NCGA

Did Bob Rucho orchestrate the Silent Sham deal?

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It would come as no big surprise if he did:

In an email dated this February, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans asks for a meeting with UNC Board of Governors member Bob Rucho, but the documents include no other correspondence until November.

That's when the UNC System asked the attorney general's office for approval to retain outside counsel for a possible settlement regarding Silent Sam. Eight days later, the settlement was done, and UNC-Chapel Hill — the campus where the statue once stood — had been told to transfer $2,574,999 to the university system.

I generally refrain from asking questions in headlines (like the above), because it borders on a logical fallacy and can easily drag you into conspiracy theory territory. But I'm also a big fan of Occam's Razor. If the SCV wanted a meeting with Rucho back in February and didn't get it, there would likely have been some follow-up communications shortly thereafter. Since there weren't, we can assume that the meeting took place, or at least some form of communication transpired between the two entities outside of official channels. Another question that needs answering: Why did they pick Bob Rucho to meet with out of the 5 members tasked with solving the problem? I know why they didn't pick Darrel Allison, although he is probably clueless.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

No big surprise, but it still needs exposure:

And I'm also waiting for the faux-Libertarians to howl about government waste...still waiting...

SCV members complain about exremist takeover of group

And it's a lot uglier than we thought:

Internal conflict has intensified within the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. since its questionable settlement with the UNC System weeks ago. The settlement accrued the organization ownership of Silent Sam, as well as $2.5 million in UNC System money to fund the Confederate monument’s “preservation and benefit.” Kevin Stone, the state chapter’s commander, called it a “major strategic victory” for the pro-Confederate movement.

But multiple current members of the SCV chapter led by Stone, who spoke to The Daily Tar Heel and were granted anonymity based on personal safety concerns, are taking a far different tone.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts, I just wanted to comment on how very common this situation is, when petty tyrants move into positions of authority. It happens on condo boards, homeowners associations, committees and commissions, and even political party sub-groups (county, caucuses, etc.) These people will inevitably play upon your prejudices, in an effort to create an aura of conflict that doesn't exist (yet), and once placed in power they make that conflict a reality. Needless to say, when you see one of these people, run like the wind. Back to the confederacy of dunces:

Goldman Sachs: Now is the time to adapt to climate change

Even Goldman Sachs believes climate change is real. And they suggest

it may be prudent for some cities to start investing in adaptation now," Goldman said, adding that "urban adaptation could drive one of the largest infrastructure build-outs in history."

They warn of "significant risks," especially to the world's largest cities that are located at or near sea level, noting that 40% of the population lives near the coasts.

Silent Sham may cost UNC millions in grant money

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The high price of irresponsibility:

UNC-Chapel Hill spokeswoman Kate Luck confirmed late Thursday that the school "is in conversations with the Mellon Foundation, one of our most valued external partners, about their concerns related to the UNC System’s legal settlement regarding the Confederate Monument.”

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is one of the largest charitable foundations in the world and a key funder of academic research. According to its publicly available database, it awarded UNC-Chapel Hill seven Mellon grants over the last three years, totaling more than $7 million​.

It's likely Republicans won't be that concerned over this, because the bulk of the Mellon grants are targeted to the Humanities, as opposed to medical research. But as a former history major myself, I have been following the UNC Humanities for several years now, and this division has contributed greatly to both the culture of NC via the arts, and a much better understanding of the social fabric holding us together. The last thing we need to do is undermine projects like this:

Eastern NC's bond reform is a model for the rest of the state

"Innocent until proven guilty" means nothing when you're behind bars:

Two major changes are in store. The first is magistrates, instead of relying on a set list of bond fees correlating with a certain class of crime, will instead decide bond or no-bond with a flow chart that narrows down whether someone should have a secured bond, or should be released on a promise to appear in court, to another person willing to ensure they show up in court or on an unsecured bond.

The second is Beaufort County's District Court will hold a bond hearing every week to ensure that those charged with minor crimes are not sitting in the county jail solely because they cannot afford bail.

Our criminal justice system has many flaws, but this one threatens the core of our democracy. Pre-trial incarceration, especially for those charged with non-violent crimes, is a direct violation of our Constitutional rights. I say "our" rights because Americans are quick to dismiss the rights of others, but become very interested when the situation gets personal. It is a shameful facet of our society, and one we may grow to regret dearly. I'll let the ACLU explain it more deeply:

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