Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


FETZER OUT OF BOUNDS; UNC BOARD SHOULD CENSURE HIM: Tom Fetzer’s behavior as a member of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors isn’t simply rude or self-serving. His latest, self-confessed actions in connection with the recruitment and hiring of a new chancellor for Western Carolina University are disruptive. Specifically, the UNC Board should examine the appropriateness of Fetzer – one of the state’s most influential legislative lobbyists and former chairman of the state Republican Party -- using his appointed government position to gain access to otherwise confidential information, specifically the names of candidates for the Western Carolina University chancellor’s position. Then, did he violate policy and ethical conduct procedures by giving that confidential information to a private “screening” firm Fetzer personally hired to dig into the background of a candidate for the chancellor’s post?

Saturday News: This elevator (queen) is broken

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR REDUCES FINES BY OVER HALF IN SCAFFOLDING COLLAPSE THAT TOOK 3 (LATINO) LIVES: Anderson Antones de Almeida and Jose Erasmo Hernandez of Durham, as well as Jose Luis Lopez-Ramirez of Clinton, died on March 23, 2015, after scaffolding collapsed while they were working on the 11-story Charter Square building on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. The Department of Labor initially charged Associated Scaffolding $151,900 for its role in the accident after finding that company workers didn’t follow manufacturer recommendations when tying the scaffolding to the building and put too much weight on the scaffolding while dismantling it, The N&O reported in January 2016. The Durham-based company contested the allegations and on April 18 reached a settlement with the labor department to pay a $70,000 fine and make “a number of safety and health enhancements that will be implemented to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future,” said Mary Katherine Revels, a department spokeswoman.

Toxic Amendments update: The biggest power grab of them all?

This is a rather long but very important thread:

The company you keep: Thomas Farr's roots in White Supremacy


His now-deceased business partner was a champion for segregation:

The recent death of Raleigh lawyer and political strategist Tom Ellis at 97 marked the passing of perhaps the last prominent North Carolinian who once advocated for the white supremacist views of Wesley Critz George of Chapel Hill. George believe blacks were biologically inferior to whites and that “the protoplasmic mixing of the races” would diminish the white race, hurting its ability to survive.

“As good citizens, we should do all we can to insure that ten generations and more from now we shall have a breed of people in this country capable of maintaining American civilization,” George wrote in 1956. “Integration and amalgamation of the two races is not the way to insure having such a breed of people.”

While this story is mostly about Tom Ellis and the racists he admired and supported, it's also about how mainstream Republicans have absolutely no problem ignoring white supremacist backgrounds. At best, that's what we're supposed to assume about Thomas Farr: That he was simply a business partner of Ellis and did not automatically share his opinions. But these guys worked together for over thirty years, so spare me that painfully thin legal argument. Here's more if you can stomach it:

Friday News: The cost of doing bad business


ATTORNEYS FOR HOG NEIGHBORS SEEK MILLIONS IN COMPENSATORY DAMAGES: The lead attorney for hog farm neighbors suing Smithfield Foods over the pig waste near their homes on Thursday asked a jury for $2 million to $4 million per plaintiff in compensatory damages as closing arguments wrapped and the case went to the jury. The request is significant: Punitive damages in civil lawsuits, which are meant to punish the defendant, are capped in North Carolina, limiting the harm Smithfield suffered in two previous trials, where juries awarded six figures in compensatory damages against the pork giant but tens of millions in punitive awards that largely evaporated due to the cap. So far, his team is 2-0 against the company, with the juries agreeing the farms unfairly interfered with the neighbor's ability to enjoy their own property.


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