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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Morning Roundup: “Some Have Called Our State an Embarrassment”

Posted by on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 at 8:20 AM

Happy Wednesday, all.

Except it’s not a happy Wednesday for Pat McCrory. Actually, it hasn’t been a very happy week for him at all—ever since the legislature rammed through and he signed HB 2—what with the denunciations from business leaders, the protests in the streets, condemnations from various city officials, the “fact-check” that went nowhere, and the decisions of several state and municipal governments to ban publicly funded travel to North Carolina

So Pat, under fire, released this five-minute video yesterday, railing against “politicians who have exploited differences and divided people”—by which he presumably does not mean the Republicans who decided to make an election-year punching bag out of the trans community, which of course has nothing to do with politics. You can watch the whole thing here. 


Or you can watch our specially made TL;DR (and probably more accurate) version here. 

Wow, really honest confession from Governor Pat McCrory today!

A video posted by INDY Week (@indyweek) on


All right, let’s see what else is going on in the world today. 

1. Antonin Scalia’s Ghost scores a big win for unions

By dying—and thus leaving a Supreme Court evenly divided by liberal and conservative factions—Scalia managed to finally do labor a solid. There was a big case headed to the court over whether a California teachers union could compel teachers who object to the union’s political activities to pay dues. If the court had ruled—5–4, as everyone expected—that this was an unconstitutional abridgment of free speech, it was have been a devastating blow for a labor movement that is … well, less robust than it once was. 

But without Scalia, the court deadlocked 4–4, which meant the decision of a lower court in favor of the unions, stands, maintaining a thirty-nine-year precedent. 

In the clearest sign yet of the impact of Justice Antonin Scalia's death, U.S. labor unions scored a major victory Tuesday with a tie vote in a high-profile Supreme Court case they had once seemed all but certain to lose.

The 4-4 split, in a case that sharply divided the court's liberal union supporters and their conservative opponents, demonstrated how much is riding on President Barack Obama's effort to replace Scalia with a judge who could tilt the balance on the high court for years to come. Senate Republicans say they won't consider any nomination until a new president takes office.

The vacancy helped the liberals this time. The deadlocked vote came in a case that considered whether unions representing government employees can collect fees from workers who choose not to join. California teachers backed by a conservative group said being forced to pay union fees violated the free-speech rights of nonmembers who disagree with the union's policy positions.

The split vote left in place an appeals court ruling that upheld the collection of "fair share" fees from nonmembers.

The result was an unlikely reprieve for organized labor. It had seemed virtually certain that the high court would rule 5-4 to overturn a system that's been in place nearly 40 years. But the court now is operating with only eight justices after the Feb. 13 death of Scalia, who had been expected to rule against the unions.
2. Durham names its two finalists for police chief. 

The two finalists for Durham police chief are law enforcement veterans who have remained professional under pressure, City Manager Tom Bonfield said Tuesday.

The finalists are Deputy Chief Cerelyn J. Davis, who serves over the Strategy and Special Projects Division of the Atlanta Police Department, and Maj. Michael J. Smathers, who oversees the Field Services Group of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Davis oversees several units including project management, public affairs and crime analysis. As a lieutenant, she served as the personnel commander, public affairs manager, and executive assistant to the chief of police. She was also appointed commander of the department’s Homeland Security Unit and oversaw the Intelligence and Organized Crime Unit, Gun and Gang Unit, and Cyber Crimes Unit, among other duties.

Smathers oversees the Field Services Group consisting of 315 police officers. While serving as captain of the Charlotte Eastway Patrol Division, in one of the city’s most most ethnically diverse areas, he received a community policing award for leadership and the division’s achievement of reducing crime, including closing a crime-plagued hotel, while successfully managing two federal crime-fighting grants, according to a city news release.
We’ll have more to say about these candidates later, but for now, they’ll meet the public at a community forum on April 6 at City Hall, from 7 p.m.–8 p.m. 

3. Cornbread, in black and white

Nice read out of The Charlotte Observer on the racial divide over whether or not to use sugar in cornbread. 

If you stop by La’Wan’s Soul Food Restaurant in south Charlotte for collards and macaroni & cheese, there’s something important on your plate.

It’s a small cornbread muffin. Soft and tender, almost cake-like, with a bit of chewiness to the crust and a flavor that’s just a little sweet.

Now drive over to Lupie’s Cafe on Monroe Road and you’ll get a big square of cornbread, 3 inches across, white with a yellow tinge. Firm, almost coarse, with a crisp top.

Sweet? Not a bit. It’s defiantly not sweet.

La’Wan’s corn muffin and Lupie’s cornbread are humble things. But they represent something deeper: The dividing line between black Southerners and white ones. As examples of one of the defining staples of Southern food, they also are a marker of food history that speaks volumes about origins and identity, about family and what we hold dear.

It also raises a question: So many Southern food traditions are shared by both races. Most Southerners, black and white, revere fried chicken, pursue pork barbecue and exalt their grandmothers’ garden vegetables. So why is there such a fundamental difference between two styles of one basic bread?

4. And, finally, the Republican Party’s ongoing slow-motion implosion

Will they or won't they? Mostly, they won't.

The three Republican presidential candidates aren't committing to supporting whomever the party chooses as its standard-bearer in the fall campaign. That could make for a messy and fractured GOP nominating convention in July.

Early in the campaign Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich indicated they would support the eventual nominee. The three were asked about that again Tuesday night in town hall appearances in Milwaukee hosted by CNN.

Trump said he was rescinding his promise because "I have been treated very unfairly." He listed the Republican National Committee, the Republican Party and party establishment among those he believes have wronged him. On ABC's "Good Morning America" on Wednesday, Trump said, "I only want the people to support me. ...I will take my chances with the people."

"I'm not in the habit of supporting someone who attacks my wife and children," Cruz said, referring to Trump's jabs at his wife, Heidi. Cruz said if Trump were the nominee that would hand the election to Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Also in from the GOP Hilarity Desk: Trump’s campaign manager got arrested yesterday over that incident with a Breitbart reporter a few weeks back. Trump, of course, is standing by his man regardless. And, fun fact: that campaign manager is now being defended by a former U.S. attorney who had to step down from that post after (allegedly!) biting a stripper. The company you keep, man. 

That’s all for this morning. See you tomorrow, same time, same channel. 

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