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Friday News: Gerrymandering rollercoaster

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SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH GOP AND BLOCKS NEW DISTRICT MAPS: The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the decision of a lower court ordering North Carolina lawmakers to redraw the state's congressional districts by next week. A panel of three federal judges recently struck down the map drawn in 2016 as excessively partisan and demanded a new map be completed by Jan. 24. At the same time, the judges wanted to appoint an independent expert to draw a second map for them to consider. When the judges refused to stay their order, lawmakers appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that rushing out a new map would throw elections into chaos. Candidate filing for congressional and other offices starts Feb. 12. The 7-2 ruling by the Supreme Court means the map drawn in 2016 will be used in the May primaries and this fall's elections.

Thursday News: Demagogue

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MARK MEADOWS (ONCE AGAIN) MAY BE KEY DRIVER OF GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: As Republicans in Congress scramble for the votes needed to pass a fourth temporary funding bill to avoid a government shutdown, House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows wants the House to look beyond the four-week measure. “At what point are we going to have a plan on where we’re going to land or are we just going to hope Feb. 16 is better than Jan. 19 because it’s in a different month?” said Meadows, a western North Carolina Republican. Meadows said he and members of the conservative Freedom Caucus were willing to vote no – against the wishes of House leadership and the White House, which came out in support of the funding bill Wednesday. The measure includes funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, but not a fix for young immigrants brought to the country illegally.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article19...

Wednesday News: Bring them inside

HOMELESS MAN FREEZES TO DEATH UNDER SALISBURY BRIDGE: Police believe a homeless man froze to death under a bridge in North Carolina. The Salisbury Post reports that a relative found 74-year-old Robert Clarence Doyle under a bridge early Sunday morning, when the temperature was in the teens. Police reports say the victim's brother knew he was there but hadn't spoken with him in a few days. The newspaper says the two last spoke Jan. 11 by phone. The brother told police that Doyle had a number of health issues and would not seek help. Police Lt. Greg Beam says it's believed that Doyle died as a result of exposure to the cold weather.
http://www.wral.com/police-homeless-man-likely-froze-to-death-in-n-carolina/17261725/

Tuesday News: Voices of dissent

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MLK'S CHILDREN SPEAK OUT AGAINST TRUMP'S RACIST COMMENTS ABOUT IMMIGRATION: In Washington, King's eldest son, Martin Luther King III, criticized Trump, saying, "When a president insists that our nation needs more citizens from white states like Norway, I don't even think we need to spend any time even talking about what it says and what it is." In Atlanta, King's daughter, the Rev. Bernice King, told hundreds of people who packed the pews of the Ebenezer Baptist Church that they "cannot allow the nations of the world to embrace the words that come from our president as a reflection of the true spirit of America." Down the street from Trump's Mar-a-Lago retreat in Palm Beach, Florida, on Monday, Haitian protesters and Trump supporters yelled at each other from opposing corners. Trump was staying at the resort for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article194706414.html

Monday News: Denial is a river in Egypt

TRUMP CLAIMS HE'S NOT A RACIST, NEVER MADE THOSE COMMENTS: "No, No. I'm not a racist," Trump said Sunday, after reporters asked him to respond to those who think he is. "I am the least racist person you have ever interviewed. That I can tell you." Trump also denied making the statements attributed to him, but avoided the details of what he did or did not say. "Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments?" he asked, referring to lawmakers who were meeting with him in the Oval Office on Thursday when Trump is said to have made the comments. "They weren't made." Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the only Democrat at Thursday's meeting, said Trump had indeed said what he was reported to have said. Durbin said the remarks were "vile, hate-filled and clearly racial in their content." He said Trump used the most vulgar term "more than once." When it came to talk of extending protections for Haitians, Durbin said Trump replied, "We don't need more Haitians.'" "He said, 'Put me down for wanting more Europeans to come to this country. Why don't we get more people from Norway?'" Durbin said.
http://www.wral.com/on-defensive-trump-declares-i-m-not-a-racist-/17258129/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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RURAL BROADBAND NEEDS A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD IN NC: Broadband access is a critical resource for all Americans to participate in today’s technology-driven society. Access to educational information is vital. It is imperative for educators, students and parents to have reliable broadband or a creative approach to ensure students in rural areas have a level playing field with high speed broadband and access to the world. At issue is who will build the infrastructure to accommodate rural communities lacking access. Local governments that cannot legally build their own systems are challenged with convincing private sector companies to invest in rural areas. In 2008, Wilson built its own high speed broadband network. But a federal appeals court reinstated a 2011 North Carolina law that blocks local governments from building their own broadband service in competition with telecommunications providers.
http://www.wral.com/carolina-commentary-broadband-needs-a-level-playing-field/17253393/

Saturday News: Charter pirates

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NEW STUDY SHOWS NC'S CHARTERS TAKING SIGNIFICANT FUNDS FROM TRADITIONAL SCHOOLS: The paper, released in December, found that charter schools had “significant negative fiscal” effects on Durham Public Schools, the Orange County school system and four other North Carolina districts studied in the report. In the case of Durham, the study found that charter schools are creating a fiscal burden for the district between $500 and $700 per student. “(North Carolina) is imposing additional costs on local districts by authorizing charter schools,” Duke University professor Helen Ladd and University of Rochester professor John Singleton wrote in the study. “As we have shown, the negative financial impacts are large, particularly in the urban and densely populated district of Durham but also in some of the non-urban counties as well. Moreover, the continued expansion of charter schools in non-urban districts is likely to impose an increasingly large fiscal burden over time.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article194381019.html

Friday News: Racist-In-Chief

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TRUMP FACING INTERNATIONAL BACKLASH OVER REFERRING TO AFRICAN COUNTRIES AS "SHITHOLES.": The U.N. human rights office says President Donald Trump's reported use of an expletive to describe Africa and other countries could "potentially damage and disrupt the lives of many people." Repeating the term attributed to Trump a day earlier, spokesman Rupert Colville says that "you cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as 'shitholes'." Colville said Friday that the comments, if confirmed, were "shocking and shameful" and "I'm sorry, but there's no other word one can use but racist." People briefed on the extraordinary Oval Office conversation confirmed the remarks, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss it publicly. White House spokesman Raj Shah did not deny them when asked.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/world/article194333599.html

Thursday News: Heartless

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TRUMP MOVING TO REQUIRE SOME MEDICAID RECIPIENTS GET A JOB OR LOSE COVERAGE: In a major policy shift that could affect millions of low-income people, the Trump administration said Thursday it is offering a path for states that want to seek work requirements on Medicaid recipients. The administration said 10 states — mostly conservative ones — have applied for waivers involving work requirements or community involvement. They are: Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. Advocates for low-income people say they expect Kentucky's waiver to be approved shortly. "It is a very major change in Medicaid that for the first time would allow people to be cut off for not meeting a work requirement, regardless of the hardship they may suffer," said Judy Solomon of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which advocates for the poor. The Obama administration would have never approved such waivers, she added.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/article194107449.html

Wednesday News: Auto-erotic asphyxiation?

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NC LOSES OUT ON ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE MANUFACTURING PLANT AS TOYOTA CHOOSES ALABAMA: North Carolina appears to have lost out on its latest bid for a vehicle manufacturing plant, with numerous media outlets reporting that Toyota and Mazda plan to build a $1.6 billion plant in Alabama. "News of our economic success seems to be a daily occurrence," she said. "Your dedication, your commitment to hard work and our skilled workforce, companies choose Alabama because of your ability to work hard and be dependable." North Carolina has tried for years to land an auto plant, creating four "mega-sites" ready to accommodate a large manufacturing operation and expanding state incentive funds to provide more money to lure "transformative projects." But all of the state's efforts have been in vain, with companies from Volvo to Mercedes to Hyundai picking other sites in the Southeast. The companies were reportedly seeking $1 billion in incentives from state and local governments to land the plant.
http://www.wral.com/reports-nc-loses-toyota-mazda-car-plant-to-alabama/17245494/

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