Thursday News: Virgil, quick come see...


LEE STATUE IN RICHMOND BROUGHT DOWN, CUT INTO PIECES: One of America’s largest monuments to the Confederacy, the equestrian statue was lifted down to the ground just before 9 a.m., after a construction worker who strapped harnesses around Lee and his horse lifted his arms in the air and counted down, “Three, two, one!” to jubilant shouts from a crowd of hundreds. A work crew then began cutting it into pieces. “This was a long time coming, part of the healing process so Virginia can move forward and be a welcoming state with inclusiveness and diversity,” said Gov. Ralph Northam, who was there to witness the event. The Democrat said it represents “more than 400 years of history that we should not be proud of,” and congratulated Virginians for supporting its removal. Not only was he a failure, he was a traitor as well. Good riddance.

THE LEANDRO JUDGE ISN'T MESSING AROUND: A North Carolina judge is giving state lawmakers until mid-October to fully fund a plan for improving public education or else he’ll take direct action. State Superior Court Judge David Lee said Wednesday that he was “very disheartened” that the General Assembly is funding only a small part of a plan that calls for at least $5.6 billion in new education funding by 2028. Lee said that if the plan isn’t fully funded by an Oct. 18 court hearing, he’ll entertain options for “how the court may exercise its remedial powers to remedy this Constitutional deficiency.” Judges in other states have taken steps such as fining lawmakers and holding them in contempt of court in school funding cases. Lee said he will “shine a light” on the options taken in those states at the next court hearing. “I don’t want to hold anybody in contempt,” Lee said during the hearing. “I far prefer to go another route. But it wouldn’t be a stretch, even at this point, for the court to find beyond a reasonable doubt a continuing and willful and conscious refusal and neglect to follow the Constitution of this state.”

3 YEAR-OLD KILLED WHEN CHARLOTTE HOUSE IS SHOT UP (150 ROUNDS): Asiah Figueroa was killed and his 4-year-old sister wounded when people in multiple vehicles opened fire on a house in Charlotte late Tuesday night, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said. His sister is expected to survive. Surveillance video released by police shows two cars pulling up at the home and people stepping out to fire at the home continuously for at least 12 seconds before taking off. Responding officers found Asiah with a gunshot wound and he was pronounced dead at a hospital. It's the latest in a series of shootings targeting homes in the area that began Saturday with a shooting that killed one teen and wounded two others, McNelly said. Authorities have not named any suspects but believe the attacks are connected to high school feuds. “What started out as teenage dispute games has turned into a deadly game that’s now taken two lives,” McNelly said. McNelly called on the community to help identify the shooters and specifically called on parents of students at the high schools to help.

HAT-TIP TO REPRESENTATIVE BRANDON LOFTON: In a recent speech, state Rept. Brandon Lofton voiced opposition to House Bill 324. "I have to speak out against this bill," Lofton said. "This bill, while innocuous sounding enough, encourages us to look away from history, to look away from the truth." The bill now awaits approval or rejection from Gov. Roy Cooper. Speaking personally about his own family's history with slavery, Lofton argued that legislation like House Bill 324 erases history. Q: What prompted your speech? A: "The first time it came through the House, I didn't debate it. We as a caucus talked about letting the folks who are in the education committee ... handle the debate and talk about the impact on public schools and teachers. This time, it just so happened, I spent a couple of weeks doing a little bit of digging into my family history and background. I felt compelled to say something, not just about the history in our schools, which is critical, but from the point of trying to silence our history, ignore aspects of our history, even the ones that are difficult." If you don't know the correct history, you can't recognize history repeating itself.

BIDEN'S CHILD CARE PLAN IS GETTING CLOSE TO BECOMING REALITY: Congressional Democrats this week are set to take their first steps toward adopting a $450 billion plan that could improve child care nationwide, marking an early attempt to lock in a major element of President Biden’s economic agenda at a moment when it is in political peril. The new spending could amount to the largest-ever investment in federally backed child-care programs, with Biden and other Democrats laboring to ease the financial burdens on parents, offer higher wages to caregivers and ensure all children ages 3 and 4 can enroll in free prekindergarten. But the funds are part of a fluid, still forming $3.5 trillion package that has become the subject of considerable sniping even among Democratic lawmakers in recent days. Democrats envision a broad reimagining of federal health-care, education, immigration and tax laws, even as liberal and moderate lawmakers quarrel over the price tag and scope of their policy ambitions. “The average family cannot afford child care, and without child care, you cannot go to work,” said Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-Va.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and one of the architects of the plan. Scott’s panel is set Thursday to take the first step toward securing those funds. Entering the debate, some liberal-leaning Democratic lawmakers have pushed for more spending — and more-expansive benefits — than moderate members of their party may be willing to support. The potential political fault lines echo those that have troubled the broader $3.5 trillion package in recent days. The sooner the better.