All posts filed under: Articles

The corrupt intellectual foundation of Critical Race Theory

By Monica Chen  In the summer of 1989, the leaders of Critical Race Theory held their fledgling movement’s first conference in Madison, Wis.  For the first time, it was made official the academics who were devoted to the CRT cause beyond the main founder, Derrick Bell. Bell was the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School who had written the definitive CRT treatise, “Race, Racism and American Law,” published in 1970. He died in 2011. The event has been painted ever since as the time when minority and women professors found strength by coming together. It was about “support and survival within the white male-dominated legal academy,” an admirer would write as late as 2012.  There were 20 professors in attendance, including Bell, Richard Delgado, Kimberle Crenshaw, Mari Matsuda, Patricia Williams, and Angela Harris, all of whom have been and are still teaching CRT in higher education.  But the CRT founders’ views on race show they are the opposite of being anti-racist:  Matsuda, for example, does not support removing quotas for Asian-American students at …

What’s going on with Ukraine and Russia? A brief explainer. 

By Monica Chen  Russia is vocally denying that it had anything to do with the recent cyberattack on the Ukrainian government.  But the conflict in the Donbass, the Southeastern part of Ukraine, has going on for years now. More than 13,000 people have been killed. What is it? Why has it not been resolved? Where is it headed?  Russian officials are frustrated with the narrative in the global media. The Russian deputy representative to the United Nations also pointedly corrected the U.S. Under Secretary of State this past week:  But anyone in the world would be alarmed at the build-up of Russian forces at the Ukrainian border, numbering more than 100,000 troops as of the past week, according to The Wall Street Journal. What’s going on? Imagine if two regions in Mexico with significant ties to America declared they were seceding from Mexico and pleaded to America for assistance, saying the Mexican government had become intolerably Fascist. Imagine America sending assistance to those regions, but then they turn around and sign agreements with the Mexican government …

Wake DA silent on parents’ criminal charges against schools for pornography

By Monica Chen Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman has not taken any actions following parents filing criminal charges on pornography against Wake schools in recent weeks. Freeman’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment before Christmas and after the holiday last week.  A group of parents filed nine complaints at the Wake County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 30, on counts of distribution of pornography and sex offense against juveniles. The parents say they are concerned the books are “grooming” children to become more susceptible to sexual abuse and sexual assault.  “We are pressing criminal charges because we want these adults to be held accountable, and we don’t want them to ever work with kids again,” said Michele Morrow, a nurse and a mother of four who lives in Cary.  Morrow is a member of Liberty First Grassroots and Education First Alliance. The loose group of parents also include members of Moms For Liberty of Wake County.  The parents had been involved in looking into critical race theory and mask mandates in schools …

What is Liz Cheney’s Wyoming?

By Monica Chen If someone only knew about Wyoming from paying attention to Liz Cheney, they might think it was a cozy, domestic kind of place. A state that likes to hold a lot of meetings in rooms with pin-cushioned couches. A state that holds a lot of conferences in comfy banquet halls. And a place where people really like Zoom meetings. They also might think people in Wyoming are frothing at the mouth angry about what happened on Jan. 6 and desperately want their Congressional representative, the Republican Cheney, to take action. But Cheney was ousted from the Wyoming Republican party in November for her role on the committee and also because she was a no-show at county party meetings. In response, as CBS News reported, Cheney’s office turned up its nose: “She is bound by her oath to the Constitution,” a spokesman said. “Sadly, a portion of the Wyoming GOP leadership has abandoned that fundamental principle, and instead allowed themselves to be held hostage to the lies of a dangerous and irrational man.” …

A big problem with the “Civilian Climate Corps”

By Monica Chen On social media, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has been pushing for the “Civilian Climate Corps” and its inclusion in the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act. But more than a joint project between AmeriCorps and the Department of Labor, the proposed entity would cut into the work done by the National Parks system, as well as state and local government parks. “To me the greatest risk is doing nothing on climate or doing too little,” Ocasio-Cortez said at the press conference pushing the Green New Deal in April, held in front of The Capitol. “That is a greater political risk,” she added, according to CBS News. Civilian Climate Corps has been planned to be large. But it’s not proposed as its own entity. It would be part of several federal agencies, but not give them oversight and giving no space for public input. In her statements, Ocasio-Cortez has said the Civilian Climate Corps would cost $30 billion and hire 300,000 people, and would be administered by AmeriCorps and the Department of Labor. …

Nancy Pelosi’s $200 million gift to the Presidio Trust

By Monica Chen Despite Republican outcries of earmarks and payoffs earlier this year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has kept $200 million in appropriations for The Presidio Trust in the Build Back Better plan. Tucked into the massive 2,000-page bill are two paragraphs giving the organization that sum, to be doled out in fiscal year 2022 and available until 2026, for “carrying out projects.” The trust manages the Presidio National Park, a 1,480-acre park at the northern tip of San Francisco overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. When Pelosi’s office was asked by reporters in September why the trust needed that money, the answer was that it was “to help meet the needs of this incredibly popular national park in this difficult financial moment.” “Sadly, it’s clear Republicans would rather play politics than preserve our national treasures,” a spokesperson said to Fox News. But the Presidio National Park is mostly used by San Franciscans, unknown to the rest of the country. The trust is also flush with cash. In 2021, its total revenue was $131 million, according …

Quick look: The “Leandro” case and the court-ordered $1.7 billion. Where the money will go.

Superior Court Judge David Lee of Union County issued a historic order on Nov. 10 in the long-running “Leandro” case on inequities in public schools, requiring the state to spend an additional $1.7 billion on education statewide. From the court order, here’s how the $1.7 billion would be spent: $189.9 million to Department of Health and Human Services $1.5 billion to Department of Public Instruction $41.3 million to UNC system How do those numbers further break down? Here is how Every Child NC, the coalition that has been the primary proponent of a Leandro settlement, wants the money to be spent. The coalition actually wants $3.74 billion spent over eight years. There would be no increase to teachers’ salaries or that of principals, but teachers’ assistants would get additional funding of $20 million in the first year, with that projected to increase to $217.7 million fiscal year 2028. Assistant principals will not get any money in the first year, but by 2028, funding for them would be increased by $30.9 million. Transportation? Career and Technical …

Election Day 2021

By Monica Chen It was a beautiful, sunny Autumnal day on Tuesday as voters in the Triangle headed to the polls to cast their ballots. After 2020, this year was decidedly less intense, but for many, it was still an important election. In Orange County, the school board and the town council were up for re-election, as was the mayor. Durham had a less complicated election, with three seats on the city council and the mayor’s position open that, as it turned out, became an uncontested race. On Tuesday, candidates and volunteers made a last-minute push to get out the vote, camping out at polling places with booths and flyers. Meanwhile, voters headed to polls with major concerns about their communities and their governments. Growth and development were the biggest issue for voters in both counties. Here was the scene at four polling places in Durham and Orange. Carrboro Town Hall, 11 a.m. In sunny Carrboro, candidates and volunteers alike flocked to the parking lot to appeal to voters, who arrived in a steady stream …

Rep. David Price “in strong support” of $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan

By Monica Chen Rep. David Price, D-N.C., has come out in support of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better plan.   Price’s office provided a statement this week in response to media inquiry: “Congressman Price stands in strong support of the Build Back Better Act, a transformative investment in our people and our future. It will assist those historically left behind while combating some of our nation’s most pressing challenges, many of which have been thrown into sharp relief by the pandemic.” North Carolina has been plagued by mishandling of funds related to infrastructure in recent years. In 2020, an audit on the N.C. Department of Transportation found the agency overspent its budget by $742 million in 2019. According to The News & Observer, the Office of the State Auditor found the NCDOT had exceeded its budget of $5.94 billion by 12.5 percent. It got a bailout of $220 million from the state legislature. Price represents the 4th district, which includes Durham, Orange, Franklin and Granville counties, and parts of Wake, Chatham and …