The Morning Roundup: Bye-Bye, Millions of Dollars! We'll Miss You! | News
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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Bye-Bye, Millions of Dollars! We'll Miss You!

Posted by on Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 7:48 AM

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Good morning, folks. 

Tuesday's news, as usual, is mostly about a declining North Carolina in a post-HB 2 world.

1. Quadruple losses: That's what the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reports for Wake County in the last seven days, thanks to guess what.

From The News & Observer:

The visitors bureau reported April 11 that four groups had canceled plans to hold events in Wake – pulling more than $732,000 in estimated spending – because of House Bill 2, which some say discriminates against the transgender community, gays and lesbians.

Two other events have been canceled, and another has been scaled back since then, the bureau reported in an update Monday. The bureau estimates that the changes cost the county an additional $2.4 million in economic spending, bringing the total of estimated losses to $3.1 million because of HB2.

Meanwhile, in Durham....

2. Duke University's leaders call for the repeal of HB 2. As a private institution, Duke is not required to enforce the discriminatory law. The university already released a statement last month to assure students that “activities on its campus will not be impacted by a new state law that prevents local governments from opening bathrooms for people to use based on their gender identity. Duke University values every individual. We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion, which makes us a better and stronger community. For that reason, we deplore any effort to deny any person the protection of the law because of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

As reported by The Washington Post, Monday's statement from Duke focused on HB2's economic consequences for North Carolina and its universities. 

Three officials — university President Richard Brodhead, Provost Sally Kornbluth and Chancellor for Health Affairs A. Eugene Washington — wrote, in part:  “Scholars from states and municipalities that have imposed bans on government travel to North Carolina have been unable to travel to Duke to continue vital ongoing research partnerships or attend academic conferences. Prospective students, faculty and staff, as well as Duke alumni planning visits to campus, have voiced concerns about whether they will find a hospitable environment in North Carolina.”
The signers of the statement end by urging "a full repeal of HB2."


3. Gender compliance officers are hired in Oriental. OK, not really. That's just a satirical story published by the local TownDock.net blog, and it's become a social media hit.

WRAL took notice:

TownDock.net focuses mostly on local weather reports, events and comings and goings in this soundside community. But in a "world exclusive news extra," Town Dock detailed the challenge for the community's sole public bathroom once HB2 dictated that "users of public restrooms use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate."

Town Dock's parody claimed that Gov. Pat McCrory had approved a $6 million program so that communities could hire "Gender Compliance Officers" to make sure the law is enforced.

The article includes photos of "Compliance Officer Kim Daniels" at work checking birth certificates and, for those who can't produce them, performing a more intimate verification before users can step into the bathroom.
Funny stuff. Here's a link to the original post.


4. " A Jesus man." That's the kinda dude that turns on "Duck Dynasty" dum-dum Phil Robertson. Therefore, that makes Phil the kinda guy of whose jib evangelist Franklin Graham likes the cut.

You see, there was this big NASCAR race in Texas recently, and ... aw, crap, let's just let The Charlotte Observer tell the stupid story:

The North Carolina-based Graham has come to the defense of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson. The reality TV show’s patriarch is getting some heat for using his prayer before a recent NASCAR race to call for America to elect a Christian man president this year. Or, as he put it, “I pray Father that we put a Jesus man in the White House.”
I pray Father that we put a Jesus man in the White House.

That's how Redneck Tarzan said it. Verrrrrr-fuggin'-batim. 

OK, we're gonna need some music to set the proper mood for the rest of this "news" item.


Yep. That works.

So, anyway, journalists who cover racing complained about the religious bigotry and unwelcome political speechmaking at an event attended by people of all (or no) faiths, as well as Democrats. (It's also noted that one Dem candidate for president is Jewish, and the other is a woman, so, no "Jesus man" there).

Enter Franklin Graham to the rescue, against the lib persecutors of good Christians like Phil.

“The Name of Jesus has been controversial for 2,000 years,” Graham wrote. “Phil Robertson, ‘the Duck Commander,’ spoke in Jesus’ Name at last week’s NASCAR race, and liberals immediately jumped to say the sport needed to ban the opening prayer altogether. Are you kidding?”

Graham continued: “Phil is right when he prayed for America to get back to God. He said, ‘I pray Father that we don’t forget you brought us – you. Our faith in the blood of Jesus and his resurrection. Help us, father, to get back to that.’ Pray with me that this nation will turn back to Almighty God!”


OK, Franklin. You got your name in the news again. Well-played, sir. Now why don't you and them Robertson boys go ride off into the sunset. Or hell. Either one.

Yeah, yeah, that was dumb. But hey, you try to find a North Carolina-related news story these days that's not about HB 2. Just try.

Oh, wait. Here's one:

5. North Carolina is in Scientific American magazine! And not in a flattering way!  

It's a story about the effects of Duke Energy coal ash contamination in the town of Dukeville. It begins in the household of the Grahams — mom, dad and two kids.
The ordinary routines of the Graham household had been disrupted by vanadium, which can cause nausea, diarrhea and cramps. In animal studies, vanadium has caused decreased red blood cell counts, elevated blood pressure and neurological effects.
... State officials had discovered vanadium in the Graham’s well water at an estimated concentration of 14 parts per billion, more than 45 times the state screening level of 0.3 ppb—a threshold set by health officials to warn well owners of potential risks. 
And the Grahams weren’t alone. Laboratory tests showed 74 wells in the tiny Dukeville community in Salisbury, North Carolina, exceeded state or federal thresholds. Across the state, 424 households received similar do-not-drink notifications, Department of Environmental Quality Assistant Secretary Tom Reeder said in January.

Duke Energy's response? Denial.

The company has been supplying affected residents with bottled water in order, it says, to offer neighbors peace of mind. But Duke has denied responsibility for polluting wells in Dukeville, saying the contaminants are naturally occurring. Meanwhile, state officials have offered conflicting messages about the safety of well water.
Conflicting messages?  Why would that be?

Many high-ranking state officials have had close relationships to Duke Energy, including North Carolina’s governor, Pat McCrory, who worked for the company for nearly three decades.

Oh, right.

And now, since you won't be seeing these guys in your state any time soon, let's have Boston play you into this new day. OK, guys, take it away-aaaay-AAAAAAY:


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