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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Candlelight Vigil Against Hate and Violence Scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Pullen Church

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 2:23 PM

The images and reminders of Saturday's hate-driven violence in Charlottesville remain imprinted on the nation's consciousness, and work continues in the Triangle to create something positive from those horrific memories. Colleen Sharp, a Raleigh resident who was at the Charlottesville demonstrations, expressed that sentiment at a protest Tuesday at the Federal Building on New Bern Avenue. "These traumas aren't just going to go away," Sharp said. A candlelight vigil in Raleigh at seven p.m. Wednesday has the goal of standing against hate and violence. It will take place at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough Street. Raleigh Mayor...

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Raleigh Demonstrators Call Out White Supremacists in Wake of Charlottesville

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 2:22 PM

Colleen Sharp was there in Charlottesville on Saturday and saw it all—the car out of nowhere crashing into more vehicles, then into a crowd, sending bodies hurtling. Finally, Sharp said Tuesday, she saw the dying body of Heather Heyer on the ground. Sharp, a Duke University student from Raleigh, was one of several witnesses to Saturday's race-driven conflict in Charlottesville who spoke at a Tuesday with Tillis event at the Terry Sanford Federal Building on New Bern Avenue. An Ohio man has been charged with murder in the death of Heyer, thirty-two, whose courage and activism drove much of the...

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Democracy in Crisis: Charlottesville and the Shattering of America

Posted By on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 7:02 AM

Two middle-aged men, one black and one white, were walking up a street in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, yelling at each other. It was a moment of relative normalcy in a day otherwise defined by mayhem. Both men use the phrase “born and bred” to define their relationship to the smallish Southern college town, nestled in the hills in the politically contested state of Virginia. The white man, Ed Knight, was wearing a Confederate flag bandana around his head. “You, with that stupid Confederate flag, talking about history,” the black man, George Steppe, said. “You don’t know nothing...

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

ICE Deports North Carolina College-Bound Soccer Player

Posted By on Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 3:29 PM

Lizandro Claros Saravia, a promising nineteen-year-old soccer player slated to attend North Carolina's Louisburg College on a scholarship, was deported back to his native El Salvador yesterday, The Washington Post reported—the same day the White House announced plans to limit legal immigration to the United States. Saravia had been living with his twenty-two-year-old brother, Diego, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The two came to the country without documentation in 2009. Although they were both granted stays of removal from deportation in 2013, later applications to renew the stays were denied. On Friday, they were detained by ICE agents at their routine check-in, the...

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Duke Alum Stephen Miller Defends Trump Administration’s Definitely-Not-Racist Plans to Curb Legal Immigration

Posted By on Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 8:12 PM

It's been another eventful twenty-four hours for Team Trump. Less than a day after details of the administration's plan to sue universities over affirmative action policies that discriminate against white students were made public, the White House unveiled plans to limit legal immigration into the United States, especially for non-English speakers. That announcement led Stephen Miller—the White House senior policy adviser and Gumby doppelgänger responsible for drafting the administration's failed travel ban—to lash out against reporters in a press conference so unhinged that Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs wondered if he’d accidentally taken hallucinogenics. At the briefing, Miller took to the microphone...

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Today in N.C. Gerrymandering: Redistricting Panel Convenes, GOP Leaders Confirm They Will Use Notorious Consultant

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 6:35 PM

Unless you’re a political junkie, the expression “joint committee meeting on redistricting” probably doesn't get your blood pumping. But if you care about voting rights, gerrymandering, and the makeup of the General Assembly, pay attention, because the outcome of that committee could have major implications for more than two dozen legislative districts in North Carolina—and even has the potential to undo the GOP's veto-proof supermajority. First, context. The committee meeting this afternoon came out of a June Supreme Court decision, in which the high court upheld a lower federal court's decision that twenty-eight state legislative districts in North Carolina were...

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Monday, July 24, 2017

N.C. Congressman Mark Meadows Wants to Gut the Congressional Budget Office

Posted By on Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 7:07 PM

U.S. Representative Mark Meadows, chair of the Freedom Caucus and representative of North Carolina's Eleventh Congressional District, wants to make big changes to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office—the federal agency that has consistently projected that Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare would leave more than twenty million Americans in the cold. In an amendment introduced Monday, Meadows proposes slashing eighty-nine positions from the agency's Budget Analysis Division, which is responsible for estimating the costs associated with bills introduced in Congress. The elimination of those positions would result in a $15 million funding cut and would effectively abolish the division....

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Triangle Refugee Resettlement Agencies Prepare for a Tough Road Ahead After Yesterday's Supreme Court Decision

Posted By on Thu, Jul 20, 2017 at 3:54 PM

Yesterday, the Supreme Court made yet another consequential decision on President Trump’s refugee and immigrant travel ban. The ruling consisted of two parts. It said that travelers from six Muslim-majority countries who have family members here must be allowed to enter the country, but it also allowed the Trump administration to enforce tighter restrictions on refugees. It's not immediately clear how the decision will affect the Triangle’s refugee resettlement programs. But local agencies are already bracing for a tough road ahead. “There is so much change even on a day-to-day basis that it has become very difficult for us...

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Trump More Corrupt Than Nixon, and Health Care Is a Disaster for the GOP, PPP Survey Finds

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 2:37 PM

It's been another blockbuster week for the GOP. After spending seven years slandering Barack Obama's signature health care law and pledging to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, Republicans woke up this morning to a harsh reality. Their signature promise to replace Obamacare failed abysmally, after four Senate Republicans defected—some because it was too draconian, others because it wasn't draconian enough. For now, at least, despite Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's best efforts, it appears as though Obamacare is the law of the land. This, of course, comes in the wake of news that rocked the party last week, after...

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Primer: When Donny Met Vlad, How Wake Lost $600K, and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 10:13 AM

Happy Friday, y’all. You know that relatively slow news week we’ve been having? Today found a way to make up for it. Before we jump in—and I’ll do my best to keep it snappy—I’d like to take one last chance to plug this week’s Primer sponsor, Inner Engineering, which will be hosting courses at the end of the month in Raleigh. Get more information here or by clicking on the ad below. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. TRUMP MEETS PUTIN. THE GIST: Today, at the G-20 summit in Germany, President Trump and President Putin, who American intelligence officials believed helped...

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Primer: The DOJ’s Voting Purge + Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 10:26 AM

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Thursday. Let’s get started. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. THE DOJ ASKS STATES ABOUT COMPLIANCE WITH VOTING REGISTRATION ACT. THE GIST: It’s not as benign as it sounds. Last week—the same day President Trump’s voter fraud commission sent letters asking states for detailed information on every voter on their rolls—the U.S. Department of Justice sent letters to all forty-four states covered by the 1993 National Voting Registration Act, including North Carolina, asking about their compliance with a section of the law that specifies when voters can be kicked off the voting rolls. Money quote: “These two letters,...

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Monday, July 3, 2017

Primer: While Trump Tweets, the EPA Chief Plots an Assault on Climate Science, and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Mon, Jul 3, 2017 at 9:33 AM

Hey, everyone. Given that this Monday is sandwiched between a weekend and a holiday and many of you are off, I’ll try to keep this roundup short and sweet. One caveat: for logistical reasons, I’m writing this on Sunday afternoon, as opposed to early Monday morning, so if anything important breaks overnight and it’s not here, that’s why. Also, I wanted to give a quick shoutout to this week’s sponsor, Inner Engineering, a four-day course designed to give you the tools to create your life the way you want it. Classes are held in Raleigh on July 27–30. Click here...

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Primer: Late-Night Lawmaking, Donald Gets on the Twitter Machine, and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 9:07 AM

Hey, y’all. Happy Friday, and happy holiday weekend. Let’s do this. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. LATE-NIGHT LEGISLATING ON JONES STREET. THE GIST: Late last night—technically, early this morning—the General Assembly wrapped up its long session. Here’s a quick rundown of some things that passed at the eleventh hour. Expanded gambling: Assuming Governor Cooper signs the bill, restaurants and bars will now be able to host nonprofit fundraisers that feature both games of chance and alcohol, though they’d need a permit and would be limited in how many of these events they could host a year. In addition, business and trade...

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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Durham-Orange Light Rail Nears Next Step in Grant Process, Has No Guarantee of Federal Funding

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 12:20 PM

The Federal Transit Administration could decide within a few weeks whether the proposed Durham-Orange light rail can move onto the next phase of an application to win a grant that would cover half the cost of the $3.3 billion project. Mike Charbonneau, communications director for GoTriangle, which is working with Durham and Orange counties to head the project, said the transit authority expects to hear from the FTA by the end of July. If the FTA gives its approval, Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit can move from the project development phase of a federal grant application process to the engineering and design phase....

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Primer: N.C. Republicans Want to Impeach Elaine Marshall, Because Why Not, and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 8:54 AM

Howdy everyone. How’s Thursday treating you? We’ve got a bunch of state news to plow through, with the legislature about to wrap up its work for the year. So let’s get to it. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. N.C. REPUBLICANS WANT TO IMPEACH ELAINE MARSHALL. THE GIST: Republican Representative Chris Millis—he’ll make another appearance in item 3, if you want to skip ahead—does not like Democratic Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who had the audacity to win reelection in November. So yesterday, he introduced a resolution requesting an investigation of Marshall to see if she should impeached, the first time a...

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Primer: The Senate Health Care Bill Stalls, Problems in N.C. Hog Country, and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Wed, Jun 28, 2017 at 9:38 AM

Morning, everyone, and a happy Wednesday to you. My apologies for this arriving later than usual. True story: one of the dogs managed to let the cat outside, which kickstarted a chain of events that no doubt appeared rather comical to everyone who wasn’t the cat or me. Anyway, everyone is safe and secure inside now, so away we go. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. THE SENATE DELAYS ITS HEALTH CARE BILL. THE GIST: Following a devastating CBO score Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided he didn’t have the votes after all. At least, not yet. Yesterday afternoon, Republican leaders...

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Orange County School Board Balks on Confederate Flag Ban

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 5:08 PM

Citing a lack of protections for LGBTQ students and students with disabilities, the Orange County School Board balked on officially adding new language to the school system’s dress code that would ban the Confederate flag, swastikas, and other racially intimidating symbols from county schools. The measure, which would prohibit students from wearing clothing and accessories that are “indecent, profane, or racially intimidating,” passed its first reading June 12. Advocates saw Monday's final vote as merely a formality. But board member Donna Coffey said she thought the new language failed to address protections for LGBTQ and disabled students and motioned for the matter to...

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Primer: Senate Health Bill CBO Score—Fatal Blow or Flesh Wound?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 10:08 AM

Hey, y’all. There’s A TON of news today, and, as ever, I’ll move through it as expeditiously as possible. First, though, a teaser: later this afternoon, the INDY is going to drop part one of what will be a three-part series on North Carolina’s pork industry and its effect on the state’s environment and hog farms’ eastern North Carolina neighbors. Reporters Erica Hellerstein and Ken Fine have been working on this project for months. It’s deeply reported and a very (in my estimation) important read. Keep an eye out for it. Anyway, let’s begin. 1. CBO SAYS 22M WILL LOSE...

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Primer: What Gerrymandering Means in N.C. and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 9:24 AM

Greetings, comrades and fellow travelers, and welcome to Monday. I hope your weekend was relaxing and/or productive. We’ve got lots to catch up on this morning, so let’s get to it. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. N.C. AMONG THE MOST GERRYMANDERED STATES. THE GIST: Over the weekend, the Associated Press came out with a deep dive into the partisan advantage of congressional and legislative districts across the country. Its findings were less revelatory than a confirmation of what we already know: Republicans, who gained control of state houses in 2010 and thus controlled the most recent redistricting process, locked in a...

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Primer: The Biggest Week of the Trump Presidency and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 9:22 AM

Happy Friday, y’all. Next week looks to be the biggest—or at least most consequential—of the Trump presidency so far, with tens of millions of people’s health care on the line as the Senate moves forward with its health care reform. We’ll talk about that in much greater detail in a second. But first, I wanted to take one last opportunity to plug this week’s Primer sponsor, the Raleigh Flyers, who are playing their final regular season home game tomorrow night. You can click here or on the ad image at the bottom of the page to pick up tickets. —Jeffrey...

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Primer: What The Senate Health Care Bill Looks Like and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 9:54 AM

Morning, newshounds. I miiiiight have hit snooze a few too many times this morning, so my apologies for getting this posted a little later than usual. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. HERE’S WHAT THE SENATE HEALTH BILL WILL LOOK LIKE. THE GIST: After spending weeks crafting their version of health care reform in secrecy, Senate Republicans plan to finally unveil their bill today, ahead of a planned vote next week. According to reports in The Washington Post and other outlets, it will look a whole lot like the hugely unpopular American Health Care Act that passed the House, with a few...

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Primer: North Carolina Might Be the Future of U.S. Politics and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 8:51 AM

Morning, folks. There’s a lot of ground to cover today. I’ll do so as expeditiously as possible. Let’s begin. 1. IN N.C., THE FUTURE OF POLITICS. THE GIST: Jason Zengerle is out with a piece in The New York Times Magazine this week that poses something of an unsettling question: “Is North Carolina the Future of American Politics?” It leads with the Air Horn Orchestra—the INDY’s former managing editor, Grayson Haver Currin, and partner-in-rabble-rousing Tina Haver Currin get a shoutout—shutting down and then reconvening to protest Governor Cooper’s HB 2 compromise. But the bulk of the story centers of the...

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Primer: The NCGA Has a Budget and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 8:20 AM

Greetings and salutations, readers. There’s a lot in the news today, but before we get started, a quick reminder, if you have any thoughts/questions/suggestions/tips as to how we can make Primer better—or if you’d like to get this blog delivered straight to your inbox every morning—email them to indyprimer@indyweek.com. Also, please support our sponsors. (This week’s Primer sponsor is the Raleigh Flyers, the Triangle’s professional Ultimate Disc team.) They keep the lights on. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. WE HAVE A BUDGET. THE GIST: Yesterday, the General Assembly unveiled its $23 billion compromise budget, which would boost teacher pay by 3.3...

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Primer: Cuba Crackdown and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Fri, Jun 16, 2017 at 9:27 AM

Happy Friday, y’all. Two thoughts before we begin: 1) As always, your feedback is appreciated; this newsletter is an evolving creature, and we’re perpetually trying to make it better. 2) Tomorrow is Saturday, which means it’s the day this week’s Primer sponsor, Beer Camp on Tour, comes to town. So one last time: if you’re looking for something fun to do, or if you need a last minute Father’s Day gift (dads like beer!), click here, or click the ad image at the bottom of the page, and check it out. One last thing: After I published the newsletter...

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Year Ago, Wildin Acosta Was in Solitary Awaiting Deportation. Yesterday, He Graduated from Riverside High.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 9:27 AM

“Maybe I’ll go to the beach?” Wildin David Guillen Acosta has taken the week off. Yesterday, he graduated from Riverside High School, the first in his family to complete an American education. He should have graduated last June. Instead, this time last year he was being held in solitary confinement at Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. Once processed in that infamous prison, detainees have a very poor chance of getting out. Eighty-seven percent are deported, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Acosta celebrated his temporary freedom and a milestone—one he says is a “huge step” for his future—among hundreds...

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