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Friday, June 29, 2018

Pissed Off About the Kids the Trump Administration Ripped From Their Parents? Get to Downtown Raleigh Tomorrow Morning.

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 7:50 AM

There’s no need here to relitigate the abject cruelty that the Trump administration’s recent immigration policy changes represent. But it’s worth pointing out that, though the president backed down under immense pressure and has seen his efforts to crack down on refugees blocked by the courts and Congress, thousands of migrant children are still being held by the federal government, separated from their parents for no good reason. So, tomorrow, in Washington, D.C., and all over the country, people will march to demand that the government reunite immigrant families—including in downtown Raleigh. Headed up by local residents David and Whitney...

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Big Pork Rallies as the General Assembly Protects Chinese-Owned Smithfield Foods From Nuisance Lawsuits

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2018 at 10:28 AM

On Monday afternoon, hundreds of farmers, their families, and employees of Smithfield Foods gathered at Bicentennial Mall in Raleigh to show support for the Republican legislature’s annual Farm Bill. The so-called Rally for Agriculture, which featured Lieutenant Governor Dan Forrest, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, and bill sponsor Senator Brent Jackson—a farmer with his history of troublesome practices—came soon after another downtown event protesting the bill’s controversial sections 9 and 10, and just hours before Governor Cooper vetoed the bill. On Tuesday, the Senate overrode Cooper’s veto. The House followed suit today. As originally drafted, Sections 9 and 10 of...

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dallas Woodhouse Believes Undocumented Immigrants Are “Infesting” the Country

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 11:07 AM

Are you among the vast majority of Americans who are pissed off that the Trump administration is ripping crying children from their parents’ arms and throwing them into cages to use as leverage in the president’s quest for a border wall? Are you angry about Trumpworld’s shifting explanations and outright mendacity, the fearmongering and bogus justifications that cannot veil the throughline of white supremacy that animates the White House’s immigration policies (crafted by dead-eyed Duke grad Stephen Miller)? Are you tired of the president lying repeatedly and shamelessly that his policy of separating children from their parents isn’t actually his...

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Should Apple and Amazon Ditch the Triangle Because of the General Assembly’s Voter ID Initiative?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2018 at 2:09 PM

The advocacy group Color of Change is calling on Amazon and Apple to drop North Carolina from consideration for their new locations in response to a bill introduced by House Republicans on Thursday. The bill proposes to amend the state constitution to require that voters present photo identification at the polls. If it passes, voters will decide in November whether to add the following paragraph to the constitution: “Every person offering to vote in person shall present photo identification before voting in the manner prescribed by law.” The bill does not specify what forms of ID would qualify for voting....

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Is the General Assembly About to Kill Light Rail?

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2018 at 7:07 AM

The budget adjustment Republicans in the General Assembly crafted behind closed doors, unveiled last night, and are expected to pass by a veto-proof supermajority later this week—for the first time in modern history, without an opportunity for lawmakers to offer amendments, because democracy is for suckers—does a lot of things. It keeps the tax cuts coming, lowering the personal income-tax rate to 5.25 percent (from 5.499 percent), cutting the corporate tax rate from 3 percent to 2.5 percent, and throwing a ton of incentive money at major new economic projects (cough Apple cough). It includes an average 6.5 percent raise for...

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Monday, April 16, 2018

James Comey Came Out Swinging, But He’s No Hero of Mine

Posted By on Mon, Apr 16, 2018 at 9:43 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. If James Comey’s media strategy is simply to say things that get under President Trump’s skin, thus prompting the president to rage-tweet, thus generating media attention, thus generating book sales, thus driving profits, well, it all seems to be working. Last night, ahead of the launch of the former FBI director’s book A Higher Loyalty tomorrow, ABC aired an hourlong interview with Comey. (I didn’t stay up to watch; here’s a transcript). This morning, USA Today published its own interview, in...

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Paul Ryan Is a Damned Fraud Who Needs to Go Away

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 9:20 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. There are probably two Republican politicians who annoy the center-left intelligentsia more than any other, and for the same reason: Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan. This is because both are often held up in the media as examples of a thinking man’s conservative—intellectuals, truth-tellers even—when in fact the entire record of their time in office suggests that just the opposite: they are...

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A Horrible, No Good, Very Bad NCGA Idea Has Died (for Now)

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 9:14 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. Earlier this year, Republicans in the state legislature convened a committee to look at breaking up large school districts into smaller ones. While they claimed they weren’t targeting any particular district, they were responding to some suburban parents in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Wake, by far the state’s two largest districts, who argued for more local control. The biggest problem, though, is that doing...

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A GOP Operative Says Trump Is “Losing His Sh*t.” Is He About to Fire Mueller?

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 9:31 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. This is the big parlor game in DC right now—will there be a constitutional crisis? On Monday, of course, the FBI raided President Trump’s lawyer’s office. The president freaked out, rage-tweeting about the WITCH HUNT! and how ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE IS DEAD! Let’s survey the playing field: CNN: The president is considering firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein so that a lackey could...

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Monday, April 2, 2018

Trump’s Trade War With China Is Heating Up. What Will It Mean for North Carolina?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 2, 2018 at 8:51 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. This was as predictable as sunrise, but it’s worth discussing anyway. Yesterday, the Chinese government announced plans to impose tariffs on 128 U.S. products, including pork and some fruits, in response to President Trump’s tariffs on some Chinese goods. As WaPo notes: “If U.S. goods become more expensive in China, Chinese buyers could opt to purchase products from Europe, South America or...

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

David Price Got Federal Gun Violence Research and Other Things You Need to Know About Congress’s Omnibus Budget

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 9:26 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. Yesterday, congressional leaders unveiled a $1.3 trillion spending, which comes with a fast-approaching deadline to avoid the third budget shutdown of the year (the only way things actually seem to get done in Washington these days). The deal will boost spending for military and domestic programs. It also puts a down payment on President Trump’s border wall, which, you know, Mexico is...

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Are N.C. Dems Taking Black Women for Granted?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 9:17 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. In 2016, something like 96 percent of black women voted for Hillary Clinton, proving that, as a cohort, they are probably the sanest among us. Since then, black women have become a force within the Democratic Party that has powered the resistance and helped engineer special election victories. If the Democrats ride a wave to power this fall, they’ll be doing so...

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Monday, March 19, 2018

Donald Trump and the Banana Republicans

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 9:45 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. So much has happened since Friday that it’s been hard to keep up. I’ll take a quick pass through the highlights, and then we can dig into the meat of the thing. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe a day before he was set to retire and collect his pension, ostensibly because McCabe “lacked candor” in interviews...

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Reality-Show President Picks Cable News Talking Head to Be His Economic Adviser

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 9:18 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. It makes perfect sense, really. The president who spends much of his day watching cable news picked a guy he watches on cable news to be his top economic adviser, replacing the guy who left in a dispute over the president’s tariffs. From the NYT: “President Trump loves big personalities, live television, the stock market and loyalty. In choosing Larry Kudlow, a...

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

In Trump’s White House, Not Chaos, Only Great Energy! (Except for All the Chaos.)

Posted By on Wed, Mar 14, 2018 at 9:25 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. President Trump, a week ago. President Trump, yesterday: “President Trump ousted on Tuesday his secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, the most dramatic in a cascade of personnel moves that suggest Mr. Trump is determined to surround himself with loyalists more willing to reflect his ‘America First’ views. Mr. Trump announced he would replace Mr. Tillerson with Mike Pompeo, the...

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Another Day, Another Big Player Exits the West Wing

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2018 at 8:46 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. This time it’s Gary Cohn, President Trump’s top economic adviser, who decided that the president’s absurd tariffs proposal was the hill he chose to die on. From WaPo: “Gary Cohn, the White House’s top economic adviser, announced Tuesday that he was leaving the administration amid a major internal clash over President Trump’s sharp and sudden pivot toward protectionist trade policies. The departure...

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Representative Duane Hall Says He Won’t Resign, Claims That Sexual Misconduct Allegations Stem from a Vendetta

Posted By on Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 8:09 AM

Last week, NC Policy Watch published a report claiming that five sources had accused Wake County Representative Duane Hall of sexual misconduct, including one alleged incident of forcible kissing. Since then, Hall has been mostly silent, save for initial statements denying the charges and a later interview with News & Observer opinion writer Ned Barnett, in which he said that, while he’s a flirt, “I have never harassed anyone. Never. Ever.” Even so, Governor Roy Cooper, House Minority Leader Darren Jackson, and N.C. Democratic Party chairman Wayne Goodwin have called on Hall to resign from his seat. Hall is effectively in political...

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Friday, March 2, 2018

If Trump Gets His Trade War, Will Anyone Win?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 9:23 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. Yesterday, President Trump announced that he would be enacting sweeping tariffs and aluminum and steel, which raises a prospect of a global trade war should China or another country retaliate against American goods. And Trump, the self-proclaimed very stable genius, thinks this would be just fine. Everyone else is not so sure: In an editorial, Bloomberg BusinessWeek calls it “Trump’s worst...

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

North Carolina Transgender Congressional Candidate Wendy May Officially Files for Federal Office

Posted By on Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 6:23 AM

North Carolina congressional hopeful Wendy May made history Wednesday by becoming the first transgender candidate in the state to file for federal office. May, a fifty-six-year-old army veteran, filled out the requisite paperwork at the State Board of Elections office in Raleigh and then cheerfully announced her candidacy on Facebook live. "I am running as the first transgender veteran faith leader from North Carolina," May said, after posing with supporters in front of a campaign poster. "After House Bill 2 was passed, I made a decision, and that decision was never to let that happen in our backyard again. And...

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Report: Five People Have Accused State Representative Duane Hall of Sexual Misconduct

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 2:05 PM

Five people have accused state Representative Duane Hall, a Wake County Democrat, of sexual harassment, and the state Democratic Party chairman is calling for Hall to resign, according to a blockbuster new story from NC Policy Watch (and former INDY) reporter Billy Ball.  Per the report: Behind the scenes, Hall has a reputation for more than his political prowess. Including White, five sources—some of whom requested not to be named for fear of repercussions in their current jobs—detailed persistent sexual innuendo from the three-term legislator and, in some cases, repeated, unwanted sexual overtures. … The allegations include claims that the lawmaker...

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Poll: Only 8 Percent of N.C. Voters Know Who the House Speaker Is. (Spoiler: It’s Tim Moore.)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 11:15 AM

It’s a conceit of political science that everyday Americans don’t know all that much about politics, especially local politics. Sure, they can identify the president, but what about their state senator—who arguably has a far greater impact on their lives? Not so much, as it turns out. Even as educational attainment has spiked over the last fifty years, most Americans’ knowledge of who their political leaders are has stagnated. North Carolina, it seems, is no exception. A new poll from Elon University that tests this thesis and determines that many more of us are familiar with prominent sports figures like Cam...

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It’s Damn Near Impossible to Keep Up With All This Trump-Russia News, So Here’s a Quick Breakdown

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 9:14 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. So much news has broken on the Trump-Russia front over the last twenty-four hours that it’s hard to keep it all straight. First, a rundown, then we’ll dive in deeper: The U.S. intelligence community had evidence that seven state websites or voter registration systems were compromised by Russian operatives ahead of the 2016 election but never told the states involved: Alaska, Arizona,...

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Monday, February 19, 2018

The Very Stable Genius™ Just Had Another Twitter Meltdown

Posted By on Mon, Feb 19, 2018 at 8:55 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. Here is what the self-proclaimed “very stable genius” president of the United States did this weekend: told by aides that it would be a bad look to go golfing a few miles from where seventeen people were massacred in a high school, he sat in his mansion watching the news—specifically, a barrage of reports about Robert Mueller’s indictment of thirteen Russians for...

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

You’re Damn Right I’m Going to Politicize This Tragedy. You Should Too.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 9:23 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. I’ve struggled this morning to write about the massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which is, incidentally, about a forty-five-minute drive from where I grew up. It’s horrifying—and we should be horrified that an apparently disturbed and gun-loving nineteen-year-old was able to a) obtain an assault rifle and b) bring that assault rifle onto campus and kill seventeen people....

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

How the White House’s Handling of the Rob Porter Mess Became a Bona Fide Scandal

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 9:06 AM

This post is excerpted from the INDY’s morning newsletter, Primer. To read this morning’s edition in full, click here. To get all the day’s local and national headlines and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up here. To be honest, I haven’t been following the Rob Porter scandal as closely as I should have. After all, what’s one more scandal in a White House teeming with them? President Trump’s lawyer paid a porn star to keep quiet about her affair with the president and it barely made a dent. Trump called African countries “shitholes” and his poll numbers didn’t...

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