Thursday News: Good riddance


AFTER IMPEACHMENT VOTE, MARK MEADOWS THROWS IN THE TOWEL: Republican congressman Mark Meadows, a top ally to President Donald Trump, said Thursday that he won't seek reelection. His announcement comes just a day after the U.S. House voted to impeach Trump on charges that he abused his power and obstructed Congress. In a statement, the North Carolina congressman said he struggled with the decision and came to it after discussion with his family. “My work with President Trump and his administration is only beginning. This President has accomplished incredible results for the country in just three years, and I’m fully committed to staying in the fight with him and his team to build on those successes and deliver on his promises for the years to come," Meadows said in the statement. “I’ve always said Congress is a temporary job, but the fight to return Washington, DC to its rightful owner, We The People, has only just begun."

Did Bob Rucho orchestrate the Silent Sham deal?


It would come as no big surprise if he did:

In an email dated this February, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans asks for a meeting with UNC Board of Governors member Bob Rucho, but the documents include no other correspondence until November.

That's when the UNC System asked the attorney general's office for approval to retain outside counsel for a possible settlement regarding Silent Sam. Eight days later, the settlement was done, and UNC-Chapel Hill — the campus where the statue once stood — had been told to transfer $2,574,999 to the university system.

I generally refrain from asking questions in headlines (like the above), because it borders on a logical fallacy and can easily drag you into conspiracy theory territory. But I'm also a big fan of Occam's Razor. If the SCV wanted a meeting with Rucho back in February and didn't get it, there would likely have been some follow-up communications shortly thereafter. Since there weren't, we can assume that the meeting took place, or at least some form of communication transpired between the two entities outside of official channels. Another question that needs answering: Why did they pick Bob Rucho to meet with out of the 5 members tasked with solving the problem? I know why they didn't pick Darrel Allison, although he is probably clueless.

Wednesday News: Deadly negligence


CHERIE BERRY'S LONG HISTORY OF IGNORING WORKPLACE HAZARDS: The North Carolina Justice Center, in a report to be released in coming days, has now traced how rarely Berry’s OSH has hit its business partners, even after fatalities, with its stiffest penalty – for those that willfully, or knowingly, put workers in harm’s way. OSH inspections after the deaths led to 13 citations for willful violations against nine employers, each carrying a maximum penalty of $70,000, said the report made available to McClatchy. But nine of the citations against five companies were later dropped. In other words, only four employers faced the harshest penalty out of more than 240 firms with fatalities, the group said. In separate studies, the AFL-CIO found that the average fatality-related fines assessed to North Carolina employers in fiscal years 2017 and 2018 were 25.3% and 38.4% of the national average. McClatchy gathered details about some of these incidents as part of a six-month investigation into the ways the state enforces laws designed to safeguard about 4 million workers. Even in some of the state’s deadliest workplace disasters — incidents that could have been averted with modest corrective actions — employers have been spared severe financial penalties, interviews and documents show.

Tuesday News: Bully in a uniform

VANCE COUNTY SHERIFF FIRES DEPUTY WHO BODY-SLAMMED 11 YEAR-OLD: A North Carolina sheriff said Monday that he has fired a school resource officer seen on surveillance video violently slamming a middle school student to the ground twice and then dragging the boy off camera. Vance County Sheriff Curtis Brame issued a statement Monday that the deputy is no longer employed by his office. The deputy hasn't been named. It wasn't clear if the deputy would face charges. The district attorney didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment. “Law enforcement officers are frequently brought in to schools to handle routine school discipline and this far too often is the result—an outrageously excessive use of force on young children. This must end. Our children deserve better," said Karen Baynes-Dunning, interim CEO and president of SPLC.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

No big surprise, but it still needs exposure:

And I'm also waiting for the faux-Libertarians to howl about government waste...still waiting...

Falling apart

My Naval Academy classmates decided to have a holiday conference call this year. I'm not dialing in.

For the longest time, I thought we graduates were supposed to be leaders among leaders in the military, pinnacles of honor, officers and gentlemen. Each of us actually took a solemn oath to protect and defend the constitution.

That was then.

Today, some of my classmates are gleeful Trump supporters. It's astounding and profoundly unsettling.

SCV members complain about exremist takeover of group

And it's a lot uglier than we thought:

Internal conflict has intensified within the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc. since its questionable settlement with the UNC System weeks ago. The settlement accrued the organization ownership of Silent Sam, as well as $2.5 million in UNC System money to fund the Confederate monument’s “preservation and benefit.” Kevin Stone, the state chapter’s commander, called it a “major strategic victory” for the pro-Confederate movement.

But multiple current members of the SCV chapter led by Stone, who spoke to The Daily Tar Heel and were granted anonymity based on personal safety concerns, are taking a far different tone.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts, I just wanted to comment on how very common this situation is, when petty tyrants move into positions of authority. It happens on condo boards, homeowners associations, committees and commissions, and even political party sub-groups (county, caucuses, etc.) These people will inevitably play upon your prejudices, in an effort to create an aura of conflict that doesn't exist (yet), and once placed in power they make that conflict a reality. Needless to say, when you see one of these people, run like the wind. Back to the confederacy of dunces:


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