The Rev. William Barber III, president of the N.C. State Chapter of the NAACP, continues to be one of the most effective grassroots leaders in the state. On March 28, Barber led a diverse coalition of a few hundred NAACP members and members from other progressive organizations in the second annual People of Color Justice and Unity Legislative Day at the General Assembly. They met with Rep. Joe Hackney, speaker of the House, and Rep. Mickey Michaux, chairman of the black legislative caucus, organizers say. The 14-point agenda that grew out of "H K on J" (Historic Thousands on Jones Street), a February rally that took a "multicultural, anti-racist, anti-poverty agenda" to the General Assembly. Barber's leadership helps keep issues like universal healthcare, same-day voter registration and affordable housing on the table.
The N.C. Department of Correction is doing its damndest to execute convicts, sidestepping provisions that were put in place by a federal judge and the N.C. Medical Board. Last week, the N&O reported that prison officials defied the orders of a U.S. district judge when they executed two inmates last year. Judge Malcolm Howard required a physician to monitor the brain-wave activity of executed inmates to insure that inmates were unconscious when paralyzing drugs were administered. So, with a doctor present, prison officials proceeded with the executions of Willie Brown and Samuel Flippen. But the attending physician told reporter Andrea Weigl he didn't actually monitor the brain-wave activity, which would have been a violation of the N.C. Medical Board's ethical standards. It's impossible to satisfy Howard's requirements and meet the standards of the medical board, but it seems the DOC made its own contemptible way.
Wake County brought 30 misdemeanor animal cruelty charges against David Watts, the Apex man who shared his two-story home with 77 sheep. Watts lived upstairs while his sheep grazed the first floor, many in bad need of care. Thirty of the sheep had to be euthanized. Apex and Wake authorities share some of the blame. Complaints about Watts and his flock date back several years, but no one saw fit to do anything about it.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain toured Baghdad on April 1 in an attempt to show the American people the "full picture" of what's happening in the war-torn city. At a press conference, McCain said he'd just visited parts of Baghdad where people could walk around freely. NBC News reported that McCain's delegation to a market three minutes outside the Green Zone was guarded by more than 100 American soldiers, with three Black Hawk helicopter's and two Apache gunships circling overhead. So much for the full picture.