Another day, another terrorist attack. This story is way too damn familiar.
Last night, while a crowd of French people in Nice were watching fireworks on Bastille Day—a French holiday celebrating the day French peasants stormed the Bastille in 1790, a key event in the then-nascent French revolution—an as-yet-unnamed French-Tunisian man with a truck packed with weapons and explosives essentially mowed them over, killing at least eighty-four
Police told to NBC News that 84 people were now confirmed dead following the attack in the coastal city of Nice.
Bastille Day celebrations were transformed into scenes of chaos and carnage after the white vehicle careered down the packed promenade.
People were knocked down and thrown about like bowling pins and blood stained the pavement. Sirens and screams filled the air. Many children were among the dead, according to French officials. Dozens of people were injured.
Early Friday the truck was still parked where a hail of police bullets had stopped the driver's deadly spree. Investigators pored over the scene under a hot sun as authorities maintained a wide perimeter.
No terrorist group has yet claimed responsibility.
France has been under a state of emergency since a deadly spree of terror attacks in Paris in November.
It was due to be lifted on July 26 — but those plans were put on hold in wake of the Nice attack.
In response, Newt Gingrich, apparently a finalist in the Trump veepstakes, wants to tear up the First Amendment
(pretty sure he still thinks the second one is OK, though), at least for people with a different religion than him.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Thursday called for the U.S. to test every person with a Muslim background to see if they believe in Sharia law, and deport those who do.
"Let me be as blunt and direct as I can be. Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported," Gingrich said in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity. "Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia, glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door." […]
"The first step is you have to ask them the questions," Gingrich responded. "The second step is you have to monitor what they're doing on the Internet. The third step is, let me be very clear, you have to monitor the mosques.”
Gingrich went on to suggest that people who visit ISIS-affiliated websites should automatically be deported. Sigh.
Elsewhere in the headlines:
1. Trump postpones his VP announcement, citing the Nice attacks.
Donald Trump abruptly postponed plans to announce his vice presidential pick following a day of rampant speculation, citing the "horrible attack" in Nice, France, that left scores dead.
Trump had planned to hold his first event with his yet-to-be-named running mate Friday morning in New York. He announced the change of plans Thursday evening on Twitter.
The stunning announcement raised questions about the status of Trump's selection process. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence had emerged as a late favorite for the job, though Trump said he had not finalized the pick and advisers cautioned he could change his mind.
“Emerged as a late favorite”—meaning that Trump actually flew Pence to New York
, supposedly for the announcement, and Pence has abandoned his reelection bid to run with Trump
. So were Trump to change his mind now …
2. Obama had a town hall on racism and police violence.
The son of the Louisiana man shot dead by police wants President Barack Obama to help end world racism. The mother of a policeman pleads for ways to keep her son safe. A single mom who has sent her son away from a rough Baltimore neighborhood worries over how to keep him safe when he's home on the weekends.
3. Family says an N.C. inmate died due to medical neglect.
America's fraught debate about tensions between blacks and police spilled over Thursday into hang-wringing about societal problems beyond any one person's capacity to fix — even the president. At a town hall meeting recorded to be broadcast in prime time, Obama cautiously offered suggestions, but no surefire solutions.
The good news, Obama said, is at least people are finally talking about the problems. Calling for "open hearts," he urged Americans not to cloister themselves in separate corners.
"Because of the history of this country and the legacy of race, and all the complications that are involved with that, working through these issues so that things can continue to get better will take some time," Obama said.
More time than Obama has left in office, he readily conceded.
The family of a North Carolina prison inmate found dead in his cell last week is conducting an independent investigation, saying medical negligence may have contributed to his death.
4. N.C. Republicans want to fight for their Wake gerrymander.
A medical examiner has ruled Robert “R.J.” Daidone’s July 5 death at Maury Correctional Institution a suicide.
In the days before he died, Daidone had apparently developed a serious infection after being bitten by a spider, his mother said. But, she said, he was never seen by a doctor or given antibiotics.
Daidone, 28, who was serving time for second-degree murder, suffered from bipolar depression and psychotic episodes, his mother said. Officials at the Eastern North Carolina prison, she said, were not providing him medication for psychosis.
State legislative leaders stepped in Thursday to defend their contested Wake County election maps as a federal appeals court received competing requests on whether to delay a ruling that bans the maps.
5. McCrory touts the state’s budget, teacher raises.
On July 1, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the maps that the legislature drew for the Wake County Board of Commissioners and school board to be unconstitutional. With the status of the Nov. 8 elections in flux, Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore filed a motion asking to be named as defendants in the case.
“Movants have a vital interest in defending the legislation the North Carolina General Assembly enacted and which it deems constitutional,” Thomas Farr, the attorney for Berger and Moore, wrote in the motion.
Also on Thursday, the Wake County Board of Elections filed a motion asking all 15 members of the Fourth Circuit to hear the case, which would typically delay adoption of the July 1 ruling.
But on Thursday, the plaintiffs asked the court to immediately implement the appellate ruling. The plaintiffs, which consist of a group of left-leaning individuals and groups, want the court to reinstate the election maps that the school board and commissioners had adopted in 2011 before they were replaced by the state legislature.
Gov. Pat McCrory signed the state budget Thursday at a Union County elementary school, which provided a backdrop for his discussion about teacher pay and other education initiatives the budget will fund.
The Republican governor says the $22.34 billion budget includes an average 4.7 percent pay increase for teachers across the state, meaning that for the first time in state history, average pay will be more than $50,000 a year, including local supplements by counties.
McCrory also touted tax cuts that he said will save the middle class $132 million, tuition reductions at three North Carolina universities and investments in mental health and substance abuse programs. […]
McCrory acknowledged that North Carolina ranks among the lowest states for teacher pay in the country. But, he said, that will change with the new budget.
“With the announcements we’re making today, we’re gonna be in the low-30s,” McCrory said.
New state motto: Now only a little below average!
6. Tim Moore is suing a North Carolina media operation.
House Speaker Tim Moore said Wednesday evening that his re-election campaign is paying a New York City law firm to prepare a possible libel lawsuit against a North Carolina media outlet.
In a phone interview with the N.C. Insider State Government News Service, Moore declined to name the media organization. “We are in discussions with the other party and their attorney,” said Moore, a Kings Mountain Republican. “It is an action where I am the one pursuing an action potentially for libel.”
Our own Paul Blest has some thoughts about which outlet Moore’s talking about
WBTV is the CBS-affiliated television station in Charlotte. We talked about them recently because one of their reporters posted a leaked draft of the HB 2 "fix," possibly obtained via House Majority Leader Mike Hager. That reporter, Nick Ochsner, has a bit of a history with Moore.
Ochsner has been relentless in his reporting on the House speaker, breaking the story that Moore had been committing campaign finance violations since 2007 by not itemizing credit card purchases, which is required by state law. Moore later amended five years' worth of reports after being audited by the state Board of Elections. Here's video of a particularly testy exchange between the two over the alleged violations. […]
Ochsner's investigation led to an FBI probe in December. As Gannon noted in his report, the Moore campaign started paying the law firm in January. The kicker? Before he became an investigative reporter for WBTV, Ochsner was in the running to become his communications director.
As punishment for the WBTV reporter doing his job, Rep. Charles Jeter (R-Mecklenburg) emailed all Republican conference members telling them not to talk to Ochsner. North Carolina GOP executive director Dallas Woodhouse, as Dallas Woodhouse is wont to do, sent an email to WBTV calling Ochsner's reporting on Moore an "extreme conflict of interest," because Moore considered hiring Ochsner. (You can't make this up.)
Given that Ochsner's reporting on the HB 2 fix helped to put the final nail in the coffin for Moore's solution to fix the mess he created with HB 2, the timing of this news—three weeks after that happened—is interesting, to say the least. We reached out to WBTV, but were told that they hadn't heard anything regarding the lawsuit.
That’s all for today, folks. Have a great weekend.