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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/

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

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...

Wednesday News: Lunatic fringe

LARRY PITTMAN SAYS LAWMAKERS WILL HAVE "BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS" IF THEY DON'T ARM TEACHERS: A North Carolina legislator is warning his colleagues that "blood will be on our hands" if teachers and students die as a result of not letting teachers carry guns at school to deal with potential shooters. In an email sent Monday night to all 170 state lawmakers, Rep. Larry Pittman says arming teachers would "provide such a powerful deterrent to those who wish to do harm." The Cabarrus County Republican added that the presence of armed teachers would lead to "a dramatic reduction, if not elimination, of such incidents." Pittman's email was criticized by Kimberly Reynolds, executive director of the N.C. Democratic Party, who said the solution to gun violence in schools is not more guns. "Representative Pittman’s call to arm teachers is dangerous, unproductive, and shows just how far Republicans will go to avoid seriously addressing gun violence."
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article209108594.html

Tuesday News: Big government nightmare

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TRIANGLE MAYORS PROTEST INTRUSIVE ICE RAIDS TEARING FAMILIES APART: Mayor Steve Schewel has condemned last week's immigration raids that took 25 people into custody in the Triangle, including people in the country illegally who were not the initial targets. "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency made arrests of valued Durham residents, including people who are parents of U.S. citizens," Schewel said in a statement. "As mayor of the City of Durham, I condemn these arrests in the strongest possible terms." Last week's raids also brought condemnation from the mayors of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, who said their towns did not know about the raids ahead of time and their police departments did not assist in them. Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood said he also did not have prior knowledge.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/counties/durham-county/article208984369.html

Monday News: Delusional

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DAN FOREST BABBLES SOME RELIGIOUS NONSENSE ABOUT DEMOCRATS: “You see it on issues like climate change or the Me Too movement or Black Lives Matter or gun control,” he continued. “Name the issue today, the fervor has reached a religious pitch in America. Why? Because it really is the religion of the left.” Real societal and cultural change comes with changes in character, Forest argued. Referencing a push for more gun restrictions, Forest at one point noted that God punished Cain — and not the rock — when Cain used a rock to kill his brother Abel in the biblical book of Genesis. The left, however, “they don’t have a hope in God," Forest said. "They have no hope in a higher power. They are hopeless. They truly do believe that, but for the government, but for the work they do, there’s no hope for America. So, it’s a dangerous place to be.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article20...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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SINCLAIR SOWS DOUBT AND DISTRUST, FAILS TO BUILD CONFIDENCE IN THE VALUE OF NEWS: Stating what a station believes in, building a brand that deserves trust, reminding audiences that reporters are committed to giving the audience the information needed to make decisions, is a real plus and a service to your communities. Cutting down the media and playing into the fake news tirade does not build trust. It only feeds into the anxiety about news today. I am not against a corporate owner articulating core values for its properties and asking leaders in their news organizations to be bridges with the audience. However, dragging down others as proponents of fake news, sowing doubt and distrust, does not help build confidence in our business or its values. Saying “We’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country” without providing facts does not fit a reporter’s role. I would have declined to read that—no matter what the consequences.
http://www.wral.com/susan-king-sinclair-sows-doubt-distrust-fails-to-build-confidence-in-news-busine...

Saturday News: Cry "Havoc"

US, UK, AND FRANCE LAUNCH MISSILE ATTACK ON OUTSKIRTS OF DAMASCUS: The United States, France and Britain launched military strikes in Syria to punish President Bashar Assad for an apparent chemical attack against civilians and to deter him from doing it again, but also stirred up angry responses from Syria's allies and ignited a debate over whether the attacks were justified. Pentagon officials said the attacks targeted the heart of Assad's programs to develop and produce chemical weapons. Defense officials from the countries involved in the attack gave differing accounts of how much warning was given to the Russians, Syria's powerful ally. Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. did not coordinate targets with or notify the Russian government of the strikes, beyond normal airspace "de-confliction" communications. But the description from an ally described things differently. But French Defense Minister Florence Parly said that "with our allies, we ensured that the Russians were warned ahead of time."
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article208899459.html

Friday News: Cultural decline?

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DAN FOREST "RETREATS" TO THE MOUNTAINS FOR ALL-MALE CHRISTIAN BONDING: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and dozens of other Christian men spent last weekend in the North Carolina mountains at an invitation-only retreat organized by Forest and his supporters. They slept 10 to a room "like a summer camp," according to Forest's chief of staff and campaign manager Hal Weatherman. “There’s no political conversation," Forest told host Pete Kaliner. "There’s nothing political at all.” The event has a website, but the site makes clear participation is invitation only. Weatherman said volunteers recruit attendees from around the state to create "a strong geographic reach." “Many of you share my concerns about the cultural decline of our country, our state and our communities," Forest, a social conservative widely expected to run for governor in 2020, says on the website. "To combat this decline, I’m continuing to hold the annual Black Mountain Weekend. ... Speakers and presenters will share their real-world experiences and lead the group in discussions on issues that confront our nation, state and communities."
http://www.wral.com/lt-gov-forest-holds-men-only-christian-retreats-in-nc-mountains/17482130/

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