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Friday, December 8, 2017

The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 8:55 AM

The N&O has an interesting piece this morning on a rising number of kids who are attending school without getting necessary vaccinations, thanks to a broad religious exemption. “The number of N.C. kindergarteners opting out of required childhood vaccinations on religious grounds more than doubled in the five school years from 2012 to 2016. And both public health officials and anti-vaccine advocates agree that the exemption is being claimed by parents whose true objection to the shots has nothing to do with faith.” The more unvaccinated kids are in a school, of course, the more likely there is to be...

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Analysis: Under GOP Tax Plan, Tens of Thousands of Triangle Residents Would Lose Health Care Coverage

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 6:12 AM

Tens of thousands of Triangle residents could lose health coverage if the Senate's version of the tax bill passes, according to an analysis by the left-leaning Center for American Progress. That's due to a provision in the GOP bill that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act's much-loathed individual mandate, which requires everyone to purchase health insurance. The move would likely result in fewer sign-ups among young, healthy people and higher costs for people bound by health necessity to remain in the individual market. If the individual mandate is slashed, millions of Americans could lose insurance over the next decade, the nonpartisan Congressional...

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Study in Contrasts: Today, Democrats Will Likely Force Al Franken’s Resignation. The GOP, Meanwhile, Is Backing Roy Moore.

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 9:30 AM

Yesterday, after yet another woman accused Senator Al Franken of harassment, the dam broke. Democrat after Democrat began demanding his resignation. By last night, Democrats were expecting him to do so today, though Franken’s office pushed back against claims that he’d reached a final decision. Still, it’s hard to see him carrying on without any support from his caucus, and the governor of Minnesota is ready to appoint his lieutenant governor—a woman—to Franken’s seat if he steps down. In North Carolina, Democratic legislative leaders Darren Jackson and Dan Blue both called for Franken’s resignation, though Governor Roy Cooper did not...

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Monday, December 4, 2017

What North Carolina’s Experience Tells Us About the Republican Tax Overhaul

Posted By on Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 9:25 AM

Deep in the night on Friday—actually, on Saturday morning—Senate Republicans narrowly passed its version of Trump’s tax bill, which was rushed to completion—Democrats complained that they didn’t see the five-hundred-page bill until an hour before voting started, and even then it literally had handwritten notes in the margins—with little in the way of hearings or testimony (but with a ton of lobbyist insight), and which will increase the deficit by $1.45 trillion even accounting for growth, according to the nonpartisan congressional scorekeeper. Mitch McConnell, the most cynical man in modern political history, then told reporters with a straight face that...

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The End of the Internet As We Know It, Coming Next Month

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 9:42 AM

Last week, FCC chairman Ajit Pai, a former Verizon attorney, announced a plan to effectively end net neutrality, which prevents them from blocking access to web pages, slowing some connections, or prioritizing some content over others. In other words, big telecoms will, in theory, be able to alter their fee structures so that you have to pay more to access social media websites, and still more to get on Netflix, and still more if you want to game. More troublesome, though, is that some of these internet service providers are also in the content game, so they could prioritize their...

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

At Least 85 Wells in North Carolina Have Been Contaminated by the Chemical GenX

Posted By on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Before we dive in, some quick background if you haven’t been following this saga: In June, the North Carolina departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services began investigating the presence of a chemical compound called GenX in the Cape Fear River. A Chemours facility in Fayetteville produces the chemical for use in industrial processes. By August, the DEQ had ordered Chemours to stop discharging GenX and two other compounds into the river. Then, on September 5, the state ordered Chemours to stop releasing all fluorinated compounds into the river or face legal action and the suspension of its...

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Friday, November 10, 2017

In Alabama, a Bible-Thumping Bigot Gets His Comeuppance. Come Enjoy the Schadenfreude With Us.

Posted By on Fri, Nov 10, 2017 at 9:16 AM

This story is shocking, sure. But I didn’t find it altogether surprising. In case you missed it, yesterday The Washington Post released a bombshell report that, as a thirty-two-year-old prosecutor, Alabama Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore—a man best known for erecting a huge replica of the Ten Commandments in his courtroom—sexually molested a fourteen-year-old. Leigh Corfman says she was 14 years old when an older man approached her outside a courtroom in Etowah County, Ala. She was sitting on a wooden bench with her mother, they both recall, when the man introduced himself as Roy Moore. It was early 1979...

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday: That Time When a Prescient INDY Writer Warned in 2004 That Donald Trump Was a Danger to the Republic

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 9:45 AM

Our copy editor, David Klein, stumbled upon this piece in the archives. Called “Apprentice to Greed,” the Front Porch entry by Erik Ose talks about now-president Donald Trump’s then-reality show, The Apprentice. “So it makes sense,” Ose writes, “that Trump's riding the wave of reality TV. He's an opportunist, and there's gold in them hills. Whether you're a Bachelorette or an Average Joe, a would-be Survivor or American Idol, there's a show out there for you. We're slowly entertaining ourselves to death, and reality TV is our current mind-numbing weapon of choice.” Amazingly, three of the four shows Ose mentions...

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Can North Carolina Democrats Duplicate the Virginia Tsunami in 2018?

Posted By on Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 9:29 AM

When the results from Virginia started rolling in Tuesday night, local Democrats on my social media were elated—not just because it was finally something resembling a win, but because maybe they can replicate that wave in North Carolina next year, especially with new, fairer legislative districts apparently on the way. “North Carolina Democrats say the election results in and out of state show a rebuke of President Donald Trump and the divisive rhetoric that they say local Republicans employed in races across the state. Furthermore, they see reasons to believe they can gain influence in the state legislature by picking...

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Last Night’s Elections, in the Triangle and Beyond

Posted By on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 at 8:48 AM

There are lots of election-related headlines to get through after a Democratic wave began to take shape Tuesday. We’ll start local, then talk about the national picture. ABOUT LAST NIGHT. THE GIST: Throughout the Triangle, elections turned out about how most observers expected. In Raleigh, Mayor Nancy McFarlane cruised to a fourth term. In Durham, Steve Schewel won the mayor’s seat easily. On the Durham City Council, all three candidates who finished first in the primary—DeDreana Freeman, Mark-Anthony Middleton, and Vernetta Alston—won, and none of those races were particularly close. In Chapel Hill, Pam Hemminger thumped a write-in candidate. Hongbin...

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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

It’s Election Day in Raleigh and Durham. Here’s What You Should Know.

Posted By on Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 9:03 AM

THE GIST: In Wake and Orange counties and the city of Durham, voters—if history is a guide, not all that many of them—will go to polls and chart the futures of their respective municipal governments. The marquee races are in Raleigh (mayor) and Durham (mayor, city council). In Raleigh, an increasingly vituperative campaign has culminated in challenger Charles Francis attacking Mayor Nancy McFarlane for overlooking the city’s poorest residents while the rest of Raleigh thrived, and McFarlane hitting Francis for speaking to the local Republican Party and taking money from antigay bigots. McFarlane outperformed Francis by twelve points in October...

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Raleigh Mayoral Candidates McFarlane, Francis Work to Score Points in Debate Leading to November 7 Runoff

Posted By on Fri, Oct 20, 2017 at 8:00 PM

Like high-stakes gamblers in a pivotal game, Mayor Nancy McFarlane and challenger Charles Francis sat across from each other Friday and worked to make the most of the cards they were dealt. The mayoral candidates were playing the odds that they could reach voters in the Nov. 7 election with persuasive answers to questions posed by Spectrum News anchor Tim Boyum In a lightning round of sorts—the debate only lasted 30 minutes—three-term incumbent McFarlane pushed her experience in government and business, while Francis pledged to operate the city more efficiently and to take more vigorous steps to reach some of...

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thom Tillis: Trump Has Shown "More Respect for Our Troops in Nine Months" Than Obama Ever Did.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 19, 2017 at 10:02 AM

President Trump set off a firestorm earlier this week when he falsely claimed that Barack Obama never contacted the relatives of fallen soldiers. Since then, he has been dogged by revelations calling into question the sincerity of his relationship with Gold Star families. The mother of a soldier slain in June claimed the president disrespected the family in a condolence call, telling his widow her husband "knew what he was signing up for" and referring to him merely as "your guy." The story took a local turn yesterday, when the father of a soldier from Wake County, who was gunned...

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Mayoral Candidates Nancy McFarlane, Charles Francis Trade Barbs as Race to November 7 Runoff Begins

Posted By on Mon, Oct 16, 2017 at 3:52 PM

Raleigh, get ready, for the train of speeches. Democratic candidate Charles Francis's request for a November 7 runoff against Nancy McFarlane in Raleigh's mayoral race kicks off another round of rhetoric, door-knocking, fundraising, and, very likely, a sharper new tone. Francis, a banker and lawyer, came out punching from the day in July when he filed to run, calling McFarlane "aloof" and disconnected from many parts of Raleigh. McFarlane, a three-term incumbent, mostly kept the gloves on during the campaign, but that started to change by election night. She almost reached the vote count needed to avoid a runoff,...

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Cole-McFadden Survives Durham Council Primary, Moffitt Does Not

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 2:03 AM

The Durham City Council will have at least two new members come December, after Tuesday's primary knocked out one incumbent. In the Ward 1 race, incumbent Cora Cole-McFadden and challenger DeDreana Freeman will advance to the November 7 general election. Mark-Anthony Middleton and John Rooks Jr. will square off for the Ward 2 seat being vacated by Eddie Davis. In Ward 3, incumbent Don Moffitt came in third, so it will be Vernetta Alston against Shelia Ann Huggins. (And in case you haven't heard, Steve Schewel and Farad Ali made it through Tuesday's mayoral primary). The Ward 1 race had...

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Runoff for Raleigh Mayor's Post May Be Ahead as Francis Denies McFarlane a Majority of Votes

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 12:04 AM

Nancy McFarlane needed to get 50 percent plus one of the sixty-thousand-plus voters in Tuesday's municipal elections to remain in the Raleigh mayor's office without the possibility of a runoff. However, a vigorous campaign by Democratic challenger Charles Francis won him enough votes to prevent an outright victory. Incumbent McFarlane bested Francis by more than six thousand votes but received 48.45 percent of the unofficial tally, with Francis earning nearly 37 percent, according to unofficial tallies. Francis told WRAL that he would live to fight another day, but at eleven thirty p.m. the McFarlane campaign had not heard directly from...

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Raleigh Mayor's Race: McFarlane Lends Her Campaign $50K; Francis Discloses New Donations, Spending

Posted By on Mon, Oct 2, 2017 at 7:55 PM

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane has lent $50,000 to her campaign to return to office, according to a campaign finance document filed Monday with the Wake County Board of Elections. Meanwhile, her opponent, Democratic lawyer Charles Francis, also made public beefed-up donations and spending. The loan to the Nancy McFarlane Committee was made on Sept. 19, according to the disclosure document. McFarlane, an unaffiliated politician, has raised $119,382.28 for this election as of Aug. 29 and had $61,955.27 on hand, according to document filings. Francis has raised $231,264.69 and has $67,805 on hand, having spent $163,458.80. He did not immediately return...

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Mayor McFarlane Will Not Be Turned Away from Democratic Party Events, Spokesman Says

Posted By on Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 3:55 PM

In one corner, here's Nancy McFarlane, candidate for a fourth term as Raleigh mayor, unaffiliated politically, but supported by many Democrats in previous elections. In the other corner, here's mayoral challenger Charles Francis, a proud Democrat who won the endorsement and enthusiastic support of his local party leadership. In this context, when word got out that McFarlane wouldn't be welcome at party events held to promote Democratic candidates, the party's executive director Rebecca Llewellyn said it was all a misunderstanding. But McFarlane's campaign responded strongly. "I contacted the party chair and expressed that that would not be OK with...

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

“With DACA, I Feel Like I Have a Superpower”: After Trump Ends DACA, Triangle Recipients Tell Their Stories

Posted By and on Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 4:52 PM

In the waning days of Barack Obama's presidency, sixteen-year-old Reyna Gutierrez learned that she had finally been granted something she had worked toward for months: DACA, the Obama-era program that grants temporary work permits and a deportation reprieve to undocumented immigrants who arrived as minors. Throughout the months-long application process, Gutierrez's mom talked excitedly about the program. The two had come to the U.S. from Veracruz, Mexico, when Gutierrez was four-and-a-half years old. Growing up, her mom always spoke to her realistically about the obstacles she would face. Now, more than a decade after the duo's arrival, Gutierrez had the opportunity to...

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Constituents to Congressman George Holding: You Suck

Posted By on Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 2:13 PM

A small group of Triangle activists and constituents gathered in front of U.S. Representative George Holding's office yesterday to deliver a simple message: he's failing. In the form of a fake report card, they gave the Republican representative a bright red "F" for his track record on issues related to health care, the economy, special interests, and Internet privacy. Holding did earn high marks on one category, though: hiding from constituents. For months, constituents from Holding's district, which represents part of Wake County, have been imploring the lawmaker to hold a public town hall. Holding, like many of his Republican...

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Why Are Big-Shot Republicans Donating to Democratic Raleigh Mayoral Candidate Charles Francis?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 14, 2017 at 6:00 AM

In late July, the Wake County Democratic Party did something it hadn’t done before: endorse a challenger to Raleigh mayor Nance McFarlane. It backed challenger Charles Francis, a banker and lawyer—and, most important, the first viable Democrat to run against the unaffiliated McFarlane since she took office in 2011. It was less a rebuke to the mayor than an example of blind partisan loyalty. As party chairwoman Rebecca Llewelyn explained to The News & Observer, the party’s “mission should be to elect Democrats to office.” But before Francis received that endorsement, he raked in substantial campaign donations from high-profile North Carolina Republicans,...

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Yesterday's Marathon Redistricting Hearing in Review: Angry Dems, Partisan Maps, and No Race Considerations

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:51 PM

Greetings from the thrilling world of legislative redistricting, where state Republicans and Democrats are hard at work trying to nail down maps that pass constitutional muster. Yesterday, members of the Joint House and Senate Redistricting Committee met to adopt rules for redrawing lines for the twenty-eight legislative districts ruled unconstitutional last year. The conclusion: mapmakers can consider partisan advantage when they draw the new lines, but not race—two criteria that had Democratic lawmakers up in arms. "The districts were declared unconstitutional because of race," said state Representative Mickey Micheaux, the civil rights veteran and colorful Democrat from Durham. "If you...

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Report: Electronic Voting System in Durham Targeted by Russian Cyberattack. Officials Say No Vote Counts Affected.

Posted By on Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 6:40 AM

You might remember hearing about voting issues at several Durham precincts on Election Day—particularly, screw-ups with poll books, the electronic systems used to check voters in. Now, NPR reports that the company responsible for providing the poll books was the target of a Russian cyberattack. According to a leaked NSA report, Russian hackers tried to break into VR Systems, the company that provided the poll books for more than twenty North Carolina counties, in August of last year. State officials didn't learn about the attack until nearly a year after it took place—when the news site The Intercept published a...

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bills in North Carolina, Congress Target Companies That Boycott Israel

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2017 at 7:57 AM

North Carolina senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis have cosponsored a bill that could impose stiff criminal and civil penalties for engaging in a boycott of Israel or its occupied territories. A similar—albeit less draconian—state bill, passed in the General Assembly in June, currently sits on Governor Cooper’s desk. These bills target the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement, or BDS, which seeks to stop companies and individuals from supporting businesses that work in Israeli settlements. Modeled after the anti-apartheid movement, BDS began in 2005 to put pressure on Israel to end policies like its occupation of Palestinian territories, which is considered...

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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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IN WASHINGTON IN PERSON
PLAYWRIGHT DR LARRY MYERS PENNED

"DACA DADA/IMMIGRATION BRAILLE"

IN MIDST OF BUILDING SEIZURE
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by CRITIC on "DACA Is Gone, But We're Still Here": Youth Activists Stage a "Death of DACA" Rally in Downtown Raleigh (News)

innocent bystander: You really hit the nail on the head. Nice job. …

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This story is all over the place. Starts off with media interviews in a parking lot, dabbles in legal strategy …

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This "anti-growth" talking point is not supported by the facts. According to the city of …

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IN WASHINGTON IN PERSON
PLAYWRIGHT DR LARRY MYERS PENNED

"DACA DADA/IMMIGRATION BRAILLE"

IN MIDST OF BUILDING SEIZURE
DIRECTOR …

by CRITIC on "DACA Is Gone, But We're Still Here": Youth Activists Stage a "Death of DACA" Rally in Downtown Raleigh (News)

innocent bystander: You really hit the nail on the head. Nice job. …

by MJKopechne on Wildin Acosta Dropped His Asylum Case and Switched Legal Strategies. Will That Save Him from Being Deported? (News)

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