When Spike Lee’s Art Is More Real Than a White House Reality Show

OPINION — It was deliberate and fitting that “BlacKkKlansman” opened a year after the deadly march of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is not too much of a spoiler to say that director Spike Lee goes there in the telling of the improbable true story of an African-American police officer who, in the late 1970s, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado.

The film brings the lessons of the not-so-tall tale up to the present, to this 2018 moment. That includes an appearance from a youthful David Duke, who still appears whenever and wherever racial hate rises up.

In a parallel universe that purports to be real life but more closely resembles a twisted fantasy, Donald Trump managed one weak tea of a tweet marking the anniversary of the march, with a message that condemned “all types of racism,” pushing false equivalency and failing yet again to acknowledge the seriousness of neo-Nazi and Klan sentiment and action that caused the death of Heather Heyer.

Omarosa vs. Trump: Reality-Show Drama Meets Politics

CHARLOTTE, NC — In a move that seems like a plot twist in a reality show, Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former and fired top aide to Donald Trump is not going quietly. She has a new book, “Unhinged,” which asserts that the president is unfit. And she has tapes. The president has gone on the attack, with tweets and insults. And now there is a lawsuit over a non-disclosure agreement she signed when she worked for the campaign.

Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup: Teachers Struggle to Pass Licensing Exams; Panthers vs. Bills

On this edition of the local news roundup…

The start of the CMS school year is only a couple of weeks away, and there are hundreds of teacher vacancies in the system that need to be filled. That’s happening at the same time that many elementary teachers are failing to pass their licensing exams. Think you could pass the exam?

The apologies continue from Wells Fargo, who is now acknowledging an error that led hundreds of customers to foreclosure on their homes. We’ll give you the latest.

A judge has declined to rule on lawsuits regarding constitutional amendment questions appearing on ballots this fall in North Carolina- that’s as the deadline to finalize those ballots looms. Our reporters explain.

And the Panthers play Buffalo in pre-season football Thursday night. How do the Catslook?

Mike Collins will bring you those topics and more, along with our roundtable of reporters on the Charlotte Talks Local News Roundup.

Guests:

Alexandra OlginWFAE Reporter

Ann Doss Helms, reporter for the Charlotte Observer

Shawn Flynn, Managing Editor for Spectrum News 

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for Rollcall.com and WCCB

Trump’s Culture War Is Entering Its Scorched-Earth Phase

OPINION — President Donald Trump is crediting his raucous Ohio rally for propelling Troy Balderson over Democratic challenger Danny O’Connor in a U.S. congressional special election that is officially still too close to call. But what if his fiery rhetoric and the image of a sea of angry faces, attacks on the media and signs supporting the murky QAnon conspiracy actually derailed what should have been an easy Republican victory?

What does an Ohio special election say about the November midterm elections?

In an Ohio congressional district that has sent Republicans to Washington for decades, the special election race on Tuesday is currently too close to call, with Republican Troy Balderson leading Democrat Danny O’Connor by less than one percentage point. What does it mean for chances of a November blue or red wave? Did President Trump’s weekend rally there help Balderson? What about suburban GOP women? What about turnout? Will Democrats re-think Nancy Pelosi as speaker, and will that to help their chances?

More questions, as the two Ohio candidates will meet again in November.

How Foreign Influence on Social Media Affects Elections

CHARLOTTE, NC — Facebook said this week that it has detected and removed 32 pages and fake accounts that it identified – built to sow divisions in the U.S. and potentially disrupt the midterm elections. Earlier, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri announced thwarted attempts to break into her office’s accounts.

The tactics are similar to those our intelligence agencies say have been used by Russia to influence elections in the U.S. and other countries.

Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled an open meeting to examine how foreign intelligence agencies conduct influence campaigns in the U.S. through various social media platforms.

Obama’s Push for More Female Leaders Gets Help From Men Acting Out

OPINION — Former President Barack Obama has not been a headline fixture since he left office. In fact, with a few exceptions, the opposite has been true, maybe because he feels it’s better to keep his political distance in this partisan time or because he’s holding off in order to make a greater impact when he decides to speak up. But last week, Obama did make a bit of news when he encouraged more women to take leadership rolesbecause “men have been getting on my nerves lately.”

Obama certainly could have been talking about certain men who were particularly vexing during his own time in the White House, and have continued to bedevil Democrats (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for starters).

But he did not have to take a stroll down memory lane.

Trump’s Plan To Aid Farmers Impacted By Trump’s Trade War

Political contributor Mary C Curtis weighs in on the local impact and President Trump’s plan to offer aid to US farmers caught in his trade war.

Trump is promising 12 billion dollars in emergency relief to help farmers hurt by retaliation from other countries, like China and the European Union.

Charlotte Talks News Roundup: Divided City Council Backs RNC, Local Reaction To Trump/Putin Meeting

The Charlotte City Council voted in favor of the bid for the 2020 Republican National Convention, but the narrow 6-5 vote came after strong comments by council members and citizens. We go through the debates, the vote and where our bid stands.

President Trump’s failure to back U.S. intelligence agencies during his press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki drew criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. We’ll talk through what our local lawmakers had to say.

One week after the CIAA announced that it’d be opening up its search for a tournament host city beginning in 2021 rather than staying in Charlotte, several cities have shown interest in hosting the tournament. We’ll talk about who has thrown their hat in the ring.

And CATS has revealed plans for new transit options, including an uptown tunnel.

GUESTS

David Boraks, WFAE reporter (@davidboraks)

Mary C. Curtis, Roll Call columnist (@mcurtisnc3)

Ann Doss Helms, The Charlotte Observer education reporter (@anndosshelms)

Erik Spanberg, Charlotte Business Journal  senior staff writer (@CBJSpanberg)

 

Opinion: Charlotte Gambles on the Convention Las Vegas Didn’t Want

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Vi Lyles, the Democratic mayor of the largest city in North Carolina, said championing a bid to host the 2020 Republican National Convention was likely “the most difficult decision of my career.”

As word spread this week that Republicans have chosen Charlotte over other candidates, with a formal announcement due Friday, it’s almost certain the event will be one of the city’s biggest tests.