Friday News: Misplaced priorities


BLOCKING THE TEACHING OF RACISM AND ABORTION RESTRICTIONS PASS CROSSOVER: The House voted to limit the use of “Critical Race Theory,” barring schools from advocating that people are inherently racist or sexist or that the United States was created to oppress people. That came a week after the House passed a bill requiring many schools to post a list of the instructional materials their teachers use. Two abortion restriction bills, one in the House, and another in the Senate, passed through their chamber ahead of the deadline. Passing anti-abortion legislation is a high priority for Republicans, who could score points with their political base even if the governor would likely veto the bills. The House voted Wednesday to allow lawmakers to carry concealed guns inside the General Assembly, saying they need to be able to protect themselves. The vote mostly fell along party lines.

NC RELIES TOO MUCH ON PIPELINE, MAY NEED TO EXPAND PORT: A major reason for the major impact in North Carolina is the state's heavy reliance on the pipeline. Upwards of 90 percent of the gas consumed in the state comes from that one source. By contrast, other East Coast states have more fuel delivered by ship. "Ports like Charleston, [S.C.,] Chesapeake, [Va.,] Baltimore and those type ports are much larger than our port at Wilmington," said Gary Harris, executive director of North Carolina Petroleum & Convenience Marketers, the trade group for gas stations statewide. Colonial Pipeline has four lines running from Houston to northern New Jersey, with the largest, a 40-inch-diameter line, between Houston and Greensboro, where the company's largest storage facility is located. At 18 different sites, mostly along the Gulf Coast, fuel is injected into the pipeline, which on average is about 6 feet underground, and the gas then moves at 4 to 5 mph up the East Coast. At that pace, when it's running at full capacity, the pipeline brings 63 million gallons of gas to Greensboro every day. The fuel takes 14 to 20 days to move from Texas to New Jersey. Experts estimate it will be seven to 10 days before the full amount reaches Greensboro on a daily basis, although smaller amounts are already on the move.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY FOR OPEN ENROLLMENT IN NC'S NEW MEDICAID "MANAGED CARE" SYSTEM: North Carolina Medicaid recipients are running out of time to ensure they'll have no trouble getting the doctor they want when the program makes a significant shift soon. Friday is the end of open enrollment for North Carolina Medicaid Managed Care, which begins July 1. About 1.8 million of the 2.5 million people covered through Medicaid or a related program will participate. They can choose their primary care provider and health plan. There are several plans to choose from — four are statewide and a fifth is regional. People who don't enroll will be placed in a plan automatically. Everyone will get 90 days to make changes. North Carolina Medicaid is switching from a traditional fee-for-service program to one in which health plans receive fixed monthly payments for every patient seen and treated. Preparations began in 2015.

MARJORIE TAYLOR-GREENE IS STALKING AND HARASSING AOC IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS: Democrats rebuked Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Thursday over her confrontational approach toward Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as tensions between the two parties escalated over the safety of the Capitol as a workplace and the level of security needed following the Jan. 6 attack. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said early Thursday that the Georgia congresswoman’s “verbal assault” on Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was “so beyond the pale” that it should be investigated by the House Ethics Committee. “This is beneath the dignity of a person serving in the Congress of the United States and is a cause for trauma and fear among members,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said during her weekly news conference. On Wednesday afternoon, Greene followed Ocasio-Cortez out of the House chamber, quickening her pace behind her and shouting accusations that the Democrat supports terrorists and is a “radical socialist” who doesn’t “care about the American people.” Ocasio-Cortez’s office said Wednesday night that Greene was “screaming” at the congresswoman and called on leadership to ensure that Congress remains “a safe, civil place for all Members and staff.” Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday that her problem with Greene was less with how she acted toward her Wednesday afternoon than what her behavior represents more broadly. “I refuse to allow young women, people of color, people who are standing up for what they believe, to see this kind of intimidation attempts by a person who ­supports white supremacists,” ­Ocasio-Cortez said. She also said that when she worked as a bartender, Greene was the kind of person she “threw out of bars all the time.”

PROJECT VERITAS RAN UNDERCOVER OPERATIONS TO FERRET OUT DISLOYAL TRUMP OFFICIALS: Central to the effort, according to interviews, was Richard Seddon, a former undercover British spy who was recruited in 2016 by the security contractor Erik Prince to train Project Veritas operatives to infiltrate trade unions, Democratic congressional campaigns and other targets. He ran field operations for Project Veritas until mid-2018. Last year, The New York Times reported that Mr. Seddon ran an expansive effort to gain access to the unions and campaigns and led a hiring effort that nearly tripled the number of the group’s operatives, according to interviews and deposition testimony. He trained operatives at the Prince family ranch in Wyoming. The efforts to target American officials show how a campaign once focused on exposing outside organizations slowly morphed into an operation to ferret out Mr. Trump’s perceived enemies in the government’s ranks. The scheme against Mr. McMaster, revealed in interviews and documents, was one of the most brazen operations of the campaign. It involved a plan to hire a woman armed with a hidden camera to capture Mr. McMaster making inappropriate remarks that his opponents could use as leverage to get him ousted as national security adviser. Although several Project Veritas operatives were involved in the plot, it is unclear whether the group directed it. The group, which is a nonprofit, has a history of conducting sting operations on news organizations, Democratic politicians and advocacy groups. The operation against Mr. McMaster was hatched not long after an article appeared in BuzzFeed News about a private dinner in 2017. Exactly what happened during the dinner is in dispute, but the article said that Mr. McMaster had disparaged Mr. Trump by calling him an “idiot” with the intelligence of a “kindergartner.”