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Friday, February 24, 2017

Democracy in Crisis: Stoned Reflections on a Day at CPAC

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 3:17 PM

I am stoned at CPAC. I am in hell. Here’s how it happened: Shortly after Steve Bannon laid out his vision of nationalism and the deconstruction of government on the first day of CPAC, I was writing a story over a beer at the National Press Club. On the television was Sean Spicer, who said the regime would likely start enforcing federal anti-pot laws in states that had voted for recreational marijuana. Never mind that he had just invoked “states’ rights” as a rationale for refusing to protect trans students. Never mind, that world-class racist Jeff Sessions would be the...

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Democracy in Crisis Podcast: What Can the Classic Political Film The Battle of Algiers Teach Us About Resistance Today?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 3:09 PM

In the latest episode of Democracy in Crisis, we hear a conversation between Sohail Daulatzai and Brandon Soderberg about Daulatzai's book, Fifty Years of The Battle of Algiers: Past As Prologue. They discuss the lasting legacy of the classic film, its different uses and interpretations through history, and what it can teach us today about resistance, neocolonialism, and counterinsurgency. Sohail Daulatzai is associate professor of film and media studies and associate professor in the African American Studies School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. Brandon Soderberg is chief adviser and editor at large for Democracy in Crisis and...

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Updated: Jewish Day School Evacuated Amid Bomb Threat. Police Clear Scene.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 11:29 AM

A concerned parent who received an automated message from Lerner Community Jewish Day School told the INDY moments ago that the Durham school was being evacuated amid a bomb threat. The auto-call went out at 10:58 this morning. The incident comes amid a wave of similar threats made against American Jews since Donald Trump was sworn in as the nation's forty-fifth president. From NPR: Several Jewish community centers across the U.S. were targeted by bomb threats on Monday, according to the JCC Association of North America, in the fourth wave of such threats in the past two months. In total,...

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Durham Mayor Moves Forward with HB 2 Compromise the City Council Already Rejected

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 3:22 PM

Durham Mayor William Bell is sending a House Bill 2 repeal compromise to the governor’s office─despite council members’ rejection of the same proposal two weeks ago. Bell announced during the council’s meeting Monday that he would be sending a letter to Governor Roy Cooper and Republican leaders Senator Phil Berger and Representative Tim Moore. He said he plans to mail the letter today, copying Durham city officials, the North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, and Representative Darren Jackson and Senator Dan Blue, who introduced an HB 2 repeal bill last week in concert with Cooper. Bell’s decision to send the...

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Cooper, Stein Move to Ditch Voting Law Appeal; Berger, Moore Not Happy About That

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2017 at 2:25 PM

North Carolina's governor and attorney general are taking steps to withdraw a request for the U.S. Supreme Court to review the state's 2013 voting law, which was struck down by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last year. Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein, both Democrats, announced the move this morning. “We need to make it easier for people to exercise their right to vote, not harder, and I will not continue to waste time and money appealing this unconstitutional law,” Cooper said in a statement. “It’s time for North Carolina to stop fighting for this unfair, unconstitutional law...

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Democracy in Crisis: Trump’s Press Conference Shows Reality Is His Real Opponent

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 12:49 PM

For a moment earlier this week, it seemed that the regime might have to come to terms with the reality the rest of us share. But Trump’s Thursday press conference reaffirmed the notion that objective reality is his real enemy. As the story of Mike Flynn’s ignominious resignation broke, the far right immediately said it was an establishment coup initiated by chief of staff Reince Priebus. They felt like KellyAnne Conway and the Steves (Bannon and Miller) would be next. They understood that if Trump conceded anything to reality, the entire edifice would crumble. He won the campaign on a...

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Democracy in Crisis Podcast: Donald Trump’s Immigration Crackdown

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 12:01 PM

On this week’s episode, hosts Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner talk with reporter Aura Bogado about a powerful profile she wrote in Teen Vogue about fourteen-year-old Jackie Rayos-Garcia, whose mother, Guadalupe García de Rayos, was detained while talking to immigration officials and deported—perhaps the first deportation under the Trump administration. In the second segment, they hear from The Wire creator David Simon, Marielena Hincapié from the National Immigration Law Center, historian Taylor Branch, activist DeRay Mckesson, Sonia Kumar of the ACLU, and musician Steve Earle, all of whom spoke at City of Immigrants, a fundraising event sponsored by Simon’s production...

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Democracy in Crisis: In Which the Far Right Freaks Out Over Michael Flynn

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 4:07 PM

The far far right started freaking late last night when “lock-her-up” chanting former general Michael Flynn resigned as National Security Adviser in the wake of revelations that he discussed loosening sanctions with a Russian ambassador while Barack Obama was still president. Mike Cernovich, one of those DeploraBallers whom others on the far right sometimes like to call a cuck, started the hysteria almost immediately after the announcement, tweeting: “The coup is on, Flynn resigned. Bannon, Kellyanne, and Miller next on the chopping block.” A few minutes later, far-right cop-worshipper John Cardillo also used the C word. “Flynn was the...

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Cooper Offers HB 2 Compromise. It's a Bad Deal.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 12:01 PM

We supported Roy Cooper during his gubernatorial run. Sure, the INDY endorsing Pat McCrory was never a viable option, but we believed as much in the man running against him as we did in the notion that even one more day of McCrory in the Executive Mansion would spell more disaster for our state. With that said, the governor made a misstep when he released his "compromise" on HB 2—a three-step plan that would, hooray, bring basketball games back to North Carolina (as if that's really the point)—this morning. The truth is, nothing short of a clean repeal makes sense. Equality...

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Democracy in Crisis: Trump’s Tough-on-Crime Week

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 6:30 PM

President Trump met with law enforcement leaders twice this week, saw Jeff Sessions confirmed as top cop, and signed three tough-on-crime executive orders, which were then condemned by an organization composed of some of the nation’s top law enforcement officers. Here’s how Trump’s tough-on-crime week went down: Trump met with law enforcement brass from major cities on Wednesday and said there would be a "zero-tolerance policy for acts of violence against law enforcement," adding that we need “national action” to deal with crime in Chicago and declaring that since drugs are "afflicting our nation like never, ever before," we need...

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions Takes Aim at Transgender Rights

Posted By on Sat, Feb 11, 2017 at 7:14 PM

On the second day of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s tenure, the Justice Department filed a legal brief Friday that represents a beginning to the rollback of protections granted by the Obama administration to the transgender community. The Washington Post published the brief, which seeks to strip people of the right to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity. The Obama administration had argued that right was covered by Title IX. The Trump administration is now arguing that it doesn’t. From The Huffington Post: In a legal brief filed on Friday, the Justice Department rolled back an Obama administration move to...

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NAACP Estimates More Than 80K Turned Out to Protest Trump at the Moral March on Raleigh

Posted By on Sat, Feb 11, 2017 at 4:13 PM

Becky Goldman was born to march. “My parents are animal rights activists and they had a protest sign in my hand since I was in a stroller,” she said. On Saturday, the sign in Goldman’s hand displayed a brief message: “OMG GOP WTF.” It was adorned with the kind of plastic gemstones one buys to glue on a homemade princess wand. Waiting with her friends for Moral March on Raleigh to begin, she was stopped often and asked to pose for a picture.  Goldman flew from Seattle to join her best friend, Fuquay-Varina resident Rachel Weber, for the...

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Durham City Council Moves Forward With Mixed-Income Project Near Durham Station, But Questions Remain

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 at 2:07 PM

A mixed-use, mixed-income housing project next to the Durham Station Transportation Center is moving forward—though it’s unclear how exactly the developers will be able to meet all of the city’s goals and still make the development viable. On Thursday, the Durham City Council voted to move ahead with DHIC Inc. and Self-Help Ventures’ proposal, the only one the city received for the project. In September 2015 the city decided the site should be used for a mix of commercial and housing units, with 80 percent of the apartments set aside for tenants earning less than 60 percent of Durham’s...

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Durham City Council Rejects Mayor Bell’s HB 2 Compromise

Posted By on Thu, Feb 9, 2017 at 3:40 PM

An attempt by Durham Mayor William Bell to compromise with legislators in an effort to get HB 2 repealed died during a city council work session today. The suggestion came after the council heard comments from members of the advocacy group Open for All NC calling on the city to take action. Bell suggested that Durham partner with other cities to again urge legislators to repeal HB 2 but also promise not to pass its own antidiscrimination ordinance—that cities other than Charlotte could still pass their own antidiscrimination ordinances was a cited by lawmakers as a reason for not repealing...

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The Democracy in Crisis Podcast: How Should the Media Handle Trump

Posted By on Thu, Feb 9, 2017 at 10:56 AM

On this week’s edition of the podcast, hosts Baynard Woods and Marc Steiner speak with Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler: The Search for the Origins of His Evil, which includes a chapter on the Munich Post, a German newspaper that criticized Adolf Hitler during his rise to power, until it was shut down by the Nazis in 1933 and its journalists thrown in concentration camps. (In this week’s Democracy in Crisis column, Baynard tackles the relationship between the adulterous, thrice-married President Trump and the religious right, which was once very concerned about public officials’ morality.) ...

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Burr, Tillis Vote to Gag Elizabeth Warren for Reading a Letter from MLK’s Widow About Trump’s Allegedly Racist Attorney General Nominee

Posted By on Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 12:15 PM

Last night, during a debate over President Trump’s nomination of U.S. Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III of Alabama—a man deemed, in a bipartisan vote of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to be too racist for the federal bench in 1986—to be attorney general, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren read a letter from Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, written in objection to Sessions’s elevation to the bench. Here is the entire letter, plus the ten-page statement King submitted in 1986, that Warren thought was relevant to Sessions’s nomination to the top law enforcement position in the country, in which...

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Durham Council Considers Ending Primaries, Citywide Elections for Ward Representatives

Posted By on Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 4:58 PM

The Durham City Council has again revived talks of eliminating primary elections for council seats and instead holding a runoff if the general election doesn't produce a clear winner. But residents who spoke during a public hearing on the issue Monday seem more interested in overhauling the city's ward system.  According to city attorney Patrick Baker, state law mandates that ward representatives should be elected only by voters in their ward. Durham's system, in which ward members are elected citywide, was approved as an exception to the law. Baker said the city would need to amend its charter to...

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After Eight Years, Durham Cops and Firefighters Finally Get a Raise

Posted By on Tue, Feb 7, 2017 at 7:48 AM

Durham’s boys in blue are about to get some more green. The Durham City Council on Monday night approved a pay increase for Durham officers and firefighters boost recruitment and retention. It’s the first pay adjustment in eight years for the city’s first responders. The change shifts the city’s salary schedule to be more competitive with other cities. Police recruits will see their pay rise from $33,000 to $37,029 and fire recruits from $33,000 to $34,388. With 482 police officers and 298 firefighters, the increase will cost the city about $3.6 million annually. The city began looking at raising police...

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Senate Democrats File Bill to Fully Repeal HB 2

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 7:41 PM

Senate Democrats filed a bill this afternoon to fully repeal HB 2, making good on vows to prioritize repealing the deeply unpopular and divisive bill this legislative session. "It's obvious we need to repeal HB 2," said Senator Jeff Jackson (D-Mecklenburg), one of the bill's three Democratic sponsors. "If we do it will be the biggest economic development deal of the year." The bill, however, will likely face an uphill battle. Today's news comes after legislators failed to repeal the so-called bathroom bill in a contentious special session at the end of December, a peak moment of North Carolina political...

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Protest Planned for Tonight at Duke

Posted By on Tue, Jan 31, 2017 at 10:45 AM

More than three hundred people have, via Facebook, expressed interest in attending a "No Wall, No Ban" rally on the steps of the iconic Duke Chapel this evening—the latest in a series of gatherings that have unfolded locally in response to President Donald Trump's rhetoric and executive orders. Here are all the details, in case you'd like to be there: Organizers of the event say it is part of "Resist Trump Tuesday," which, frankly, has a nice ring to it. Here is a description, in the group's own words: See you there....

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Lawyers Fight for Travelers Trapped by Trump's Muslim Ban, Setting Off the First Constitutional Crisis of the New Regime

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 12:38 PM

Editor’s note: A version of this story originally appeared at the website for Democracy in Crisis, a new column covering the Trump administration that will begin running in the INDY this week. Lawyers are huddled up, poring over papers on the floor of Dulles International Airport, outside of Washington, D.C., a couple of hundred feet away from the throngs of protesters cheering, chanting, and welcoming home people coming out of customs from international flights. Since President Trump signed a poorly considered and chaotically implemented executive order banning immigrants, refugees, and even green card holders from seven majority-Muslim countries on...

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The Morning Roundup: Protesters Continue to Fight Trump

Posted By on Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 8:47 AM

Well, it's Monday. 1) All hell is breaking loose ... and it's GLORIOUS. With every stroke of his pen, President Trump is inspiring new protests. And they are "yuge." The current unrest, a reaction to the Friday-news-dump signing of what many equate to a Muslim ban, was felt locally, as roughly fifteen hundred people converged on Raleigh-Durham International Airport to demand that the president rescind his executive order restricting immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. From the INDY: Weary travelers in need of a nicotine fix saw their turf adjacent to Raleigh-Durham International's Terminal 2 swiftly overtaken by more than a...

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Sunday, January 29, 2017

1,500 Protesters Converge on RDU to Protest Trump’s Muslim Ban

Posted By on Sun, Jan 29, 2017 at 9:00 PM

Weary travelers in need of a nicotine fix saw their turf adjacent to Raleigh-Durham International's Terminal 2 swiftly overtaken by more than a thousand fiery demonstrators Sunday. Just after noon, outrage over President Donald Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban,” the executive order Trump signed Friday that banned citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States over the next ninety days, reached its boiling point locally. (The protest at RDU was one of dozens at airports all over the country Sunday.) Though a federal judge blocked deportation of people stranded at airports Saturday evening, anxiety over the executive action, the impending...

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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Protest Planned for This Afternoon at RDU

Posted By on Sat, Jan 28, 2017 at 10:36 PM

One by one, refugees who found asylum in North Carolina spoke to a crowd of hundreds who converged on downtown Durham Friday to declare themselves members of the resistance. Should President Donald Trump build a wall or ban refugees and/or Muslims from entering the United States, they pledged, they would fight him every step of the way. Hours later, the president would sign an executive order that would test their commitment to do just that. Trump essentially banned more than 130 million people—citizens of seven countries he claims have ties to ISIS—from entering the United States with the stroke of...

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

State Senator Receiving Shipments of Lard After Anti-Women's March Tweet

Posted By on Thu, Jan 26, 2017 at 10:26 PM

Apparently, Twitter isn't for everyone ... and state Senator Joyce Krawiec is learning that the hard way. A few days ago, Krawiec, a Republican, thought it would be a good idea to post this. (The tweet was later deleted, but screenshots are forever.) How did the women she insulted respond? Some took to social media to lay into Krawiec. Others, it seems, sent her lard. You read that right. Cases of lard are showing up at the senator's Raleigh office. From the N&O: Amazon shoppers had sent at least 10 boxes of lard to the Yadkin County senator by Thursday...

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