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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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Rolesville Viral Video Triggers Panel on School Policing

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 3:12 PM

One of the final questions in a packed Rolesville town hall on school policing came from a small middle school student named Caleb. In a navy blue jacket, he cautiously stood up and addressed the room full of adults, including the Wake County sheriff and Rolesville mayor. Why, he began, should school resource officers be trained to interact with students of color differently than their peers? “I heard one of you guys say that you have to teach school resource officers how to treat minorities. But why do you have to treat minorities differently than you treat anyone else? Using myself as an example,...

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Michael Peterson, a Convicted Killer, Is a Free Man

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 1:37 PM

Michael Peterson walked out of the Durham County Courthouse on Friday a free man after entering an Alford plea to the charge of voluntary manslaughter in the killing of his wife, Kathleen Peterson, in 2001. The Alford plea allows Peterson, a novelist and former Herald Sun columnist, to accept a guilty verdict without admitting guilt. Convicted of first degree-murder in 2003, Peterson served eight years in prison before that conviction was overturned by a judge in 2011. He has already served ninety-eight months in prison, not including house arrest, more than the eighty-six-month maximum sentence his plea agreement carries. After...

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Trump Administration Just Lifted Protections for Transgender Students. What Does That Mean for North Carolina?

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 4:19 PM

Yesterday, the Trump administration dealt a blow to LGTBQ students and advocates across the country, rescinding Obama-era guidelines for protecting transgender students in public schools. The announcement, which came in a letter (see below) from Department of Justice and the Department of Education officials, said that the administration is withdrawing guidance put forward by the Obama administration to public school systems last May. The Obama administration's guidance, which was legally nonbinding, directed schools to let students use the bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identities. The federal law the Obama White House cited, Title IX, prohibits sex discrimination in...

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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

A Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Just Filed a New HB2 Repeal. What's Next?

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 6:59 PM

Well, here we go again. This afternoon, a group of lawmakers introduced a new bill to repeal HB2 to a swift round of criticism, including from Governor Roy Cooper. One thing to know about the latest attempt at reconciliation, HB 186, is that it's actually a bipartisan effort. The bill was sponsored by two Republicans, Rep. Ted Davis Jr., and Rep. Chuck McGrady, as well as two Democrats, Rep. Marvin Lucas and Rep. Ken Goodman. As written, the bill would repeal HB2 but would prohibit counties and cities from regulating access to public bathrooms. Cities would have to wait 90 days...

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The Durham PD’s Five-Day Report on Kenneth Bailey’s Shooting Is Basically What You’d Expect

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 4:04 PM

Earlier today, the Durham Police Department released its five-day report on the officer-involved shooting that killed a twenty-four-year-old man last week. Kenneth "Simba" Bailey was shot at about 2:20 p.m. on February 15 on Glenbrook Drive, after officers attempted to apprehend him for violating his pre-trial release terms. That night, police chief CJ Davis said Bailey ran from officers and pointed a gun at them, prompting them to fire. Several residents of the Club Boulevard neighborhood, however, told the INDY that Bailey was shot from behind. According to the five-day report, three Selective Enforcement Team officers wearing tactical vests knocked...

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Raleigh Raises Fees on Developers

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 12:11 PM

Representatives of developers maintained at a Tuesday Raleigh City Council meeting that they are already paying plenty in fees to Raleigh, just before council members agreed to proceed with a planned $6 million hike in development services charges that will go into effect in July. Developer Michael Kaney, who served on a committee that advised the city on the new rules, pointed out that new buildings in Raleigh require a number of other payments in addition to those considered as the new fees were being devised. They cover the impact of everything thoroughfares to stormwater, Kaney said. However, the developers'...

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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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Durham Releases Five-Day Report on the Kenneth Bailey Shooting

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2017 at 11:15 AM

Twenty seconds after a Durham police officer radioed that he was engaged in a foot chase, the officer told dispatch, "I've got shots fired. I've got a man down." According to the five-day report just released by city manager Tom Bonfield, there was, over the communication system, no mention of a gun in the hands of Kenneth "Simba" Bailey. Nor was there any mention of police being fired upon. Instead, the initial police report on the incident reported that “The man that was running pulled a gun and was shot by a police officer.” He died at the scene....

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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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Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Mother of Kenneth Bailey, the Man Shot and Killed by Durham Police Wednesday, Asks the Media and Community for Respect

Posted By on Sun, Feb 19, 2017 at 6:15 PM

The mother of a man fatally shot by Durham police has spoken out, asking for respect while the family grieves the death of Kenneth Lee Bailey. Bailey's mother, Louise Pratt, issued a statement Saturday via Walltown Neighborhood Ministries. According to the statement, Bailey grew up in Walltown. The twenty-four-year-old was shot by Durham officers Wednesday in the Club Boulevard neighborhood after police went there to arrest him for violating a pretrial release curfew.  Since the shooting, she writes, “I have learned that people tried to explain my baby's life and death by running a background check. They reported things that were...

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Friday, February 17, 2017

In an Open Letter, 2,943 Fellow Duke Alumni Ask Trump Senior Adviser Stephen Miller How He Became Such a Horrible Person

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 1:50 PM

We’re just going to let this thing speak for itself. To Stephen Miller, Duke University Class of 2007, Our class’s upcoming ten-year reunion serves as an occasion to reflect on how much has changed since we left campus. After graduation, some of us remained in Durham and some of us moved to Dar es Salaam. Some embarked on medical school and some started novels. We can now be found in every type of professional field in every corner of the globe—but no matter who or where we are, we’ve striven to embody the ideals instilled in us by our Duke...

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Durham Projects $4.7M Budget Shortfall, May Hike Property Taxes

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 1:32 PM

The city of Durham is looking at a projected shortfall of $4.7 million as it gets ready to craft a budget for the next fiscal year. The projection is based on expected costs, so depending on what projects are green-lighted before the city officially adopts a budget in June, that figure could change. At a preliminary budget meeting Friday, budget and management services director Bertha Johnson said it would take a property tax increase of 2.47 cents per $100 of property value to fully close that gap, provided no other sources of additional revenue are found. The city's current property...

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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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Durham Police Shooting Update: Cops Were After Kenneth Bailey Because He Missed Curfew; Stepmom Says “He Was Not a Fighter”

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 9:58 AM

If it weren't for the wind, Gloria Bailey might not have caught a final glimpse of her stepson. "You could see his chest and his feet," she says, recalling how the cold air lifted a sheet covering twenty-four-year old Kenneth Bailey's body, briefly revealing the quiet man she’d known since he was four. Bailey, better known as Simba, was shot dead by Durham police Wednesday afternoon while visiting with his family in their home on Glenbrook Drive, in a Durham Housing Authority neighborhood off Club Boulevard. According to the Durham Police Department, officers were looking for Bailey because he had...

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Durham Police Shooting Update: DPD IDs Victim, Officers Involved; Cousin, Neighbors Say He Was Shot From Behind

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 12:54 PM

The Durham Police Department has released the names of a man shot by police Wednesday in northeast Durham, as well as the three officers involved. The DPD confirmed this morning that the man shot was twenty-four-year-old Kenneth Lee Bailey Jr. Officer T.M. Greathouse, Officer A.G. D’Meza and Corporel J.E. Lloyd, all members of the department's Selective Enforcement Team, have been put on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated. According to the department, Greathouse joined the DPD on September 8, 2003, D’Meza on August 21, 2006, and Lloyd on August 17, 2005. The shooting occurred at about two thirty p.m. Wednesday...

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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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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Durham Police Fatally Shoot Black Man in Durham Housing Authority Neighborhood near Club Boulevard

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 7:54 PM

Durham police shot and killed a man Tuesday afternoon on Glenbrook Drive. Few details have been released about the shooting, which drew a crowd of neighbors and others who heard about the shooting on social media. The shooting occurred at about two thirty p.m. in the Durham Housing Authority's Club Boulevard neighborhood. Although police have not yet released the name of the man killed, residents of the neighborhood identified him as Kenny "Simba" Bailey. One resident, who asked only to be identified as Linda, says she was watching television when her boyfriend came in the room and said "the police just...

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Go to Court, Stay Out of Jail

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 at 4:35 PM

Durham County is testing whether reminding people about their upcoming court dates will reduce overcrowding at the county jail. The new notification system will be funded by a $50,000 Safety and Justice Challenge Network Innovation Fund Grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. It will be the only system of its kind in the state, says Gudrun Parmer, director for the Criminal Justice Resource Center, the lead agency on the project. With the grant in, Parmer says Criminal Justice Resource Center staff decided to "do something very different and focus on our court system rather than the jail...

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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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Duke Joins Sixteen Universities in Opposing Trump’s Travel Ban

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 5:20 PM

On Monday, Duke University filed a legal brief in opposition to President Trump's contested refugee ban and travel restrictions. The school joined sixteen other universities in filing the amicus brief, which allows non-litigants to state their views on an appellate court case. A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel last week denied a request from the Justice Department to reinstate the order. The executive order, signed January 27, prohibits people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, suspends refugee admissions for 120 days, and indefinitely bars Syrian refugees. The Court of Appeals' action upheld a federal judge's earlier...

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