Thursday News: Here we go again...

BLACK TRUMP-LOVER WANTS TO BE DURHAM'S NEXT MAYOR: Lane hosts the online series “Mind of Jamal,” which he describes as a “news reporting platform.” Since 2016, he has amassed over 300,000 followers on Facebook and almost 35,000 subscribers on YouTube. On his videos he has expressed support for former President Donald Trump; outrage over COVID-19 mask mandates; and disdain for the Black Lives Matter movement, efforts to defund the police and the media. In an interview with The N&O, Lane, who is Black, said his top priorities if elected would be crime and gun violence. “I believe that Durham crime is out of control because too many people are compassionate toward the criminals instead of putting the compassion towards the victims,” he said.

NC'S REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THEIR VACCINATION STATUS: Some Republican state lawmakers are headed to Utah this week for a national conference with other state legislators. It’s not clear how many, and it’s not clear how many are vaccinated against COVID-19. Less than 20 percent of Republican House and Senate members responded to WRAL News' questions on the matter, and leadership said they’re not tracking either metric. Meredith College political science professor David McLennan said some lawmakers, especially Republicans, may not want to alienate their vaccine-resistant constituents. "[Former President] Donald Trump was vaccinated in January but didn’t reveal that until April. So, it’s again this idea of, if I’m a Republican, I may not want to tell you that I’ve been vaccinated because it will then get back to people," McLennan said. Which is completely ass-backwards. If they admitted to it and were (gasp) motivated about the vaccine, their base might start getting the shots, too. But that makes way too much sense...

US DOJ GOES AFTER WILSON COUNTY OVER WRONGFUL TERMINATION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT VICTIM: The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit Wednesday against Wilson County, alleging that a 911 operator was fired after she complained about being sexually harassed on the job. According to the lawsuit, Jennifer Riddle began working for Wilson County Emergency Communications in 2017 and was sexually harassed by the agency's assistant director. When she complained of the harassment, an investigation substantiated her complaints, and county officials fired the assistant director. But Riddle then began experiencing hostility from her supervisor and co-workers, culminating in a transfer and, ultimately, her own termination after she disclosed to the supervisors on her new shift that she had previously been sexually harassed and that the agency failed to effectively deal with her harasser, according to the lawsuit. “The Civil Rights Division will not tolerate attempts by employers to silence victims of sexual harassment,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement. “Discouraging employees from reporting potential harassment and discrimination to their supervisors stands in the way of efforts to identify and root out sex harassment in workplaces across the country.”

TRUMP-ENDORSED CANDIDATE LOSES CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION IN TEXAS: Voters in North Texas rebuked former president Donald Trump on Tuesday, electing state Rep. Jake Ellzey to a vacant seat in Congress after Trump endorsed a rival Republican candidate. Ellzey, a Navy veteran who ran on border security and stopping the Democrats’ congressional agenda, defeated Susan Wright, the widow of Rep. Ron Wright, whose death this year after contracting the coronavirus created a vacancy in Texas’s 6th Congressional District. Trump had sought to give Wright an election-eve boost during a telerally. “I know her well,” the former president said of Wright. “She will be as tough as anyone in Congress.” Trump told supporters that Wright would fully oppose President Biden’s agenda and blamed his successor for higher gas prices and increased border apprehensions. He did not mention Ellzey, who was making his second run for the seat — he lost to Ron Wright in 2018 — and had raised nearly three times as much money as Susan Wright. Wright closed her campaign by reminding voters that she was Trump’s choice. “I look forward to working on your ‘America First’ agenda in Congress,” Wright told Trump on Monday’s call.

JUSTICE SAYS IT'S OKAY TO SUE REPUBLICAN MO BROOKS OVER INCITING INSURRECTION: A Republican congressman's Jan. 6 speech at a rally ahead of the riot at the U.S. Capitol is not covered by protections for members of Congress and federal employees, the Justice Department said in a court filing Tuesday — drawing a legal line over attempts to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) had argued that he is effectively immune from a lawsuit filed by his colleague Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) that accused Brooks, then-President Donald Trump, and others of fomenting the failed attack on Congress. During a speech at the Jan. 6 rally, Brooks told the crowd to “start taking down names and kicking ass.” He has argued that his statements were part of his work as a representative of a district where 64 percent of voters chose Donald Trump over Biden. As a federal employee, Brooks says, he has immunity from lawsuits for actions taken within the scope of his job. Swalwell, who sued Brooks in D.C. federal court, argued that his colleague was operating “in his personal capacity for his own benefit” at the rally. Philip Andonian, a lawyer for Swalwell, said Tuesday night that he “could not agree more” with the department’s analysis. “Not only did Mo Brooks engage in unprotected campaign activity on January 6 — which his own filing makes clear — he conspired to interfere with Congress and incited a deadly insurrection that struck the very core of our democracy,” Andonian said.