Monday News: Tom's turn

STEYER VISITS MCDOUGALD TERRACE, SAYS CONDITIONS ARE "CRUEL": Conditions at McDougald Terrace in Durham are an example of systematic “cruelty” that has to be addressed by the U.S. government and its leaders, Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer said. Steyer, a billionaire turned champion of Democratic causes, visited the Triangle this weekend including the public housing complex where residents have evacuated after carbon monoxide concerns, and where at least two children have died from causes that haven’t so far been publicly identified. “I went to McDougald Terrace to actually see what was going on,” he said Sunday. “To talk to some of the people who are there, some of the people who lived there and some of the people are leading the movement to repair those projects.”

MICKEY MICHAUX PICKED TO TAKE SENATE SEAT VACATED BY FLOYD MCKISSICK: Local Democrats have chosen former state Rep. Mickey Michaux to finish state Sen. Floyd McKissick’s term in Durham. Party leaders will forward Michaux’s name to Gov. Roy Cooper, who is expected to quickly appoint him to the seat. The legislature goes back into session Tuesday. McKissick formally resigned his Senate seat on Jan. 7. Cooper appointed him to the North Carolina Utilities Commission last year. Michaux was the longest-tenured member of the General Assembly, and he announced his retirement in 2018. He held various leadership positions during his decades in the House, including senior budget chairman.

PHARMA EXECUTIVES WHO BRIBED DOCTORS TO USE FENTANYL FACING JAIL SENTENCES: Starting Monday, seven people who worked for Insys Therapeutics will appear in Boston to be sentenced by a federal judge. The case against company founder John Kapoor and his associates was considered the first that sought to hold an opioid maker and its executives criminally liable for the drug crisis that's claimed nearly 400,000 lives over two decades. Prosecutors say officials at Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics paid millions of dollars in bribes to doctors across the country so they would overprescribe Subsys, a fentanyl-based oral spray meant to ease intense pain suffered by cancer patients. Following a lengthy trial, Kapoor and four others were convicted last year of racketeering conspiracy. Two other defendants pleaded guilty. Shortly after, the company reached a $225 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice to end its criminal and civil probes.

SCHUMER IS FOCUSED ON MAKING IMPEACHMENT TRIAL FAIR AND LEGITIMATE: Over the past few weeks, as Ms. Pelosi and Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, engaged in a bitter standoff in recent weeks over the shape of the trial — the speaker refused to send the articles, while Mr. McConnell refused to commit to hearing any new evidence in the Senate — Mr. Schumer was still pushing daily for a deal with Republicans to hear from witnesses and secure more documents. Mr. Schumer lost that round, when Mr. McConnell announced last week that he had the votes lined up to move ahead with the trial without committing to either. Now, the Democratic leader faces a more consequential set of tests once the trial gets underway. Mr. Schumer said he plans to force a series of votes on calling witnesses and hearing new evidence, pressuring Republicans to join the call for more information or be tagged as complicit in what Democrats have branded presidential obstruction. In the end, Mr. Schumer knows there is almost no chance the Republican-led Senate will convict Mr. Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, a move that would take two-thirds of senators, or 67. But the focus on what constitutes a fair trial, he argued, will either succeed in unearthing new information about Mr. Trump, or at least help Democrats pick up seats in 2020.

IRANIAN STUDENTS STAGE MULTIPLE PROTESTS OVER DOWNED AIRLINER: Iranians gathered at universities Monday for a third straight day of protests, after Iran's military admitted it shot down a Ukrainian airliner it mistook for a hostile aircraft last week. Videos from Sunday night showed demonstrators fleeing from tear gas and in one case a woman bleeding in the leg — a wound that protesters said was caused by live ammunition, according to the Associated Press. Reuters also reported hearing sounds of gunfire in videos posted on social media along with images of pools of blood on the street. In a televised statement, Tehran's police chief denied that police shot at protesters and said they are under orders to show restraint. Another video showed students at the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, which lost 13 students and alumni in the crash, chanting against the cleric-led government. Other videos, which could not be verified, included squads of riot police in central Tehran.



There's a lot of fighting going on

with my Facebook friends over the Dem Presidential candidates, and not just a Bernie vs. Biden thing (which is happening a lot). Bloomberg has garnered support from several of them, mainly from his support of gun reform. But I'm also seeing some Tom Steyer people too, and the comments have ranged from surprise to insults.

Just because somebody supports a particular candidate, it doesn't mean they are "naive" or a "sell-out." We need to be unified the day after the Primary is decided, but that's hard to do if everybody is pissed off at each other.

I've adopted a near zero tolerance

for infighting. Been blocking people right and left.

Over the course of the campaigns, I've narrowed down to Warren and Biden. But the truth is, I'd vote for a cardboard cutout of any Democratic candidate before I'd vote for Donald. F. Trump. *

* I know his middle initial is J for genius, but to me, he'll always be Donald Fucking Trump. With an asterisk.