Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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DRUG MAKERS HAVE OBLIGATION TO ADDRESS OPIOID EPIDEMIC: In 2016, for the first time, the number of opioid-related deaths in North Carolina (1,518) exceeded the number of people who died in motor vehicle crashes on the state’s roads (1,439). It is a sorry trend that doesn’t yet appear to be changing. That is not acceptable. The companies that make opioids need to be a part of the solution and pay to fix the mess they helped create. This is hardly new or cutting edge. The massive settlement with tobacco companies several years ago has helped pay for smoking cessation programs as well as establish a foundation that’s provided millions of dollars to help tobacco-dependent communities shift and revive their economies. Similar settlements have provided money for energy efficiency and land conservation initiatives. Drug manufacturers should, on their own, recognize their accountability and accept responsibility to fix the deadly mess they in a very large way created. They should work with communities and states like North Carolina to come up with settlements that provide the funding, programs and treatments to stop this deadly epidemic.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-drug-makers-have-obligation-to-address-opioid-epedemic/17498524/

NC GOP subsidizes Unaffiliated candidate's ballot access and campaign

Not sure if this is even legal, but it's definitely unethical:

Independent N.C. House candidate Ken Fontenot should have enough signatures to see his name on the ballot in November, but supporters aren’t counting electoral chickens before they hatch. “Because they’re not verified, I’m not claiming victory,” said Christy Fyle, chairwoman of the Wilson County Republican Party.

The N.C. Republican Party is also backing Fontenot. State party officials paid for mailers that include a detachable petition signature form with a postage-paid return label to be distributed to 6,000 Wilson County homes. Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, recorded a robocall urging Wilson voters to sign the petition.

Bolding mine, because it takes a special kind of idiot reporter to crank out such nonsense. You're either independent or you're not, and this candidate is not even close:

DNC files broad lawsuit over Russian meddling in 2016 election

They even threw in Julian Assange for good measure:

The Democratic National Committee has sued Russia, President Donald Trump’s campaign, WikiLeaks and others on Friday, alleging a broad conspiracy to influence the 2016 presidential election. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Manhattan, said “the Trump campaign and its agents gleefully welcomed Russia’s help,” which involved releasing hacked emails and spreading misinformation on social media.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy, and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said in a statement. “This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery.” Trump is not one of the people being sued by the Democrats, but the lawsuit does name Donald J. Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Roger Stone, among others.

Before we start "feeling the Bern" over this lawsuit (I.E. whatever the DNC does is wrong and somehow connected to corporate oligarchs), this is "exactly" what needs to be done. Why? Because civil actions generate literally hours of depositions, questions asked and answered, and even one tiny tid-bit of (currently missing) information may be what brings down this house of marked cards. So please, if you see somebody ranting and/or raving about the DNC wasting time or resources pursuing this, try not to spread the disease.

Saturday News: Improbable Cause

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ICE AGENTS USE LIES AND PRETEXT TO ENTER IMMIGRANTS' HOMES: “They give a typically Hispanic name, like Francisco or José, and show a picture,” he said. “And in the course of speaking they ask for identification.” That’s what happened to Edwin Enamorado, one of the two men arrested in Hillsborough last week. His wife, who asked that her name be withheld, said ICE agents tricked her daughter in order to enter her home. The couple’s 18-year-old daughter, who was born in Durham, opened the door, the wife said. Five policemen — only a few with the word ‘ICE’ on their vests — showed her a picture of the man they were looking for. It wasn’t Enamorado. The agents asked to enter the house, promising her they wouldn’t ask for anyone elses's identification. “After verifying and looking in every room, and [realizing] the person they were looking for wasn’t there, they proceeded to ask for documentation of the family and arrested the husband,” Posada said.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/orange-county/article209495499.html

Stop the reefer madness

Two developments this week worth noting:

What's going on? According to the New York Times, the tide has turned, "Thirty-nine states have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes. The legal marijuana industry raked in $9 billion in sales last year and is expected to bring in $11 billion this year. Nevada netted $30 million in tax revenue in the first six months of legal sales, while Colorado has earned more than $500 million in tax revenue since recreational marijuana sales became legal there in 2014."

But while all this money-making is going on, two populations continue to be negatively affected. First are black people, who are four times as likely to be arrested on charges of marijuana possession as whites, even though they use the drug at about the same rate. North Carolina jails and prisons are overflowing with people of color who have been targeted by our racist police forces and our racist laws. There's no other explanation that makes any sense.

Note to school administrators: Don't punish these kids

Because they are doing what you have failed to do:

High school principals made a robo call to parents this week telling them the event planned by CHC Enough, a student-led anti-gun violence organization, would be viewed as a school disruption and violation of the Student Code of Conduct.

"We fully support student voice, however it must be done in a way that is safe and doesn’t negatively impact education," the principals said in their call. "The April 20 walkout as currently promoted is a disruption to the school day, and a violation of the student code of conduct - which will be enforced."

This isn't just a local thing, the entire world is watching. It's the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting, which took place 19 years ago, and should have been a catalyst for changes to laws surrounding the purchase of deadly weapons. Yet we still have loosely-regulated gun shows and pretty much no control over the sales of "long guns." In a word, nothing happened. It's that failure of society and the government it relies upon that has brought this about, and punishing those students for what amounts to protecting their own lives would be shameful. And if you want to see the quintessence of hypocrisy, check this out:

Friday News: Hypocrisy, refined

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WOODHOUSE WAILS ABOUT SUBPOENA, DOESN'T MENTION SUBPOENA OF WAYNE GOODWIN: The North Carolina Democratic Party wants to question the state Republican Party's executive director under oath to find out what he knew and any communications he had with Republican legislative leaders about a law canceling judicial primaries this year. Dallas Woodhouse, the GOP executive director, called a news conference on Thursday to decry the subpoena ordering him to answer questions from attorneys representing the Democratic Party. "This is an unprecedented overreach that could have very dangerous consequences to our political system and our ability to deliver political debate to the people of North Carolina," Woodhouse said with two Republican candidates for office sitting beside him at the party headquarters. At his news conference, Woodhouse failed to mention that Republican lawmakers had subpoenaed the North Carolina Democratic Party executive director as part of the case, too.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article209356399.html

Thursday News: Follow the money

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VOUCHER PROPONENT DARRELL ALLISON NAMED IN NCCU BID-RIGGING LAWSUIT: The lawsuit describes "a series of secret meetings" on N.C. Central's plans to build new on-campus student housing, including a Sunday evening meeting at Akinleye's home in September and an October meeting at Allison's office in downtown Raleigh. At the October meeting, Durant alleges that he told Allison the university needed to run "a fair, open and competitive" contract process. The suit alleges that Allison responded, "In the private sector, we go through those processes too, but we already know the developer we are going to pick up front." Allison denied that. "I know nothing about the vendor process," he said. "I didn't inquire about it. ... I would never reach my hand, or intervene in any way, to manipulate that."
http://www.wral.com/lawsuit-nccu-chancellor-tried-to-steer-housing-contract-bought-suv-with-state-mo...

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