Thursday News: Suborned


POPE-FUNDED THINK TANK TAKES CREDIT FOR MANIPULATING UNC BOARD OF GOVERNORS: A conservative think tank in North Carolina is taking some credit for recent university policies enacted by the legislature and the UNC Board of Governors. In its Thanksgiving-themed fundraising letter, the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal thanked its supporters and referred to them as partners in higher education reform. “Thank you for helping us make great strides this year in advancing needed reforms in North Carolina,” said the email, signed by Jenna Robinson, president of the center. “Finally we’ve seen action from the people who are in the position to make decisions,” she said. “Seeing that means that we are pointing out problems that people think are important. We will continue to point out those problems, and obviously not every problem that we point out will lead anyone to take any particular action.”

TWO UNC GRADS MAKE FORBES "30 UNDER 30" LIST FOR HELPING LATINO STUDENTS EXCEL: Two employees of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were named to Forbes "30 Under 30" list honoring young people changing delivery and access to education. Ricky Hurtado and Elaine Townsend Utin are co-executive directors of the NC Scholar’s Latinx Initiative (N.C. Sli), a project of the Center for Global Initiatives. One of N.C. Sli’s most successful programs prepares Latinx high school students for a college education, starting in the sophomore year of high school to identify and develop young leaders. Students in the High School Scholars Program are mentored by current college students and linked with financial aid and scholarships and other resources that allow them to develop professional and leadership skills.

MCCRORY ANGRY THAT GOVERNOR COOPER ISN'T BEING PROTESTED LIKE HE WAS: To hear former Gov. Pat McCrory tell it, protesters would still be carrying on in front of the governor’s mansion if only they read the fine print of the so-called HB2 repeal. That’s what they did after McCrory last year signed House Bill 2, which required people to use bathrooms in North Carolina government facilities that matched their birth certificate. HB2 is a touchy subject for McCrory, who faced immediate backlash from corporations, advocacy groups and sports organizations. He then went on to lose a tight race to Democrat Roy Cooper in last November’s election. “Everyone’s pretending the problem's solved and we're going to move on,” he continued. “It was a fake issue in many ways all along, and this is one issue where it's fake news that a bill was signed and very little changed except for the public perception.”

RHETORICAL BATTLES INTENSIFY AS DEADLINE FOR NEW ELECTORAL MAPS APPROACHES: This might be Thanksgiving week, but for lawyers wrapped up in North Carolina’s racial gerrymandering case it’s just another occasion to bicker. With Guilford County once again in their crosshairs, the two sides accused each other in newly filed paperwork of political calculation and hypocrisy in their efforts to reshape the legislative redistricting process that should have ended about seven years ago. The outcome depends on a panel of three federal judges in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina who recently appointed a “special master” to fix remaining flaws in state House and Senate electoral districts that the legislators redrew this summer under court order.

FACEBOOK SAYS IT WILL TRY TO INFORM USERS WHO WERE DUPED BY RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA: Facebook says it will show users if they followed or ‘liked’ Russia propaganda accounts on its service or on Instagram. The company said Wednesday it will launch a portal to let people see which accounts of the Internet Research Agency they followed between January 2015 and August 2017. The tool will be available by the end of the year. But it won’t show users if they merely saw — or even “liked” — posts from those pages. Facebook, Google and Twitter testified before Congress this month, acknowledging that agents tied to the Russian government used their platforms to try to meddle with the U.S. elections. Facebook has said that as many as 150 million Facebook and Instagram users may have seen ads from the Internet Research Agency.