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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


NATION NEEDS BURR TO DELIVER NOW ON 2016 CAMPAIGN PROMISE: It was Burr himself who promised North Carolina’s voters, when he said he’d not seek re-election again, that he’d be an uncompromising presence -- withstanding and rising above partisanship when time and circumstance demanded it. North Carolinians cannot rely on Sen. Thom Tillis – who quakes at every Trump tweet and parrots whatever spin the White House sends out. This is a time when it appears the president is shaking down the leader of the Ukraine for campaign dirt on a potential opponent. He seeks to order border patrol agents to shoot migrants in the legs to slow them. This is not typical, normal or reasonable. The time is now for Burr to stand up. He needs to assure his constituents that his priority is the integrity of the presidency and the independence of the Senate and legislative branch of government.

Saturday News: Appalachian injustice


U.S. SUPREME COURT WILL DECIDE ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE FATE: The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday it would hear the appeal of Atlantic Coast Pipeline owners and the Trump administration over the rejection of a permit that would allow the natural gas line to cross the Appalachian Trail. A ruling for the pipeline will allow construction to resume by late summer next year and finish by late 2021, the email said. The Sierra Club and the Southern Environmental Law Center, which represented environmental groups in the case, said in a statement they will defend the Appeals Court decision. “The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a dangerous, costly and unnecessary project, and we won’t stand by while Duke and Dominion Energy try to force it on our public lands, threatening people’s health, endangered species, iconic landscapes and clean water along the way,” their statement said.

Friday News: Trying to pass?

TRUMP APPOINTEE FOR FEDERAL BENCH DOESN'T WANT TO ADMIT HE'S BLACK: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said during his introduction that Myers would be “the first African American on his court.” Asked if he considered himself African American, Myers said, “I consider myself human. I consider myself human. Jamaican American. For some folks, it’s a really important thing for them. For me, I would really like to be considered on my own merits every step of the way.” Democratic Rep. G.K. Butterfield, whose district covers much of Eastern North Carolina and is a former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said after President Donald Trump nominated Myers that he wished Trump had taken the opportunity to diversify the bench. “Every African American I know is proud to make that identification as African American,” Butterfield told McClatchy last month. “If he is indeed African American, I would expect that he would be proud of it and say so.”

Thursday News: Privatization boondoggle


TEST SCORES WORSEN AT FIRST SCHOOL TAKEN OVER BY CHARTER: More schools may be taken over by the state’s Innovative School District, even as a new report showed flat test scores and a variety of problems at the only school now in the controversial program. Southside Ashpole Elementary School in Robeson County ended the program’s first year with an “F” grade, not meeting academic growth and a drop in the percentage of students passing state exams. Some of the schools that fought to stay under local control have higher grades now than Southside, according to a report presented Wednesday to the State Board of Education. The Innovative School District was created by Republican state lawmakers in 2016 to take up to five low-performing elementary schools away from local school district control and turn them over to an outside group to run.

Wednesday News: Cracks in the armor


REPUBLICAN COUNTY COMMISSIONERS PUSH BERGER FOR MEDICAID EXPANSION: “We supported Medicaid expansion because our citizens need it. Did you know Senator that our poverty level is near 30%?” he continued. “Did you know that we have several hundred working adults with no means to have health care?” The decline of manufacturing left Graham County without a large private employer, Wiggins said. Given the dire circumstances, he said commissioners have to consider solutions that aren’t necessarily Republican ideas. “The reality is in places like Graham County,” Wiggins said, “a mom or dad working at McDonald’s or Wendy’s for just over minimum wage cannot afford $1,500 a month for insurance.” Wiggins concluded his letter by suggesting legislators don’t understand his county’s hardship. “You know Senator Berger,” he said. “for some people who have good paying jobs and good health insurance it is easy to say that those without health insurance just need to go to work, isn’t it?”

Tuesday News: King Rat

ROBIN HAYES SET TO THROW CO-CONSPIRATORS UNDER THE BUS: Under a deal with federal prosecutors, North Carolina’s former state Republican chairman could testify against other defendants in the state’s largest-ever case of political bribery. Robin Hayes would plead guilty to a single felony count of lying to the FBI under the deal. He’s scheduled to formally enter his guilty plea in federal court Wednesday. The plea agreement calls for Hayes to cooperate with prosecutors. That includes testifying against his co-defendants. Hayes, a former member of Congress, was one of four men indicted last March on multiple charges of conspiracy and bribery. Also indicted were Durham businessman Greg Lindberg — one of the GOP’s biggest campaign contributors — and two associates, John Gray and John Palermo. All four pleaded not guilty at the time.

Monday News: Public corruption does not pay


JUDGE ORDERS FORMER BUNCOMBE MANAGER TO START SERVING TIME: Multiple media organizations report that U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad on Friday denied a request by both prosecutors and lawyers to delay the sentence for former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene. Conrad says the 68-year-old Greene was at the heart of a corruption scheme by local officials dating back to 2007, and it's time for her to go to prison. Prosecutors said they wanted Greene nearby as she helps with the investigation and prosecution of other county officials and contractors. Three other county officials are charged with accepting gifts in exchange for awarding government contracts to a Georgia engineering contractor.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


SPEAKER MOORE'S HALF-FILLED CHAMBER WIN IS EMPTY VICTORY: As state House Speaker Time Moore speaks more and more about his successful veto overrides, we become increasingly convinced he has abandoned all perspective. So determined to win is he, that he has lost sight of his chief leadership responsibility -- to operate an open and honest House that respects the value of all citizens’ votes. Everybody likes a real winner. But it is how you play and win that becomes the legacy. Moore’s fairness-be-damned approach will haunt him. There is no morality to a victory when the other side believed that there would be no game. House minority leader Darren Jackson believed that he had been told by House Rules Committee Chairman Rep David Lewis that there would be no votes in the morning session. Jackson then informed his caucus. So, did Lewis unintentionally mislead Jackson or was it a deliberate act to give out fake information and fool Democrats? It doesn’t matter.

Saturday News: Slap on the wrist


ROBIN HAYES WILL PLEAD GUILTY TO LYING TO THE FBI: According to his agreement with prosecutors, Hayes will plead guilty to a single count of lying to the FBI. In a court document, he acknowledged that in August 2018 he “falsely stated to federal agents . . . that he had never spoken” with Causey “about personnel or personnel problems at the . . . Department of Insurance or about Greg Lindberg or John Gray.” Prosecutors said while the maximum sentence for the offense is five years, Hayes could be sentenced to up to six months, or serve no time at all under sentencing guidelines. The plea deal says prosecutors “recommend a sentence at the low end of the . . . range.” Hayes could not be reached. His attorney, Kearns Davis, would not comment.

Friday News: One more time...


LAWSUIT FILED OVER NC'S GERRYMANDERED CONGRESSIONAL MAPS: The National Redistricting Foundation is backing a lawsuit filed by individuals in each of the state's 13 congressional districts, alleging that the General Assembly illegally drew the district lines in 2016 to favor Republican candidates. A similar argument went before the U.S. Supreme Court in March, but the high court ruled 5-4 in June that partisan gerrymandering is "beyond the reach of the federal courts." But in state court, several plaintiffs successfully challenged legislative districts drawn in 2017 on the argument that partisan gerrymandering violates North Carolina's constitution. A three-judge panel recently ordered lawmakers to redraw the maps without considering voting patterns of individual precincts.


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