Wednesday News: Release the Tape


PROTESTERS ARRESTED IN ELIZABETH CITY, FBI BEGINS CIVIL RIGHTS PROBE: Four people, including the Rev. Curtis Gatewood, lay in Elizabeth Street, waiting for arrest as they sang “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around.” All four were arrested, along with at least two others. Protesters have peacefully protested in Elizabeth City each night since last week. Tuesday was the first night Elizabeth City had an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in place. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Tuesday for a special prosecutor to investigate Brown’s death. And the FBI has launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting. By 11 p.m. Tuesday, arrests had been made and police were leaving to shouts of “Shame on you!” A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Pasquotank County Courthouse regarding a petition for the release of the body-cam footage.

REPUBLICANS PUSH BILL TO CURTAIL LAWSUIT SETTLEMENTS BY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Senate Republicans advanced a bill Tuesday meant to prevent lawsuit settlements from shifting election rules without first getting approval from the General Assembly that wrote those rules. The bill again pits the legislature's Republican majority against Gov. Roy Cooper over control of election procedures. They've sparred over control of the State Board of Elections since before Cooper took office. GOP leaders are upset over a lawsuit settlement that changed North Carolina's absentee ballot rules after ballots went out last year, adding another six days for people to mail in those ballots and relaxing the state's witness requirement for mail-in ballots. Senate Bill 360 says that, if legislative leaders are party to a lawsuit, it can't be settled without agreement from top legislative leaders. It's titled: "Prohibit Collusive Settlements by the Attorney General," and GOP lawmakers accuse Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein and state Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell of conspiring with plaintiffs in the suit to change the state's election laws. Stein and Brinson Bell deny the charge. Brinson Bell said in a statement Tuesday that she's never even spoken with the lead attorney in the case, Marc Elias, and that she wasn't involved in negotiations.

NC TEACHERS WOULD BE FINGERPRINTED AND HAVE TO PAY FOR THEIR OWN BACKGROUND CHECKS IF BILL PASSES: On Tuesday, Torbett gutted a bill on school discipline to turn it into a criminal background check bill. Under the bill, the State Board of Education would require teacher candidates and those seeking renewal of their license to undergo a criminal records check. This would include submitting their fingerprints. The North Carolina Association of Educators has in the past said it’s not against requiring the checks. But it is opposed to making people pay for it out of their own pockets. Under the legislation, people who are required to undergo a criminal records check would be charged for the cost. It would be up to the current or prospective employer whether to pay for them. The Education Committee backed several other bills on Tuesday including Legislation that waives the requirement that teachers pay $50 for a substitute teacher to cover their classes when they take a personal day. To not pay, teachers would have to give the reason for the absence to their supervisor.

CONSERVATIVE "REPORTER" FOR NY POST PUBLISHED FALSE STORY ABOUT KAMALA HARRIS CHILDREN'S BOOK: A longtime New York Post reporter said she has resigned after being “ordered” to write a false story that claimed undocumented minors were being welcomed to the United States with copies of a children’s book written by Vice President Harris. Italiano originally reported on Friday that “unaccompanied migrant kids brought from the U.S.-Mexico border to a new shelter in Long Beach, Calif.,” would be given a copy of the book “in their welcome kits.” Her story attributed this claim to the Reuters photo, and the Post spun it into an all-caps pun for the front page of its print edition: “KAM ON IN.” A follow-up story by a different New York Post reporter on Monday reported that “thousands” of copies were being given to the children, and that White House press secretary Jen Psaki had “no answers” when asked whether Harris was profiting from the purported giveaways. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker debunked the stories early Tuesday morning, and several hours later the stories disappeared from the New York Post’s website without explanation. A Fox News story published online over the weekend was corrected Tuesday to note that only one donated book was known to exist. But it still alleged that “the inclusion of the book raises questions over who is providing funding for the welcome packs.” (It was the second high-profile correction for Fox News in about 24 hours. On Monday, the network walked back a false report that President Biden intended to restrict consumption of red meat.) A Fox spokeswoman did not provide an initial comment about the children’s book story. The network is controlled by Rupert Murdoch, who also controls the New York Post.

TOKEN BLACK REPUBLICAN SENATOR TO GIVE REBUTTAL TO BIDEN'S ADDRESS: After President Biden delivers his first joint address to Congress Wednesday evening, the task of pushing back against the president’s vision will fall to Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina. Mr. Scott was tapped to deliver the rebuttal by the Republican leaders — Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Representative Kevin McCarthy of California — at a time when the G.O.P. has been eager to bolster its support with people of color. And during his years in the Senate, Mr. Scott has often provided guidance for his colleagues on matters of race. Most recently, as the debate about police brutality has intensified, Mr. Scott has offered his own candid experiences on the Senate floor of being racially profiled by police. He has also positioned himself as an informed voice on the challenges facing working families, invoking his early years growing up poor with a single working mother. “We face serious challenges on multiple fronts, but I am as confident as I have ever been in the promise and potential of America,” Mr. Scott said in a statement previewing his remarks. “I look forward to having an honest conversation with the American people and sharing Republicans’ optimistic vision for expanding opportunity and empowering working families.” You're right, there's no way in hell to read this article and not think of Mark Robinson. They have both carved a niche that pretty much abandons their own people, in order to gain influence for themselves.



As a teacher in NC...

I have to say that I completely agree with the NCAE on this one. Before I moved down here, I taught in PA, where the background check has been normal for many years. Indeed, it's not just one, but two criminal record checks that those applying for a license or job have to go through, one from the State Police and one from the FBI. They also have to have a child abuse check from the state. While no one likes this kind of thing in the abstract, it just makes sense for people being trusted with the welfare of children. But the NCAE is also right that this is not something teachers should be charged for. The state and/or districts can pick up the tab on this quite easily, especially if the Legislature bothers to appropriate money for it in the bill to establish the process. Passing it as an unfunded mandate on teachers is just punitive and done for no good reason except the GOP's traditional animosity to the profession.

Background checks

Only shady employers ask you to pay for your own background check. This just isn't done in the private sector.

It's not just punitive against teachers specifically. This proposal, along with the cuts to salaries and all the other impediments to being a teacher in NC erected by the GOP are really designed to create a crisis in the schools. It will get to a point where the schools aren't going to get applicants for these jobs and the NC legislature can scream and holler about how public schools have "failed" and that we need to immediately replace them with vouchers and private schools.

It all boils down to money. There's some GOP donors (and GOPers in the legislature) that would get a windfall if we let private companies take over our public schools. It's always about money and grift with these people.

Mark Robinson and the Carolina Teacher's Alliance - Idaho

It's worth noting that Mark Robinson's push for promoting conservative nonsense in schools isn't just some one-off thing happening here in North Carolina.

Wonkette took a look the other day at a similar effort in Idaho and there are other states where this is bubbling under among conservatives.

So, as I ask the same question as I asked earlier in a post that looked at Robinson's dubious Carolina Teacher's Alliance, where is the dark money for these efforts coming from? Is there a motive beyond just conservative ideology, such as hawking conservative teacher materials to school districts?

Just who is really benefiting or wanting to make a buck from this?

I've tried a couple times,

keep coming up with nothing (except they're ReopenNC nutters). I'll try again when my brain isn't throbbing from dose #2.

Since they're a new 501(c)6...

it may be a while before we can get any good information on them. They've been very careful so far to cover their financial tracks, so there may not be a good read on their funding until they're required reporting finally kicks in.