Thursday News: $2.5 Million for racists


JUDGE GIVES SILENT SAM STATUE TO CONFEDERATE GROUP, ALONG WITH A HEFTY BONUS: Silent Sam, the Confederate statue that stood on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus before it was torn down by protesters in 2018, is now in the hands of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. And the organization will have access to up to $2.5 million to transport and preserve the monument through a charitable trust set up by the UNC System. The allowed expenses could also include a facility to house and display the monument. The money is coming from accruing interest from the UNC System’s endowment that’s built through donations, not tax-payer money. The agreement came when a judge entered a consent judgment Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc. against the UNC System and the UNC Board of Governors over the monument’s placement.

HALLELUJAH, WIND ENERGY FOE HARRY BROWN IS RETIRING: The majority leader of the North Carolina State Senate says he will not seek re-election. A letter from Senate Leader Phil Berger’s office on Wednesday says Onslow County Republican Sen. Harry Brown announced on a radio show this week that he felt it’s the appropriate time to focus on his family and his businesses. Brown said that with the completion of Onslow County School’s regional skills center and North Carolina’s tax climate being one of the best in the nation, “I felt it was time to check off the last goal, so to say." The eight-term lawmaker has been the lead budget writer in the Senate since 2014. Berger credited Brown's leadership for expanded opportunities for rural communities through access to broadband and the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund.

STARTING MONDAY IN NC, MANY 16-17 YEAR OLDS WILL BE TRIED AS JUVENILES, NOT ADULTS: When North Carolina’s county courthouses reopen on Monday, the state’s criminal-justice system joins the rest of the country in treating more juvenile defendants as kids instead of adults. Under the state’s new “Raise the Age” law, which officially goes into effect on Sunday, 16- and 17-year-olds accused of most crimes will no longer automatically be sent to adult court. The new rules affect judges, police, prosecutors, defense attorneys, the media — as well as potentially thousands of teenage defendants and their families statewide. The Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office expects the law to double the number of its juvenile court cases. “This is a big change,” says veteran Mecklenburg County Juvenile Court Judge Elizabeth Trosch. “Kids are different. Their brains are not fully developed. This law gives young people the opportunity to, one, be held accountable for their wrong and, two, learn that they made a mistake without having life-changing consequences.”

ICE SETS UP FAKE UNIVERSITY TO ENTRAP IMMIGRANTS ON STUDENT VISAS: It has been 10 months since unsealed federal court documents revealed that U.S. immigration officials created a fake university to lure foreign-born college students who were trying to stay in the country on student visas that might not have been legal. The University of Farmington, a fictitious school that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement marketed as a hub for STEM students who wanted to enroll and not “interrupt their careers,” had a fake name, a fake website and a fake motto on its fake seal. “Scientia et Labor,” the seal said, which means “Knowledge and Work.” In January, eight people who allegedly worked as “recruiters” for the school and collectively helped at least 600 students remain in the country under false pretenses were charged with federal conspiracy. At the time, the Detroit News reported that dozens of University of Farmington students — many of them Indian nationals — were arrested for immigration violations and faced deportation.

RUDY GIULIANI IS EVEN SLEAZIER THAN YOU PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT: As Rudolph W. Giuliani waged a public campaign this year to unearth damaging information in Ukraine about President Trump’s political rivals, he privately pursued hundreds of thousands of dollars in business from Ukrainian government officials, documents reviewed by The New York Times show. Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, has repeatedly said he has no business in Ukraine, and none of the deals were finalized. But the documents indicate that while he was pushing Mr. Trump’s agenda with Ukrainian officials eager for support from the United States, Mr. Giuliani also explored financial agreements with members of the same government. His discussions with Ukrainian officials, including the country’s top prosecutor, who assisted him on the dirt-digging mission, proceeded far enough along that he signed at least one retainer agreement, on his company letterhead. Prosecutors and F.B.I. agents in Manhattan are scrutinizing whether Mr. Giuliani was not just working for the president, but also doing the bidding of Ukrainian officials who wanted the ambassador removed for their own reasons, the people said. It is a federal crime to try to influence the United States government at the request or direction of a foreign government, politician or party without registering as a foreign agent. Mr. Giuliani did not register as one, he has said, because he was acting on behalf of his client, Mr. Trump, not Ukrainians.



Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

I know it's a worn out statement, but relax and enjoy spending time with your family. It is a luxury that many people in this world cannot afford, and the historical roots of the holiday are so twisted it might seem like a betrayal of the truth. But it also gives some of our familial relationships a second (or fifth) chance. Family members who we have, for one reason or another, grown distant from, can be brought closer. Strangely enough, when that is allowed to happen, other family members also benefit, and are made happier by the reduction of stress. And that is reason enough on its own to do it.