the executive order that protected young immigrants from deportation even if they did not have documentation authorizing them to live in the United States. “Ending DACA isn’t just cruel to Dreamers, against our American values, and the wrong thing to do for our nation’s economy, it also violates our Constitution,” Stein said in a statement shortly after the lawsuit was filed in the federal Eastern District of New York. “I will do everything in my power to restore DACA for the tens of thousands of young people in North Carolina who rely on it – including fighting for them in court.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article171555107.html

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