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Friday, June 17, 2016

The Morning Roundup: Lebron Doesn’t Quit, Bernie Almost Does

Posted by on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 7:45 AM

Happy Friday, everyone. Let’s make this short and sweet and get to the weekend already. 

1. Bernie Sanders didn’t quite concede last night

The Vermont senator didn’t officially quit or endorse Hillary Clinton, but in a message to supporters released last night, he said he’ll soon be joining the fight to defeat Trump (who, frankly, is doing a pretty bang-up job defeating himself, but the more, the merrier, I guess). “Our vision for the future of this country is not some fringe idea,” he said. 

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Thursday in an address to his supporters that he will work with Hillary Clinton to transform the Democratic Party, adding that his "political revolution" must continue and ensure the defeat of Republican Donald Trump.

Sanders said in a capstone livestream address to his political followers that the major task they face is to "make certain" Trump is defeated. The Vermont senator said he plans to begin his role in that process "in a very short period of time."

"But defeating Donald Trump cannot be our only goal. We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become," Sanders said, pointing to his 1,900 delegates at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

Sanders spoke from his Vermont hometown a week after Clinton secured enough pledged delegates and superdelegates to become the presumptive nominee. He did not concede the race, nor did he refer to Clinton as the likely nominee, instead offering a lengthy list of policy proposals he hopes to see approved by the party.

2. An anniversary we’d rather not remember. 

We’re now five days removed from the tragedy in Orlando, and this morning we’re exactly one year removed from the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina. The Associated Press takes a look at how things have—and haven’t—changed. 

The names of Confederate generals still adorn street signs in Charleston's public housing projects, and a heroic waterfront statue dedicated to the Confederate Defenders of Charleston still faces Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

Just down from the Emanuel AME church — where nine black parishioners studying their Bibles were gunned down one year ago — a statue of Vice President John C. Calhoun, a staunch defender of slavery, towers above a park.

After the June 17, 2015, massacre, South Carolina lawmakers did what many people thought was impossible to achieve and removed the Confederate flag from the Statehouse grounds in Columbia. Across the country, as far away as Alaska, officials moved to strip streets, college dormitories and even lakes of the names of Confederates, secessionists and public figures who championed segregation.

But a year later, little has changed in Charleston, the city where tens of thousands of enslaved Africans first set foot in North America.

3. Lebron James and company force a game 7 in California.  

click to enlarge lebron.jpg
From the edge of elimination to the brink of history.

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers have pushed the NBA Finals to their limit. Game 7 is necessary.

James scored 41 points, delivering another magnificent performance with no margin for error, Kyrie Irving added 23 and the Cavs sent the finals packing for California by beating the rattled Golden State Warriors 115-101 on Thursday night to even this unpredictable series and force a decisive finale.

Cleveland saved its season for the second time in four days and will head back to Oakland's Oracle Arena for Sunday's climactic game with a chance to become the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, and give this title-starved city its first major sports championship since Dec. 27, 1964.

"One more game left," James said. "I'll play it anywhere."

4. Wildin Acosta is in solitary, and his supporters aren’t happy about it. 

Wildin, the Durham team scooped up after immigration officials and held at a facility in Georgia, is now in solitary at the private, for-profit prison where he’s being detained while his case plays out.

Prison officials placed Acosta in solitary confinement on June 7. This week, U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield and other supporters said they think prison officials put him there as retaliation for being an outspoken, high-profile detainee.

“In our experience, a sentence of more than 30 days in solitary is rare and overly punitive,” said Julie Mao, an enforcement fellow with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild. The nonprofit in Washington, D.C., works with attorneys who defend immigrants facing deportation.

Mao added that sentencing Acosta to solitary confinement the day before he was set to graduate could have a debilitating effect on the student.

“The timing couldn’t be worse,” she said. “Moreover, the severity of this sentence suggests that Wildin will continue to be the subject of increased surveillance and retaliation” by prison personnel and federal immigration authorities.

Butterfield, a Democrat from Wilson whose district includes Durham, echoed Mao’s sentiments in a letter Tuesday to Sarah Saldana, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

5. Orange County bends to teacher-pay demands. 

Last month we told you about the throngs of parents who gathered in the Orange County Board of Commissioners’ chambers to demand better teacher pay. The county manager wanted to commit $2.8 million to improving teachers’ salaries, but the two school districts asked for a combined $8.3 million. 

It seems they’ve met in the middle. 

The Orange County Board of Commissioners tentatively approved a budget Thursday giving $5.4 million more to schools next year – more than initially proposed but $2.8 million less than requested.

The $242.3 million 2016-17 budget includes a general fund, or operating, budget of $215.8 million. It uses $12.5 million from the county’s fund balance – an account use to manage cash flow throughout the year and for emergencies – to cover an expected shortfall and boost schools.

The board is expected to approve the final budget Tuesday without raising property tax rates. The county tax rate will remain 87.8 cents per $100 in property value, generating a $2,634 county tax bill for the owner of property valued at $300,000.
That’s it for this week, guys. We’ll see you on the other side. 

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