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Friday, December 9, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Godspeed, John Glenn

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2016 at 8:29 AM

Happy Friday, everyone. It’s cold out there, so pour yourself a cup of Joe and join us for your morning primer. 1. John Glenn, American hero, RIP. The first man to orbit the Earth—not to mentioned a Marine Corps combat vet, U.S. senator from Ohio, and 1984 presidential candidate—died yesterday at the age of ninety-five. From The New York Times obit, which is worth reading in its entirety: In just five hours on Feb. 20, 1962, Mr. Glenn joined a select roster of Americans whose feats have seized the country’s imagination and come to embody a moment in its history, figures...

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Trump Finds Time, In Between Tweets, to Meet Obama at White House

Posted By on Fri, Nov 11, 2016 at 7:37 AM

Well ... we're still here, so we might as well check out the headlines. 1) President Obama meets with "subdued" Trump in Oval Office. A ninety minute conversation that unfolded inside the White House Thursday gave President Barack Obama hope that a man he, only a few days ago, characterized as unfit to lead the nation, would not be that bad. From the New York Times: For years, Mr. Trump questioned Mr. Obama’s birthplace and legitimacy, branded the nation’s first black president weak and called his tenure a disaster. On Thursday at the White House, the once-unimaginable happened: The two men...

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Today, We End This

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 7:58 AM

Good morning, guys and gals. The great American nightmare that has seen the rise of the worst presidential candidate in history is almost over. And in the interest of time—because instead of reading this, we would rather you were voting—we're going to keep this short and sweet. Let's dive in. 1) Trump showed up in Raleigh yesterday, lied within thirty seconds of taking stage. According to the Donald, there were thousands of people still waiting to pack into Dorton Arena when his speech began. THOUSANDS! Well, we checked. There were less than 100—and a handful of them were the men...

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Undercover at North Carolina's Final Gathering of Trump's Army

Posted By on Mon, Nov 7, 2016 at 9:19 PM

The first thing that struck me was the parking lot—how a nearly silent stretch of pavement could speak so loudly through vitriolic bumper stickers (including, many times over, the ever-popular slogan “Hillary for Prison”) and derogatory messages (most about President Barack Obama) painted on car windows. I mean, these vehicles, for the most part, weren’t even carrying messages of support for the man set to speak hours later inside the arena located a few hundred yards away. And as I walked toward the venue, I found more of the same in the T-shirts, hats and buttons being hawked by those...

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Trump Says He's Winning, Polls Are Rigged

Posted By on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 8:43 AM

Good morning, one and all. Well, unless you're a political scientist. You guys and gals should be ashamed of yourselves. I mean, how dare you conduct "phony" polls to keep Donald Trump from winning the White House. 1) Trump tells crowd he is, in fact, winning. Polls? He don't need your stinking polls: The Donald told a crowd in Florida yesterday that, get this, even the polls are "rigged" against him. From WRAL: Even as his path to the presidency narrows, a defiant Donald Trump is insisting he is "winning" and urging his supporters to defy what he is calling...

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Friday, October 21, 2016

City Council Modifies the Durham Innovation District’s Incentive Agreement, Worries About Its Cost

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Incentives for the first phase of the Durham Innovation District were, again, discussed by the city council on Monday night, and several council members said they were concerned about how the city uses public dollars for private development. By Thursday, however, those concerns had been assuaged—at least enough for the project to pass.  Last September, the council voted to approve a $5.25 million incentive agreement for Durham ID Phase I Developers LLC, which is set to redevelop properties at 224, 301, and 302 Morris Street in downtown. But now, as the developers ramp up and construction begins, they want to...

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Trump Says Veterans Who Take Their Own Lives 'Can't Handle It' ... For Real

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 8:18 AM

Good morning, one and all. If for some reason you endured a media blackout yesterday, consider yourself lucky. Sharing this stuff with you makes me jealous—like when my wife binge watched the first two seasons of "Game of Thrones" after I had already experienced the carnage. 1) Donald Trump kind of says military suicides are a result of "weakness"—and even kind of saying something like that is pretty bad. Go ahead. Read that again. Let the shock pass through you and go back for seconds so you can take it all in. Remember when Trump said he liked veterans who...

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Chelsea Avoids Plague, NCAA Avoids McCrory's North Carolina

Posted By on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 7:41 AM

Good morning, folks. And for those of you who consider the opportunity to laugh at lunacy a gift, this isn't just any morning. This is Christmas morning. So let's dive toward that tree and start ripping through some wrapping paper ... so to speak. 1) NCAA pulls tournament games from North Carolina because of HB 2. Sorry college basketball, women's and men's soccer, golf, lacrosse, tennis and baseball fans. This just happened because of HB 2 (and, more to the point, that guy who lives in the Governor's Mansion). From the INDY: Greensboro was slated to host first- and second-round...

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Friday, July 15, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Vive La France

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Another day, another terrorist attack. This story is way too damn familiar.  Last night, while a crowd of French people in Nice were watching fireworks on Bastille Day—a French holiday celebrating the day French peasants stormed the Bastille in 1790, a key event in the then-nascent French revolution—an as-yet-unnamed French-Tunisian man with a truck packed with weapons and explosives essentially mowed them over, killing at least eighty-four.  Police told to NBC News that 84 people were now confirmed dead following the attack in the coastal city of Nice. Bastille Day celebrations were transformed into scenes of chaos and carnage...

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Friday, March 18, 2016

This Week in the Carolina Comeback: Unemployment Shoots Up All Over the State

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2016 at 12:52 PM

The "Carolina comeback" stalled earlier this year, according to the January unemployment numbers the state reported this morning. State officials found that all one hundred North Carolina counties saw a rise in unemployment from its lowest point during the December holiday season.  The state unemployment rate is 5.8 percent, down slightly from 5.9 percent in January 2015 and up from 5.3 percent in December. (The rates aren't seasonally adjusted, which might explain some of the volatility.) A total of 274,460 North Carolina residents found themselves out of work in January 2016.  The highest unemployment rate in January was 15.5...

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Friday, March 4, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Don’t Worry, Guys, Donald Trump Has a Big Ol’ Penis

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 8:53 AM

Well, here’s a headline you simply don’t see in a major metro daily’s coverage of a presidential race:  Yes, Donald Trump, accused of having small hands—AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS—went into last night’s presidential debate and defended the size of, um, Little Donald.  Trump found himself defending his business record and his conservative credentials on several fronts, lashed out repeatedly at Marco Rubio, and drew groans and gasps when he offered an unsolicited defense of the size of his genitalia. Related:  The debate came just hours after the Republican Party’s 2012 nominee joined a cast of...

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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Case for Bernie: 5 Reasons the Vermont Socialist Deserves Your Vote

Posted By on Tue, Mar 1, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Decimated. I’m watching Bernie Sanders following the South Carolina primary, and he’s not putting any gloss on the rout he suffered. Decimated is the word he uses. So here’s where we are, Bernie fans. We had a tie and a close loss in the first two caucus states. We won big in the New Hampshire primary. We lost twice as big in South Carolina. This is all-too-familiar territory for those of us in Wolfpack Nation. Some early-season successes. Blown out by our first tough opponent. What did legendary N.C. State basketball coach Jimmy Valvano advise in such circumstances? “Too...

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

N.C.'s fracking capitol approves drilling ban

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2015 at 2:10 PM

This was expected, but, somehow, it still seems stunning. On Monday night, county commissioners in Lee County— likely North Carolina's prime hotbed for natural gas drilling, according to geologists—approved a sweeping, two-year moratorium on fracking within the county. The vote, which was backed by five of seven county commissioners, comes just a handful of years after residents in the economically troubled industrial county seemed overwhelmingly in support of drilling.  What a difference a few years and a tidal wave of bad publicity can make. Environmental groups, predictably, hailed the news Monday.  The two-year ban may someday prompt a lawsuit....

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Report touts benefits for workers and the economy in raising wages for public employees

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 12:54 PM

When Orange County builder Mark Marcoplos told me earlier this month that it's time for a living wage debate, he was on to something.  Orange County's Living Wage Campaign hit the ground running this month, enlisting more than 30 local businesses to agree upfront to pay their employees a "living wage," or about $12.75 per hour in Orange County. Earlier this year, Durham launched its own campaign, guaranteeing workers hourly pay of at least $12.53. And this week, Wake County commissioners agreed to raise the minimum wage for all county workers to a solid $13.50 an hour.  Fittingly, on...

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Blue Cross, Bank of America shine in HRC's LGBT workplace equality scores

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 12:53 PM

Remarkably, someone, somewhere, has something nice to say about Duke Energy.  The Human Rights Campaign released its annual Corporate Equality Index today, the leading scorecard for gauging employer protections for LGBT workers. And while it offers a limited snapshot of how North Carolina companies and law firms are performing—just 16 North Carolina entities are included, likely because they did not respond to HRC requests or they were not large enough to be rated—there do appear to be some positive signs.  Bank of America, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and a handful of other state businesses—Delhaize America Inc., which...

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Lee County may vote next week to impose a temporary ban on fracking

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 2:59 PM

The backlash against North Carolina's fracking prospects continues, and in the state's hottest drilling destination, no less.  Commissioners in Lee County—where drilling leasing has already begun—may vote as soon as next week on a controversial, two-year moratorium on fracking, following up on neighboring Chatham County's vote to do the same in August.  Fracking permitting "without thorough study would be premature and could result in standards that are inadequate to regulate or mitigate the local impacts," the board's draft resolution reads. Support for drilling in these counties has eroded in recent years as stories spread of widespread environmental impacts in...

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Less than a year in, the Durham Co-op Market stirs up controversy

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 10:16 AM

It didn't take long for the Durham Co-op Market to find itself some controversy.  About seven months after opening, members of the market's board of directors will consider a vote Sunday to nix the worker-owner shares currently allowed in the co-op's bylaws. Modeled after Orange County's Weaver Street Market, the bylaws grant workers the ability to purchase a separate class of worker shares in the business, which would allow employees who buy in to leverage about 10 percent ownership of the business. The model also guarantees worker representation on the board. The proposed revision would allow workers to purchase...

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Environment N.C. report to slam Duke Energy on solar power

Posted By on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 2:31 PM

To quote the Friends theme, Duke Energy, "it hasn't been your day, your week, your month or even your year." Sorry, the entire show's on Netflix these days. Environment N.C., an environmental advocacy nonprofit, says it will release a report Thursday detailing the national "network of billionaires, utilities and fossil fuel front groups" fighting solar energy growth in North Carolina.  "It's important for the public to understand the aggressiveness with which they are lobbying all across the country, not just in North Carolina," Environment N.C.'s Rachel Morales, clean energy organizer for the group, told the Indy Tuesday. Duke Energy—which...

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Report touts the housing benefits of inclusionary zoning

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 1:24 PM

We've written extensively in these pages about the Triangle's affordable housing struggles. Chapel Hill is still waiting for the fruits of its 2008 inclusionary zoning ordinance, a policy that requires new developments to include affordable housing components or make a payment in lieu. Durham doesn't seem quite sure how it will approach this issue. Leaders in Raleigh have been cool to the idea of an inclusionary zoning policy from the start. But a recent report from the Massachusetts-based Lincoln Institute of Land Policy throws the thinktank's support behind Chapel Hill. The report, released Thursday, argues that the zoning policy has...

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Monday, September 21, 2015

With the election looming, Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town shuns incumbents in its endorsements

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 4:06 PM

No big surprises today, as the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, better known as CHALT, announced its formal endorsements in the town's races this fall.  The grassroots group, which has hinged its platform on criticism of the Town Council and Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, endorsed a spate of challengers for the November election, shunning incumbents altogether.  The organization chose Pam Hemminger, a former county commissioner and school board member, in the race for mayor. Hemminger is running against Kleinschmidt and challenger Gary Kahn, who the Indy profiled this month, for the mayor's seat. CHALT has focused its outreach on...

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Another North Carolina county moves to pass fracking moratorium

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 1:26 PM

Chatham and Lee counties may soon have company in their attempts to take advantage of a loophole in the state's fracking law. With Chatham approving a temporary moratorium on drilling last month and Lee County considering a similar ban on Monday, leaders in rural Stokes County near the N.C.-Virginia border may do the same.  Per the Winston-Salem Journal, county commissioners in Stokes deliberated Monday about passing a three-year drilling moratorium. As the Indy reported last week, state law forbids outright bans on drilling, but says nothing of temporary moratoriums.  Stokes commissioners set a public hearing for Sept. 28 to consider...

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Environment N.C. report bullish on N.C. solar power

Posted By on Fri, Sep 11, 2015 at 1:40 PM

Just in time for legislators' ongoing discussion over rolling back renewable energy tax credits, environmentalists are pushing back. Hard. On Thursday, the nonprofit Environment N.C. and a couple of legislators, a Republican and a Democrat, released a report that touts North Carolina's vast potential for solar energy production. The report ranked the state fourth nationally for total solar electric capacity, and ninth per capita. This may come as a surprise, but only California, Arizona and New Jersey have more capacity for solar production today.  Don't thank North Carolina's omnipresent sunshine. Thank state leaders who rolled out a system of tax...

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

On Labor Day, what's wrong with labor in North Carolina?

Posted By on Tue, Sep 8, 2015 at 12:35 PM

Labor Day's come and gone. If you listen to some economists, so has the recession. But many are probably wondering when that message will get to them and their paychecks.  Over the holiday weekend, the left-leaning nonprofit N.C. Justice Center released a scathing report on the state of North Carolina labor. Key points? The unionization rate of N.C. workers is now just 1.9 percent, the lowest in the country. More than 60 percent of workers in the state are without employer pension plans. About 1.2 million workers do not have paid sick leave. More than 11 percent of the labor...

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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Environmentalists push back against freeze on solar tax credits

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2015 at 11:56 AM

With the state's lawmakers considering plans to reduce or eliminate solar tax credits, environmentalists and some legislators are pushing back.  Environment N.C., a statewide nonprofit that focuses on environmental preservation, will release a report Thursday called "Lighting the Way." The report will highlight the state's "progress in solar energy innovation," said Rachel Morales, spokeswoman for the group. The legislative discussion about solar tax credits is particularly compelling today, as the U.S. Environmental Protection agency has ordered North Carolina to reduce its carbon emissions by 36 percent by 2030. This leads to all sorts of grousing about the EPA, which hasn't...

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Finger-pointing over Duke Energy continues

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2015 at 1:06 PM

Resume the finger-pointing.  Days after both the N.C. Department of Environment  and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) accused each other of being too cozy with Duke Energy, the war of words begins anew.  Today, SELC, which is representing a host of citizens groups fighting Duke Energy over coal ash in court, reports that it has filed an official response in state court to Duke Energy's "attempt to block interviews of its employees under oath and obtainment of information related to its coal ash pollution." SELC writes in its brief that Duke Energy and DENR...

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