Opinion Roundup: Trump-Putin summit, Charlotte approves GOP convention, gerrymandering reform, monitoring social activists and more
Posted July 17, 2018 8:59 a.m. EDT
Tuesday, July 17, 2018 -- A round up of opinion, commentary and analysis on: N.C. lawmakers criticize Russia following Trump-Putin summit, Charlotte narrowly approves GOP convention, police monitoring of social activists, required UNC textbook calls cancer a ‘disease of choice’ and more.
Stand up to Trump (Greensboro News & Record/Winston-Salem Journal) -- This is what the president of the United States said on Twitter, just before he had sat down with Russian President Vladimir Putin for about two hours of private conversation:
Donald Trump’s disgraceful bow to Russia (Charlotte Observer) - -President Trump chooses the wrong side in a press conference. Will enough Republicans finally say so?
Margaret Sullivan: A newly crucial job for the American press (Washington Post column) -- It was press conference as national nightmare, summed up succinctly by the BBC on its home page minutes later with this headline: "Trump Sides With Russia Against FBI."
MARK BARRETT: Burr: Trump shouldn't believe Putin denial on Russian election meddling (Asheville Citizen Times reports) — Russia did interfere with U.S. elections in 2016, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said Monday, contradicting remarks President Donald Trump made at a press conference at the end of his summit meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, earlier in the day. Burr said Trump should recognize that Putin is lying about Russia's involvement in the election and related issues.
PAUL WOOLVERTON: N.C. lawmakers criticize Russia following Trump-Putin summit (Fayeteville Observer reports) — Three of the four congressional lawmakers who represent the Fayetteville area issued statements critical of Russia following President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.
MIKE DUBONIS: Freedom Caucus leaders want Rod Rosenstein investigated for alleged threats against congressional aides (Washington Post reports) -- Republican Reps. Mark Meadows (N.C.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) requested the probe of Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, according to a letter obtained by The Post. Rosenstein has denied making any threats.
TOM FOREMAN Jr.: By a 1-vote margin, city leaders OK bid for GOP convention (AP reports) — A divided North Carolina city council narrowly approved a bid Monday to host the 2020 Republican National Convention, a decision that followed nearly two hours of comments pro and con from local residents and council members.
VALERIE BAUERLEIN: Charlotte narrowly approves GOP convention (Wall Street Journal reports) -- The Charlotte, N.C., City Council narrowly approved a deal to host the 2020 Republican convention, over the objections of Democratic council members opposed to hosting President Donald Trump’s expected nomination for a second term.
ALAN BLINDER: Charlotte Reluctantly Says It’s Willing to Host Republican National Convention (New York Times reports) -- Through hours of public debate and a razor-close council vote, Charlotte, N.C., a city that prides itself on being a beacon of progress in the South, grappled with how to live up to its values. Should it be a haven for free speech and diverse ideas, or take a stand against a strain of politics that many residents bitterly oppose? At issue: whether to host the Republican National Convention in 2020.
ABBIE BENNETT: ‘Welcome to the resistance:’ NC Uber driver kicked Republican passengers out, they say (Durham Herald-Sun reports) -- Six Republican campaign volunteers say an Uber driver left them at a gas station near Raleigh, North Carolina. The driver said he had the right to deny the Republicans service and told them “Welcome to the resistance,” the passengers said.
POLICY & POLITICS
SCOTT SEXTON: Bert Bennett helped shape nation, N.C. and Winston-Salem (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- Bert Bennett Jr.’s record as a political figure is difficult to match. He played an integral part in the election of governors Terry Sanford and Jim Hunt and led John F. Kennedy’s campaign in North Carolina. His influence in transforming the state into a model of the New South is revered to this day. He found success not only in the political and business arenas but also in his relationships with people. Bennett died Monday at age 97.
Bert Bennett, political power broker who helped shape NC’s reputation for moderation (Durham Herald-Sun reports) - -Bert Bennett, a Winston-Salem businessman who for 40 years was North Carolina’s most important Democratic Party power broker helping shape the state’s reputation for moderation, died Monday at age 97.
SAM WANG, BEN WILLIAMS, & RICK OBER: States Are Now the Best Route to Gerrymandering Reform (American Prospect analysis) -- Here are four ways to attack gerrymandering at a state-by-state level: 1) Governors. This is the most straightforward political solution. In most states – BUT NOT N.C. -- the governor has a critical role in drawing new districts. 2) State-constitution-based lawsuits. 3) Voter initiatives. Even in the best case, court rulings can only stem the worst gerrymanders because courts tend to defer to a state’s own legislative processes. 4) Legislation. Every one of the Egregious Eight is covered by one of the three options above. In some states, however, a gerrymander can be struck down by a court only after it is passed. To avoid such a protracted dispute, one last possibility exists: Legislatures will clean up their own acts.
JONATHAN DREW: Judge says deputy likely violated rights in 2015 fatal shooting (AP reports) -- Relatives of a N.C. man fatally shot by a deputy can proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit after a judge found sufficient evidence that his constitutional rights were violated. U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle rejected a request by the Harnett County Sheriff's Office to dismiss the case. Boyle also said other plaintiffs alleging separate instances of excessive force by deputies have enough evidence to proceed with their claims.
JOHN SIDES: What data on 20 million traffic stops can tell us about ‘driving while black’ (Washington Post reports) -- In their book “Suspect Citizens,” the political scientists Frank Baumgartner, Derek Epp and Kelsey Shoub dive deep into an extraordinary North Carolina database on how police officers treat ordinary citizens. They kindly answered some questions via email.
JOEL BURGESS: Police monitoring of social activists has recent history in NC (Asheville Citizen Times reports) — Police monitoring of social activists has recent precedence in North Carolina. One example came to light last fall at UNC Chapel Hill. Students who had called during protests for removal of the university's "Silent Sam" Confederate statue, discovered months later a campus police officer worked among them undercover.
JOEL BURGESS: Asheville police launched operation to gather intelligence on civil rights groups (Asheville Citizen Times reports) — Two years ago, after the fatal police shooting of a local black man ignited a summer of racial tension, police launched an intelligence operation to monitor the efforts of two civil rights groups, a Citizen Times investigation has found. Asheville Police Department Chief Tammy Hooper authorized the monitoring of Black Lives Matter and Showing Up for Racial Justice in response to what she said were threats to officers after the shooting of Jai "Jerry" Williams by a white police sergeant.
TRAVIS FAIN: Report ties NRA money to Tillis campaign consultants via third group (WRAL-TV reports) -- Millions of dollars in National Rifle Association political spending to a major campaign vendor for U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis has opened more questions of illegal coordination in the rough-and-tumble 2014 Senate race. The Campaign Legal Center in Washington filed a Federal Election Commission complaint Monday. This is the second time this year the group has reached back to Tillis' 2014 election and suggested illegal coordination by outside groups.
JANE STANCILL: Textbook calls cancer a ‘disease of choice’ -- and it’s required reading for UNC students (Durham-Herald Sun reports) — The online textbox “21st Century Wellness” for the required Lifetime Fitness class at UNC-Chapel Hill calls cancer a disease of choice and describes a theory that Holocaust victims failed to tap into their inner strength.
SLOANE HEFFERNAN: 'Education is possibility:' From African orphanage to Wake Tech (WRAL reports) — Eddie Mutebi is still struggling to believe the fairy tale that saw him go from African orphan to ambassador for Wake Technical Community College.
State teacher support program relocating to ECU (Greenville Daily Reflector reports) — A statewide support program for new teachers will relocate this month from the UNC System office to the campus of East Carolina University, university officials announced Monday.The North Carolina New Teacher Support Program is a comprehensive, university-based induction program offering a research-based curriculum and services to promote retention and improve the effectiveness of beginning teachers,
Why we need to tell the real Civil War story (Fayetteville Observer) — The N.C. Civil war & Reconstruction History Center is making steady progress toward becoming a brick-and-mortar reality. Support for the center is growing, but not without great difficulty in the African-American community, where many leaders remain skeptical about what some see as just another monument to the war — and to the institution of slavery that brought many of their forebears here.
YASMIN BENDASS: Eastern NC high school students blend leadership and STEM learning (EdNC reports) —Eastern N.C. STEM launched in 2013 with programming to provide STEM learning opportunities for high school students in disadvantaged communities. Now in its sixth year, approximately 100 students participated in two weeks of ENC STEM summer programming at Northampton County High School. Of those students, 70 were selected to complete the third week at the North Carolina School of Science and Math
ROBERT KINLAW: A unique charter and district school collaboration to engage parents (EdNC reports) — It should come as no surprise that parents have ideas about how they want their kids to be educated in the classroom. But how often are parents asked for input? And when they are, how often is that information actually used to improve the public education system?
THOMAS GOLDSMITH: Focus on Postoperative Decline Could Help NC Patients, Hospitals (NC Health News reports) — Conversation after an older person’s surgery sometimes goes like this: “Grandpa has just not been the same since his operation — he often forgets words and can’t complete simple tasks.” Doctors have long believed that cognitive decline often follows surgery — more than half of people who have open-heart surgery go through it — but its precise nature remains under study. Duke neuropsychologist Jeffrey Browndyke is part of an international group that has been working toward a standard definition for postoperative cognitive disorder, or POCD, both to improve treatment and to merit its inclusion in the influential DSM-5, the manual that helps behavioral health practitioners make accurate diagnoses.
INDIA MACKINSON: Durham Tech, UNC Launch Anesthesia Technology Program (NC Health News reports) — To address the need for anesthesia technologists, Durham Technical Community College will launch a new anesthesia technology program in the fall in partnership with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, the UNC School of Medicine and UNC Health Care.
CANDACE SWEAT: 'Potential game-changer:' Town of Cary will screen human waste to measure opioid use (WRAL reports) — To do their part in addressing the opioid crisis, the Town of Cary will consider screening sewage to track down users, raising questions about privacy and the logistics of the plan. Town leaders say there will be roughly 10 sampling stations within the town’s wastewater collection system that will measure the concentration of opioids in human waste and wastewater.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
KATHLEEN ONOREVOLE: New Tool Makes Oyster Restoration Easier (Coastal Review Online reports) — Oyster reefs may not be coming to a real estate listing near you, but thanks to recent work by a group of local scientists, finding the ideal home for oysters just became a lot easier. A diverse group of scientists and stakeholders have created a model that indicates optimal locations to restore oyster reefs.
CHRISTY KUESEL: Headed for the slaughterhouse, chased by dogs, 500-pound pig gets new leash on life (Durham-Herald Sun reports) — When officers found Toby, he had collapsed on the side of Interstate 40.Now, the pig has a chance at a calmer life, in the company of over 30 other pigs, a goat named Winston and a flock of peacocks.
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