Good morning. Let’s get to it.

1. I regret to inform you that Phil Berger is at it again.

The Senate’s top Republican, Phil Berger, is widely considered to be the most powerful politician in the state. In the six years he’s been running the Senate, he’s helped transform North Carolina politics into the smoldering hellhole we recognize it today, with little opposition from Governor Pat McCrory or his counterparts in the House.

Despite all of that power, however, Berger has proved himself to be a gigantic baby, whining incessantly about political correctness while bemoaning the fact that there are no conservatives left in the UNC system he’s helped gut over the past few years.

From the N&O:

The N.C. Policy Collaboratory, where scientists will collaborate on research and policy, was established in this summer’s budget law, with $1 million in annual state funding plus $3.5 million in public startup funds if the university can raise matching money. Specifically, the law directs UNC to do research related to “environmental and economic components” of natural resources management and “new technologies for habitat, environmental, and water quality improvement.”


[Berger’s] science adviser, Jeff Warren, is rumored to be in line to lead the UNC entity, which has prompted scorn from opponents. Without mentioning Warren by name, Berger said any member of his staff who applied for a university job would have his “strong support and recommendation.”

“I have received numerous complaints about the existing philosophical and partisan homogeneity at UNC, where professors registered as Democrats outnumber Republicans by a ratio of roughly 12 to one,” Berger’s email said. “On several occasions I have recommended highly-qualified conservative candidates for positions at UNC and within the university system, and, to my knowledge, none have been hired to date.”

Yeah, gee, I wonder why a world-class public university system would be skeptical of taking advice from someone who denies global warming.

During Berger’s tenure, the UNC Board of Governors has been stacked with conservatives, who in turn hired Bush administration hack Margaret Spellings, who in turn has hired Cecil Staton (the author of Georgia’s voter ID laws) to run ECU and conservative thinktank AEI’s Andrew Kelly to do…something. So what if the rank and file are mostly liberal? The UNC system, like most of the state’s institutions, is run by conservatives. You won. Take the W.

Leave it to the guy who thinks political correctness is destroying America to make UNC’s research labs into his own personal safe space.

2. Former Duke provost’s stepson named in a Title IX suit against the university.

Our own Lauren Horsch:

The complaint states a former Duke University student was “subjected to a drug-facilitated rape” by two students, including the stepson of [Peter] Lange, who at the time was provost of the university. Lange is no longer provost, but he is listed as a professor with the university’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

After the assault the woman reported it to university officials and the Duke Police Department. The two students involved in the woman’s assault had been named in similar sexual misconduct cases around the time she was assaulted.

Within weeks of the woman’s report, another student told assistant dean Christine Pesetski that he saw the two men and a third “employ the same modus operandi that was used in the drug facilitated rape of Plaintiff with a female student who was visiting from another university,” the lawsuit says.

3. Pat McCrory opens his dumb mouth about Iran.

Pat McCrory co-opted a Trump talking point about Iran. From my Friday blog about that:

McCrory has been spending a lot of time with Donald Trump, so that could be why he’s spouting off the Iran deal without anyone asking for his opinion. Trump repeatedly told audiences at his rallies that he saw a video—a video, with his own two eyes—that showed U.S. officials giving $400 million to Iran in exchange for prisoners. Then, he backpedaled.

Both Trump and McCrory are wrong. Here’s what the $400 million was actually for, according to two Stanford law professors who penned an op-ed for The Washington Post.

4. The courts are important!

Not just the Supreme Court, either. Anne Blythe from the N&O:

So far, the courts have turned back the legislature on its attempts to ban same-sex marriage, strip teachers of tenure and require doctors providing abortions to perform an ultrasound and describe the sonogram image in detail.

The courts have rejected attempts to overhaul election law, change how sitting state Supreme Court justices are elected and redraw congressional, legislative and some local voting districts.

“I would say the Republicans have tried to put their stamp on the state,” said Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College who follows state politics closely. “What they’re facing now are the checks and balances that are a natural part of our political system.”

5. The Raleigh food community is banding together for Baton Rouge.

Jill Warren Lucas wrote for us on Saturday about former Market Restaurant chef and central Louisiana native Chad McIntyre’s donation drive for flood victims in the hard-hit state. From that blog:

Members of the Raleigh food community are rallying together on social media with the hashtags #RaleighingUp and #BRFlood to collected donated items that McIntyre, at the helm of the project, will take down to Louisiana for flood victims. He’s leaving from Dram & Draught today at 1 p.m. with hundreds of donated items from community members and local businesses. McIntyre explains his mission in a Facebook video on his page, with a direct link to make an online donation.

McIntyre grew up in the city of Central, Louisiana, located in hard-hit East Baton Rouge Parish. Of its 150,000 residents, only 13,000 were allowed to go back to their homes. His mother is among those lucky few.

As of Aug. 16, CBS News reported 40,000 homes impacted by the historic flooding, with 11,000 people displaced in shelters.

That’s all for today. Have a good week.