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Monday, June 6, 2016

The Morning Roundup: The Greatest

Posted by on Mon, Jun 6, 2016 at 8:32 AM

Good morning, congratulations on surviving that hellish nightmare on Saturday. Let's get right to it.
  • Ira Rosenberg / Library of Congress

1. RIP Muhammad Ali.

An American legend passed away Friday night in Scottsdale, Arizona at the age of 74. There's nothing I could say that hasn't been already said by the man himself, his friends, and/or people much smarter than me, so here's a couple of things about Ali I read over the weekend that stuck out.

The Nation
'I Just Wanted to Be Free’: The Radical Reverberations of Muhammad Ali, by Dave Zirin

What Muhammad Ali did—in a culture that worships sports and violence as well as a culture that idolizes black athletes while criminalizing black skin—was redefine what it meant to be tough and collectivize the very idea of courage. Through the Champ’s words on the streets and deeds in the ring, bravery was not only standing up to Sonny Liston. It was speaking truth to power, no matter the cost. He was a boxer whose very presence and persona taught a simple and dangerous lesson: “real men” fight for peace and “real women” raise their voices and join the fray. Or as Bryant Gumbel said years ago, “Muhammad Ali refused to be afraid. And being that way, he gave other people courage.”
The Atlantic: Embracing the Greatness, by Vann R. Newkirk II

Understanding Ali is vital in figuring out how to honor him. He was a man who stood against a racist and militarist state. It is not possible for warmongers to celebrate him in good faith, nor it is possible for a man who threatens ­to ban Muslims from entering the country to do so. It is not possible for people who condemn Serena Williams for arrogance to fairly eulogize Ali. It is not possible for those who are “colorblind” or see blackness as a thing to be “transcended” to truly see a man who saw his blackness as a central and enduring part of his identity. And it is not possible for those turn a blind eye to America’s white supremacist sins to truly ponder the greatness of the Greatest.

And finally, from the man himself, in a 1975 interview with Playboy:
I’ll tell you how I’d like to be remembered: as a black man who won the heavyweight title and who was humorous and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him and who helped as many of his people as he could–financially and also in their fight for freedom, justice and equality. As a man who wouldn’t hurt his people’s dignity by doing anything that would embarrass them. As a man who tried to unite his people through the faith of Islam that he found when he listened to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. And if all that’s asking too much, then I guess I’d settle for being remembered only as a great boxing champion who became a preacher and a champion of his people. And I wouldn’t even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was.
Ali will be buried on Friday in his hometown of Louisville. This year is just awful. 

2. A lot of transit stuff.

Remember how the General Assembly was finally going to lift that stupid cap on funding for the Durham-Chapel Hill light rail project? Yeah, not so fast. From Colin Campbell at the N&O:

But while eliminating the current cap, the Senate budget provision would also add new restrictions: Each commuter-rail or light-rail project couldn’t receive more than 10 percent of its total funding from the state. And the Durham-Chapel Hill project wouldn’t automatically get funding – it would have to wait two years and go through the Department of Transportation’s prioritization process again.

“It lifted the cap but set a cap,” said Sen. Wesley Meredith, a Fayetteville Republican and a Senate transportation budget writer. Meredith said he didn’t know the rationale for the new cap; he said the provision was developed by Sen. Bill Rabon of Southport and Sen. Kathy Harrington of Gastonia.

Why is it so hard for these people to do the right thing?

In some better news, the Wake County Board of Commissioners are voting on the Wake County transit plan and to put it on the November ballot as a voter referendum. You can read the $2.3 billion plan here
And finally, our own David Hudnall reports that GoTriangle is expanding service from Carrboro to Durham:
“We’re pleased to extend service to Carrboro, giving passengers a one seat ride to and from Durham,” GoTriangle general manager Jeff Mann says in a release. “Carrboro has been a great partner in developing this service and I expect the peak commuting hour service will be well received.” 
3. More police in Southeast Raleigh.

In the wake of the death of Akiel Denkins, Raleigh city leaders are finally starting to talk to residents who have real concerns about police accountability. In a story in yesterday's News and Observer, the Raleigh Police Department says it's making a good faith effort in having a group of cops walk the beat instead of patrolling solo in their cars. 

Capt. Justin Matthews, commander of the downtown district that includes South Park, said he wanted the beat officers to work together “to give them more time and more availability to address some of the problems down there, to establish and deepen relationships.

“That’s really the foundation of it,” he said, “really basic beat officer patrolling. Getting out of their cars and engaging the community beyond law enforcement.”


Matthews thinks officers walking and talking with residents will enable the department to help them address other concerns like Mrs. Jones’ fence, abandoned homes in the neighborhood, or helping the neighbor who can no longer mow the grass. He said beat officers will pass information along to other city departments, like inspections or parks and recreation, but he noted that sometimes police may be able to encourage a neighbor to help.

Not everyone's happy about it, though. "Will these officers reflect the community?” Akiba Byrd of the Police Accountability Community Taskforce asked in the story. "“Are they from the community? Will they live in the community? Will they take into account the history of the community and the culture that exists there? Or will they just police the community?”

4. Raleigh's best in food and drink are doing a pretty pricey fundraiser for Roy Cooper.

From our own Grayson Haver Currin on Friday:
Chef and charity powerhouse Ashley Christensen and philanthropist and wine- and art collector Eliza Kraft Olander have teamed to present a masterful suite of chefs, bartenders, brewers, and sommeliers at Kraft’s North Raleigh estate Thursday, June 9. Billed as a “tasting reception,” the event is a fundraiser for Roy Cooper’s governor run, with tickets starting at a flat grand. 

The talent on tap is, well, top-notch, from Christensen and Mateo’s Matt Kelly to Chef & the Farmer’s Vivian Howard and Panciuto’s Aaron Vandermark.Representatives from Dashi and Bida Manda, Fiction Kitchen and Five Star are all on board, as are bartenders and brewers from the likes of Slim’s and Stanbury, Foundation and Ponysaurus. Bill Smith will be there, as will Phoebe Lawless and Karen and Ben Barker. It’s safe to say that Cooper has more James Beard-nominated boosters on tap than the current governor.
Let's hope it helps!

That's it. Don't forget to vote on Tuesday

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