Thursday News: Obsessive and compulsive


HARRY BROWN'S RELENTLESS ATTACK ON WIND ENERGY CONTINUES: A proposed ban on new wind farms in much of eastern North Carolina re-emerged at the statehouse Wednesday but shrunk to a three-year moratorium instead of an indefinite one. The three-year ban, in areas where the state considers the obstruction risk significant, cleared the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday. It's keyed to a map the state produced identifying hundreds of square miles that would be off limits. Most of that land is in eastern North Carolina, but the no-build zone extends into the Piedmont, and there's a swath in the western part of the state as well. The bill has two more committees to go, but it could be on the Senate floor early next week. It would need House approval, too, and would be subject to veto from the governor.

GOP WANTS TO DELAY ENFORCEMENT OF LAW ADVANCING LOW-INCOME SMART CHILDREN: Last June, state lawmakers overwhelmingly passed bipartisan legislation to require schools to place in advanced math classes any students who scored a Level 5 — the highest level on state math exams. Republican and Democratic lawmakers credited the law to the 2017 News & Observer and Charlotte Observer “Counted Out” series that showed that thousands of bright, low-income students were being excluded from advanced classes. But on Wednesday, the House Education Committee backed a bill that would delay implementation of the advanced math requirements for the 2019-20 school year. Lawmakers said they want to give school districts more time to see how to carry out the legislation’s requirements. “This is going to delay implementation for a year so that (school districts) can report back on how are you dealing with this so that we have a better understanding of are we short on staff, are we short on math teachers to even implement the piece,” said Rep. Jeffrey Elmore, a Wilkes County Republican and co-chairman of the House Education Committee.

"SOUTH PARK SUSAN" GETS ONE YEAR PROBATION FOR RACIST RANT IN PARKING LOT: Authorities say a white woman in North Carolina whose racist rant against two black women having car trouble was captured in a viral video has been sentenced to probation and will not go to jail. News sources report Meghan McDonald of the Mecklenburg County district attorney's office says 52-year-old Susan Westwood was sentenced Wednesday to one year of unsupervised probation. Westwood pleaded guilty to misuse of the 911 system and two counts of simple assault. Judge Donald Cureton also ordered Westwood to pay court costs, continue attending "community support" meetings and any recommended alcohol programs. Cureton also ordered her to participate in meetings of a group that encourages white participants to "examine and deconstruct their internalized racial superiority." The video showed Westwood berating black neighbors she didn't recognize while they waited for AAA last October.

TRUMP WANTS THOSE MIGRANT CHILDREN TO JUST STAY IN THEIR CAGES: The Trump administration said Wednesday that it would begin restricting or canceling education, legal aid and playground recreation for migrant children housed in government shelters as a result of financial constraints created by the “crisis at the border.” The government’s plans were swiftly rebuked by civil rights lawyers representing unaccompanied children, who have been crossing the border in ever-larger numbers this year to flee poverty and violence in their home countries, mainly in Central America. And the chief of at least one large shelter operator said he would continue to offer education and sports at his network’s facilities. Some 13,200 migrant children, including adolescents who crossed the border alone and young children who were separated from their parents, are currently housed in more than 100 shelters across the country. They receive English instruction, as well as math, civics and other classes. Most facilities have a sports field and allow children to go outside, often to play soccer, at least once a day.

TRUMP'S "UNALIENABLE RIGHTS" COMMISSION WILL ERODE WOMEN'S RIGHTS GLOBALLY: The Trump Commission on Unalienable Rights is likely to champion the “natural family” and “traditional values.” As one of its first official acts, the Trump administration reimposed the “Mexico City policy,” also known as the global gag rule, banning support for international family planning programs that perform, promote or offer information about abortion. The United States has sought to purge all references to “sexual and reproductive health” at the United Nations since 2017. This term, favored by mainstream human rights activists, is viewed by conservatives as code for abortion, gay and transgender rights, as well as other acts or identities that they see as “unnatural.” In April, the United States threatened to veto a Security Council resolution on sexual violence in war zones unless the term was removed, pleasing “traditional values” groups around the world. Another likely commission favorite will be the right to individual self-defense as a justification for opposing international and domestic gun control. The National Rifle Association and its foreign allies already argue that the right to own a gun is basic to self-defense and fundamental to all other human rights. At the NRA convention in April, President Trump publicly repudiated the Arms Trade Treaty regulating the international gun trade as a threat to Americans’ Second Amendment freedoms.