Saturday News: Systemic racism on bold display


OUTRAGE GROWS OVER NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES' UNEQUAL TREATMENT BY UNC BOARD: The controversy, which has strained the relationship between some faculty and the university administration, was the subject of discussion on Friday’s edition of ABC TV’s “The View.” Hannah-Jones’ case also will be discussed Monday at a special meeting of the UNC Faculty Executive Committee. Mimi Chapman, faculty chair, said any action taken by the Faculty Executive Committee would be largely symbolic. “But I think it’s important to convene and bring faculty together to discuss this,” she said by phone on Friday. The Knight Foundation, which funds the professorship, does not require schools to grant tenure for those hired under the program. However, in the past, all Knight Chairs at UNC’s Hussman School have been tenured positions. The program is designed to bring non-academics into the university.

GOVERNOR COOPER REINSTATES WORK-SEARCH REQUIREMENT FOR UNEMPLOYED RECEIVING BENEFITS: Starting June 6, everyone on unemployment in North Carolina will have to create a “jobseeker” account at and show proof they have contacted at least three employers a week for a job. Otherwise they’ll lose their benefits. That is the way the system usually works, but the pandemic changed the process. When Cooper shut down many businesses in March 2020 to stop the spread of coronvirus, he lifted the work search requirement. Cooper’s order in March already said that people who go on unemployment starting March 14 or later have to follow the work search rules. So his order Friday expanding it to everyone by June 6 means that the only people who will be affected are those who went on unemployment before March 14 and are still unemployed on June 6. Since the pandemic began, over 1.5 million North Carolinians have applied for unemployment. Close to 1 million have been approved for benefits in total, with around 500,000 denied, and 14,000 still have their claims pending.

NO VIOLENCE OR ARRESTS DURING CONFEDERATE EVENT IN DOWNTOWN GRAHAM: Although Thursday's Confederate Memorial in Graham went off without violence or arrests, it still showcased the deep ideological divide within the community. The event was advertised as a celebration of the 160th anniversary of North Carolina's secession from the Union and admittance into the Confederacy. Many felt that the event in and of itself spoke to the deep-seated divisions within the Alamance community. "Me and a lot of others...don't support any of the racial bias," Amanda Baker, a counter-protestor, said. "Does Germany celebrate Nazis? No. I don't think we should be celebrating [the state's secession]. I think we as a society should grow past it." Many of those who attended the memorial in support of the Confederacy said they did so due to their individual ties to the Confederacy. Thomas May, the memorial's organizer, said he had family ties to the Confederacy though he chose not to go into detail. Other memorial supporters attending the event were asked to comment, but they declined. State Rep. Ricky Hurtado, who attended Thursday's memorial in the hopes of being a peace-keeping presence, said there is a bit of irony in the Confederate stance. "For me, it is one of the bigger ironies... at this moment in time," Hurtado said. "Celebrating the Confederacy is one of the more un-American things a person can do. The rise of the Confederacy was a movement to tear the country apart. For me, it's the antithesis of the American dream and what we stand for. To be American, for me, is to celebrate one flag and not the other."

GEORGIA JUDGE ORDERS ELECTION OFFICIALS TO ALLOW CITIZEN "INSPECTION" OF FULTON COUNTY BALLOTS: A Georgia state judge on Friday ordered Fulton County to allow a group of local voters to inspect all 147,000 mail ballots cast in the 2020 election in response to a lawsuit alleging that officials accepted thousands of counterfeit ballots. The decision marks the latest instance of a local government being forced to undergo a third-party inspection of its election practices amid baseless accusations promoted by former president Donald Trump that fraud flipped the 2020 contest for President Biden. The inspection in Fulton County, home to Atlanta, is likely to proceed differently than an audit underway in Maricopa County, Ariz., where Republican state senators ordered county election officials to hand over equipment and ballots to a private company called Cyber Ninjas for examination. That process has come under widespread criticism for lacking security measures and failing to follow the rigorous practices of government recounts. On Thursday, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) urged local officials to toss their machines after the audit is complete because their security is now in doubt. In Georgia, Superior Court Judge Brian Amero ruled on Friday that the nine plaintiffs and their experts could examine copies of the ballots but never touch the originals, which will remain in the possession of Fulton election officials. Further details of how the inspection will proceed are expected next week, said one of the plaintiffs, Garland Favorito. The order for the new ballot inspection comes after Georgia officials did three separate audits of the vote last year, including a hand recount, which produced no evidence of widespread fraud. Fulton County Board of Commissioners Chairman Robb Pitts said it was “outrageous” that the county “continues to be a target of those who cannot accept the results from last year’s election.”

SHORTAGE OF LEGALLY-PRODUCED MARIJUANA IN NORTHEAST HAS GROWERS SCRAMBLING: In Orange County, N.Y., there are plans to build a large cannabis cultivation and processing plant on the grounds of a defunct state prison. About 25 miles south, over the border in New Jersey, an industrial complex once owned by the pharmaceutical giant Merck will be converted into an even bigger marijuana-growing hub. In Winslow, N.J., about 30 miles outside Philadelphia, a new indoor cultivation complex just celebrated its first harvest. The advent of legalized adult-use marijuana in New York and New Jersey is an entrepreneur’s dream, with some estimating that the potential market in the densely populated region will soar to more than $6 billion within five years. But the rush to get plants into soil in factory-style production facilities underscores another fundamental reality in the New York metropolitan region: There are already shortages of legal marijuana. “There’s very little stock,” said Shaya Brodchandel, the chief executive of Harmony Foundation in Secaucus, N.J., and president of the New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association. “Almost no wholesale. As we harvest we’re putting it straight into retail.” Because marijuana is illegal under federal law and cannot be transported across state lines, marijuana products sold in each state must also be grown and manufactured there. Oregon, which issued thousands of cultivation licenses after legalizing marijuana six years ago, has an overabundance of cannabis. But many of the other 16 states where nonmedical marijuana is now legal have faced supply constraints similar to those in New York and New Jersey as production slowly scaled up to meet demand. It's time for Congress to act on this and allow marijuana to be shipped across state lines. The Commerce Clause grants them the authority and the responsibility to ease this burden.