Saturday News: Must-not-see TV


OUTSIDE GROUPS PREPARE AD BARRAGE FOR TILLIS: Earlier this month, the U.S. Chamber began airing a television ad touting Tillis’s co-sponsorship of a bill intended to aid veterans’ employment opportunities. The Chamber spent more than $7 million to help Tillis’s 2014 campaign, its largest contribution of the cycle. Americans For Prosperity, funded by the Koch brothers, launched ads last week, arguing against government spending and praising Tillis for his vote for the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. AFP Action, the group’s political action committee, is engaged in grassroots activities for Tillis, reaching nearly 70,000 voters through phone calls and knocking on doors so far this cycle. It endorsed Tillis in June. Tillis has the lowest approval of any incumbent senator at 33%, according to Morning Consult polling.

SEXUAL CONSENT LAW (FINALLY) GOES INTO EFFECT TOMORROW: More than a dozen new criminal laws take effect on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. They range from new consumer protections to historic changes in the state's sexual assault laws. As of Sunday, North Carolina will no longer be the only state in the country where a person cannot withdraw sexual consent if they change their mind. That's a change that took state lawmakers decades to accomplish. The new law also makes it clear that a person who is incapacitated is not capable of giving consent. And it gives victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to file suit against their abuser. In consumer protection, ride share drivers will now face stiff fines if they don't have a lighted sign or if their license plate number is not visible on the front of their car.

FORMER UNCG NURSING STUDENT FILES LAWSUIT OVER SEXUAL HARASSMENT: A woman who says she was kicked out of a North Carolina nursing school a month before graduation in retaliation for accusing a supervisor of sexual harassment has sued in a case supported by the Time’s Up movement legal fund. Autumn Davis has sued two supervisors at the University of North Carolina Greensboro nursing school in state court. Davis also is suing the school, the UNC Board of Governors and the Raleigh School of Nurse Anesthesia in federal court. The state attorney general’s office says in a response in federal court Davis can’t prove a connection between her filing a harassment claim while enrolled in school and her dismissal. The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund is supporting Davis’ case financially. Attorney Nicholas Sanservino Jr. says Davis is seeking unspecified damages.

KAKISTOCRACY ON STEROIDS: TRUMP NOMINATES BUSH-ERA TORTURE CZAR TO HUMAN RIGHTS POSITION: President Trump’s decision to nominate an official involved in the Pentagon’s post-9/11 use of harsh interrogation techniques to the State Department’s top human rights post has sparked a standoff in the Senate that has extended a nearly three-year vacancy in a key diplomatic position. Trump’s nomination in January of Marshall Billingslea as undersecretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights raised immediate alarms among the activists and former government officials who believe his confirmation would send a dismal message about the United States’ commitment to human rights abroad. A September confirmation hearing has intensified those concerns, with several officials accusing Billingslea of improperly minimizing his role in the interrogation debate inside of the George W. Bush administration. From 2002 to 2003, Billingslea served as the Pentagon’s point man on military detainees housed at Guantánamo Bay under Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. In that position, according to a 2008 Senate report, he played a role in promoting interrogation techniques that Congress later banned as torture — including the use of hoods or blindfolds, sleep deprivation, prolonged standing, the shaving of beards, the removal of clothing and the use of military dogs to intimidate detainees.

PENNSYLVANIA VOTING MACHINE ERRORS RAISE FEARS FOR 2020 ELECTION: Vote totals in a Northampton County judge’s race showed one candidate, Abe Kassis, a Democrat, had just 164 votes out of 55,000 ballots across more than 100 precincts. Some machines reported zero votes for him. In a county with the ability to vote for a straight-party ticket, one candidate’s zero votes was a near statistical impossibility. Something had gone quite wrong. With clearly faulty results in at least the judge’s election, officials began counting the paper backup ballots generated by the same machines. The paper ballots showed Mr. Kassis winning narrowly, 26,142 to 25,137, over his opponent, the Republican Victor Scomillio. “People were questioning, and even I questioned, that if some of the numbers are wrong, how do we know that there aren’t mistakes with anything else?” said Matthew Munsey, the chairman of the Northampton County Democrats, who, along with Ms. Snover, was among the observers as county officials worked through the night to count the paper ballots by hand. The machines that broke in Northampton County are called the ExpressVoteXL and are made by Election Systems & Software, a major manufacturer of election machines used across the country. The ExpressVoteXL is among their newest and most high-end machines, a luxury “one-stop” voting system that combines a 32-inch touch screen and a paper ballot printer.