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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Trump Makes Up Word, Raleigh Shop Immortalizes the Gaffe

Posted By on Wed, May 31, 2017 at 12:12 PM

For those of you who don't know, the president made up a word last night, and his tweet about "negative press covfefe" quickly went viral before (six hours later) being deleted. It was a moment that left many people scratching their heads. From The New York Times: Had the president’s lawyers, so eager to curb his stream-of-consciousness missives, tackled the commander in chief under the cover of night? Perhaps, some worried aloud, Mr. Trump had experienced a medical episode a quarter of the way through his 140 characters. No one at the White House could immediately be reached for comment....

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The Morning Roundup: Flynn Will Turn Over Documents to Senate

Posted By on Wed, May 31, 2017 at 10:56 AM

Good morning friends. It's Wednesday. Go grab the new INDY. In the meantime, let's review some headlines. 1) Mike Flynn is about to play ball. A person close to President Donald Trump's embattled former national security adviser says Flynn will hand over documents to the Senate in response to a subpoena he has, until now, been ducking. From The Washington Post: Former national security adviser Michael Flynn will hand over documents and records to the Senate Intelligence Committee in response to a set of subpoenas for information from his businesses and personal files related to the committee’s probe of alleged...

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Friday, May 26, 2017

HB 467 Defenders Say They’re Trying to Protect Small Farmers. But Pork Giant Murphy-Brown Tried to Get Lawsuits Dismissed Because Small Farmers Weren’t Included as Defendants.

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 6:30 PM

Throughout the defense of House Bill 467, the controversial hog-farm protection bill that recently became law despite Governor Roy Cooper’s veto, the bill’s supporters, including Republican state representative Jimmy Dixon of Duplin County, argued that family farms need to be protected from lawsuits brought by avaricious attorneys. Those lawsuits, they argued, can bring hardworking farmers to the brink of financial ruin, hence the need for legislation to protect them. Court documents, including a motion a federal judge ruled on last night, call into question the sincerity of this argument. As the INDY has previously reported, HB 467 caps the amount...

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Holy Crap, Republicans in the NCGA Are Unpopular

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 2:38 PM

If you’re a Republican in North Carolina, this poll might freak you out a little. Commissioned by the conservative Civitas Institute—and despite appearing to have a fairly conservative sample (e.g., 50 percent of respondents still support an amendment to ban same-sex marriage, and 68 percent support voter ID)—the survey of six hundred registered North Carolina voters finds that Governor Cooper is pretty popular (61 percent approve, 24 percent don’t) and Donald Trump isn’t (42/53). In addition, almost twice as many believe Cooper cares more about them than GOP legislators. But that’s not the part that should worry the NCGOP. This...

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ICE: Wendy Miranda Fernandez Has Been Deported, Is Currently in El Salvador

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 1:39 PM

Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox confirms that twenty-three-year-old Durham resident Wendy Miranda Fernandez—a former Riverside High student who fled gang violence in her native El Salvador as a fourteen-year-old unaccompanied minor—was deported this morning and is now in El Salvador, which her supporters say might amount to a death sentence. “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed unlawfully present Salvadoran national Wendy Miranda-Fernandez May 26 pursuant to a final order of removal issued by a federal immigration judge in August 2016,” Cox said in a statement. “Ms. Miranda was removed after receiving all appropriate legal process before the federal...

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The Morning Roundup: Appeals Court Delivers Blow to Muslim Ban

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 9:24 AM

Another week is just about in the books. Let's finish it off with a bang. 1) Federal appeals court rules against Trump's Muslim ban. According to a federal appeals court in Richmond, the president's executive order is discriminatory. From The New York Times: Describing President Trump’s revised travel ban as intolerant and discriminatory, a federal appeals court on Thursday rejected government efforts to limit travel to the United States from six predominantly Muslim nations. Attorney General Jeff Sessions quickly vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court. The decision was the first from a federal appeals court on the revised travel...

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Alerta Migratoria NC: Wendy Miranda Fernandez To Be Deported This Morning

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 8:08 AM

Wendy Miranda Fernandez, a Durham resident unexpectedly taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in March, has been taken to the airport for the third time since being detained, according to the advocacy group Alerta Migratoria NC. Her deportation, delayed several times since she was detained while seeking a stay of a 2016 order of removal from the country, is scheduled for 8:05 this morning. If she’s sent back to El Salvador, her supporters say, it could amount to a death sentence. As Alerta Migratoria explained a press release last night: At the age of 14, Wendy fled El Salvador after...

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blame Trump and the Republicans for Blue Cross’s Massive 23 Percent Rate Hike Request

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 2:06 PM

Earlier today, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina announced that it was seeking an average rate hike of 22.9 percent for individual plans on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace, a staggering increase for the half-million people insured by BCBS in North Carolina through the Obamacare exchange. On the surface, this hike—along with news that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City is abandoning the ACA marketplace altogether, leaving twenty-five Missouri counties without an Obamacare insurer—lends credence to Republican claims that the health care law is “collapsing” and in a “death spiral.” Dig a little deeper, however, and the truth...

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N.C. Congressman Mark Meadows Read the CBO’s Analysis of the GOP’s Obamacare Replacement and Choked Back Tears

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 10:56 AM

Yesterday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released what can only be described as a devastating analysis of the American Health Care Act, Republicans’ effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The CBO found that the bill would leave an additional twenty-three million people uninsured, gut Medicaid, put at risk millions with preexisting conditions, and cause sick and older people’s premiums to skyrocket to finance a massive tax cut for the wealthy. The AHCA narrowly passed the House earlier this month without a CBO score following a compromise between the GOP leaders of the moderate Tuesday Group and the...

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The Morning Roundup: GOP Health Care Plan Leaves 23 Million Without Insurance

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 9:09 AM

Wednesday was another banner day for the GOP. Let's take a stroll through some headlines. 1) Obamacare replacement would leave twenty-three million out in the cold, according to the CBO. Premiums would go down (at least for the young, wealthy, and healthy), but costs would go up for people with preexisting conditions. And more than twenty million would lose coverage altogether. From The New York Times, by way of the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office: A bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that narrowly passed the House this month would leave 14 million more people uninsured next year than under...

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Suspecting Fraud, State Treasurer Dale Folwell Requires Proof of Dependents' Eligibility For State Health Plan

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 8:20 PM

If you’re employed by the state, you’ve likely received a letter informing you that you have until July 31 to prove your spouse is your spouse and your children are your children, or they will be dropped from the State Health Plan. The proof—tax returns, marriage and birth certificates, and/or adoption papers—must be submitted electronically. The letter recommends scanning the documents or taking “a photo with your smartphone” and uploading them to the State Health Plan website. Here is the notice state workers received: One concerned state employee contacted the INDY, asking: “1) Is it really legal for them...

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NBA Picks Charlotte for 2019 All-Star Game; HB 2 Deal Works Again

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 7:09 PM

The ACC and NCAA already caved, so when the NBA announced today that in light of the HB 2 "compromise" signed by Governor Cooper earlier this year it would bring All-Star Weekend to Charlotte in 2019, it wasn't all that surprising. Here are the details, from NBA.com: “We have decided to award NBA All-Star 2019 to Charlotte based on this deep connection and the belief that we can honor our shared values of equality and inclusion, and we are excited to bring the All-Star Game back to Charlotte for the first time in 28 years. “While we understand the concerns...

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City of Raleigh Says Moore Square Renovation Will Begin This Fall (Honest!)

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 4:13 PM

Work on Raleigh’s $12-million-plus remake of Moore Square will begin this autumn and take about a year, with the reopening of the enhanced landmark planned for the fall of 2018. No, really. Followers of parks, downtown Raleigh, and the city council will remember that the master plan for the park was completed way back in 2011. Since then, projected start dates in several different years have come and gone. But this time, bids for the project have arrived or will show up in less than two weeks, says Grayson Maughan, the city’s parks planner. “We had our mandatory site visit...

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The Morning Roundup: Trump Proposes Slashing Spending on the Poor

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 9:54 AM

It's Wednesday, which means a new edition of the INDY is on the streets. Go grab one. In the meantime, let's review some headlines. 1) Trump hires an attorney as the Russia probe heats up. From The Washington Post: President Trump has retained the services of a trusted lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, to help him navigate the investigations into his campaign and suspected Russian interference in last year’s election, according to people familiar with the decision. Kasowitz, who has known Trump for decades, has represented Trump in numerous cases, including on his divorce records, real estate transactions and allegations of...

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

OWASA Says Water Is Safe, Just Smelly

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 12:07 PM

Amid complaints about "an earthy or musty taste and odor," OWASA says its water is safe to drink. According to a news release from the town of Carrboro, the smelly water, which "several dozen customers" have complained about in the past week, is being caused by algae growing in the Cane Creek Reservoir and University Lake. "Although OWASA’s treatment process removes algae, some organic compounds may remain in the drinking water that can cause earthy or musty taste and odor," the statement says. To correct the issue, OWASA has made treatment changes, including using more powdered activated carbon, which is...

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The Morning Roundup: Terror Attack in the U.K. Claims at Least Twenty-Two Lives

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 9:18 AM

It's Tuesday. Monday was pretty horrible. 1) A terror attack claims at least twenty-two lives at a Manchester Ariana Grande concert. An improvised explosive device was detonated inside Manchester Arena, marking the deadliest attack on the U.K. since the 2005 London bombings. At least twenty-two people were killed, including children, and dozens more were injured. From CNN: Police said they believe a man carrying explosives acted as a lone attacker and died in the powerful explosion that shook part of the cavernous Manchester Arena as concertgoers streamed out after the American pop star's last song. Another 23-year-old man has been...

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Durham County Manager Proposes Tax Increase to Fund Schools, Eyes Universal Pre-K

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 8:02 AM

Durham’s county manager is pitching a three-cent property tax increase to help the county fund public schools, pay off debt, and keep up with operational growth. The increase would raise property taxes for Durham County residents from 74.04 to 77.04 cents per $100 of property valuation. The annual tax bill for a home valued at $200,000 would go up by about $60, county manager Wendell Davis said during a presentation of his proposed $626.9 million budget Monday. Of the three-cent increase, 0.75 cents would go to Durham Public Schools, 0.25 cents to operational growth, and 2 cents for debt related...

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Monday, May 22, 2017

The U.S. Supreme Court Rules the NCGOP’s Congressional Gerrymander Was Racist. (Surprise!) What Happens Now?

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 12:37 PM

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5–3 this morning that the congressional districts the North Carolina legislature enacted in 2011 and had in place for the 2012 and 2014 elections constituted an unconstitutionally racist gerrymander, upholding a previous district court ruling and siding with Governor Cooper over the Republican legislature. Justice Elena Kagan delivered the court opinion, the latest in a series of rulings Kagan has written on racial gerrymandering and its impact on minority populations. She invoked the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which forbids states from “separating its citizens into different voting districts on the basis of race”...

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Dalai Lama Accepts Raleigh Mayor's Invitation, Will Visit Oak City This Fall

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 7:18 AM

Earlier this month, the INDY reported that Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane was making a push to draw the Dalai Lama to Raleigh. Mayor Nancy McFarlane has booked a trip to India, at her expense, and will bring the Dalai Lama the many dozens of prayer flags that people inscribed Sunday. A low-key afternoon event at the budding Oak City nexus of Dix Park was organized by McFarlane (courting the be-here-now vote in this fall's election?), along with Raleigh Denim founders Sarah Yarborough and Victor Lytvinenko and Bida Manda co-owner Vansana Nolintha. "We really do hope that he will come and...

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Friday, May 19, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Defiant Trump Says Comey Deserved to Be Fired

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 8:42 AM

It's been a crazy week, but we're at the finish line. 1) Trump says he never asked Comey to drop Flynn investigation. After declaring on Twitter that the hiring of former FBI director Robert Mueller as a special counsel would prolong "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history," Donald Trump doubled down on his claims that this is fake news. From The New York Times: President Trump declared angrily on Thursday that he was the victim of a witch hunt, and all but contradicted his deputy attorney general on the firing of the F.B.I. director, in...

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Deportation of Wendy Miranda Fernandez Delayed One Week

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 7:26 PM

The deportation of a Durham twenty-three-year-old detained by immigration officials nearly two months ago has been delayed another week. Wendy Miranda Fernandez was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on March 22 when she appeared before ICE seeking a stay of a previously issueId order of removal from the country. She is being held at LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, Louisiana. Miranda Fernandez’s advocates say she was taken to an airport early Thursday morning only to be returned to LaSalle. The news of the delay came this afternoon after North Carolina Congressman G.K. Butterfield again reached out to...

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N.C. High Schoolers Lobby for In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 2:29 PM

On Wednesday afternoon, dozens of high schoolers filed into the Statehouse and patiently waited for the fifth annual "undocugraduation" ceremony to kick off. After spending the morning lobbying legislators to support in-state tuition for undocumented students, they were participating in a faux-graduation spearheaded by the Adelante Education Coalition for College Tuition Equality, a campaign to raise awareness about tuition inequality. One by one, donning graduation caps and robes, they marched to the front of the room and read aloud their names, schools, and goals for the future. Their aim? To highlight the need for tuition equality regardless of immigration status. ...

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Where is Wendy Miranda Fernandez?

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 1:40 PM

Amid fears that a Riverside High School graduate would be deported overnight, the law firm representing Wendy Miranda Fernandez says it has not been able to reach her. Miranda Fernandez, who fled violence in El Salvador at age fourteen, was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on March 22. Since then, she has been held at various detention facilities, including in Georgia and Louisiana. While ICE's detainee locator says Miranda Fernandez is being held at LaSalle Detention Facility in Jena, Louisiana, staff members at Guirguis Law say they cannot reach her there. Before she was taken into custody,...

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The Morning Roundup: Trump Follows Up Bad Tuesday With a Really, Really Bad Wednesday

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 8:27 AM

Not to be outdone by his horrible Tuesday, President Donald Trump had a really bad Wednesday. For the sake of maintaining order amid the chaos, we'll go through it chronologically. 1) Comey is summoned by Burr, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In a rare show of backbone, North Carolina’s own Richard Burr summoned former FBI director James Comey to testify about his interactions with the president and that memo he reportedly sent that informed his colleagues at the bureau that Trump wanted him to drop the investigation into Mike Flynn. From the INDY: It appears the Trump-Russia investigation got a kick in...

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Raise the Age Gains Momentum as N.C. House Votes Not to Charge Sixteen- and Seventeen-Year-Olds as Adults

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 6:54 PM

Last month, North Carolina distinguished itself by being the last state in the country to prosecute all sixteen-and-seventeen-year-olds as adults, after New York nixed a similar restriction. Now, it seems the state could actually be on track to rid itself of that dubious honor. This afternoon, the House voted 104–8 to approve a bill that could effectively divert most teenagers from the adult court system. HB 280 would raise the age of juvenile prosecution in the state so that sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds would no longer be tried as adults. That practice, juvenile justice advocates have long argued, is costly and ineffective...

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Sessions has already strip mined the Civil Rights Division of the DoJ. Thankfully U.S. Senator Cory Booker, D-New Jersey is …

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