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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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Primer: A Congressman Is Shot, Trump Hates Trumpcare, and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 9:06 AM

Happy Wednesday, everyone. Just as I was finishing up the newsletter version of Primer—which you can sign up for by emailing us here—some news broke: Representative Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican and the House majority leader, was shot this morning during a congressional baseball practice. From CNN: “Rep. Steve Scalise was shot in Alexandria, Virginia, Wednesday morning, Rep. Mo Brooks told CNN. Brooks said he was on deck at a practice for the congressional baseball team when the shooting occurred. Scalise appears to have been shot in the hip and it appears two Capitol Hill police agents were shot. Alexandria police...

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Democracy in Crisis: Yo Senators, Quit Being So Mean to Jeff Sessions

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 8:10 PM

If you didn’t know, via obscure Latin etymology, that the word testify is related to the word testicles, you could guess it from watching Senate testimony pretty much any time ever, but certainly this year. (For what it’s worth: in Rome, you swore on your testicles to tell the truth). Back when now-Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in the middle of the confirmation hearings in which he seemingly perjured himself about contacts with Russian officials, Senator Elizabeth Warren tried to read a letter Coretta Scott King wrote to the Judiciary Committee about Sessions into the Congressional record. King wrote the...

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Primer: Trump Is Thinking About Firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and Other Things You Need to Know Today

Posted By on Tue, Jun 13, 2017 at 10:27 AM

Happy Tuesday, everyone. There’s a lot in the news, and we’ll get to it straightaway. But first, may I ask a favor? Our first Primer seemed to go well; the response was overwhelmingly positive. But if you are experiencing any problems or have any suggestions about how we can make this newsletter more readable—e.g., if the formatting looks wonky on your computer or device—please pass them along to jbillman@indyweek.com. This is a new venture, and we’re learning as we go. So with that said, let’s go. —Jeffrey C. Billman 1. HE WOULDN’T DARE. (WOULD HE?) THE GIST: According to one of...

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Friday, June 9, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Comey Calls Trump a Liar

Posted By on Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 8:43 AM

It's Friday. We made it through another week. Let's go out with a bang, courtesy of former FBI director James Comey. 1) Comey calls Trump a liar. For those of you who watched the former FBI director testify on the Hill yesterday, you know that James Comey dropped more than a few bombshells. From The New York Times: "Those were lies. Plain and simple." He set that tone from the beginning, opening with a goodbye to his former employees, to whom he was unable to personally bid farewell. And he said Mr. Trump had lied — a word that is...

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Legislature Calls Off Special Session Demanded by Governor

Posted By on Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 1:38 PM

Wednesday, Governor Cooper called for a special session of the legislature for the purpose of redrawing voting maps the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional and racially gerrymandered. From the INDY: In a press conference this afternoon, Governor Cooper called for a special session of the legislature to redraw state House and Senate voting maps recently deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The session, which will be held along with the ongoing regular session, will kick off tomorrow at two p.m. and last for two weeks. Cooper's announcement comes two days after the Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision that twenty-eight...

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The Morning Roundup: Comey to Testify That Trump Asked Him to Back Off Flynn Investigation

Posted By on Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 8:43 AM

First of all, we'd like to congratulate all the "Best Of" winners and finalists. With that said, let’s get on to it. We’re going to devote the bulk of this morning’s Roundup to former FBI director James Comey's pending testimony on the Hill—and all we learned about it yesterday. But first: 1) ISIS claims attacks on Iran; Trump shows no compassion. At least a dozen people were killed in a pair of terrorist attacks in Tehran. From The New York Times: Armed assailants, including some disguised as women, stunned Iran on Wednesday with brazen attacks on the Parliament building and the tomb...

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Morning Roundup: Sessions and Trump Are Reportedly At Odds, Comey Set to Testify Tomorrow

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 8:49 AM

First things first. Our annual "Best of the Triangle" edition is on the racks, so go grab one and congratulate the many winners you guys chose. Now let's check out Tuesday's headlines. 1) The Sessions/Trump bromance is reportedly over. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly upset that the president isn't allowing him to do his job. How upset? He offered his resignation. From The New York Times: Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered to resign in recent weeks as he told President Trump he needed the freedom to do his job, according to two people who were briefed on the discussion....

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