Five quick thoughts on today’s news:
▪ The arrest of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Officer Jennifer Wolfe on charges she obtained prescription painkillers through fraud is an eye-opening reminder of the opioid epidemic’s breadth. Wolfe was arrested on the same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions rightly declared the epidemic the country’s “top lethal issue.” It is a public health issue more than it is a crime issue. While Wolfe needed to be charged if police had evidence of her actions, what she needs is medical help more than jail time.
▪ Good news/bad news in the story about North Carolina’s Housing Finance Agency allegedly misspending $107,578 in federal money that should have gone to help struggling homeowners. While it’s terrible that tax dollars might have been diverted to inappropriate things, how great is it that a federal inspector general conducted an audit that uncovered the abuse all the way down to a $4.26 charge for balloons and $1.81 for a bottle of water from CVS? Now that’s a fine-toothed comb.
▪ Glad to see a win for the New York Times and a loss for Sarah Palin in her suit against the paper. That’s not because we would blindly side with the Times but because the facts of the case showed the Times did not show actual malice in its editorial against Palin. It included an error, which the Times quickly corrected, but there was no evidence the paper knew it was publishing false statements. A ruling the other way would have had a chilling effect on strong journalism.
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▪ President Trump said “all options are on the table” for dealing with North Korea. A Washington Post story about it called Trump’s statement “a grave warning.” Read Trump’s whole statement, though, and you’ll see it’s a model of sober restraint. It certainly contrasted with Trump’s earlier declaration that North Korea would face “fire and fury” like the world has never seen. Just another example of how much better off Trump is when he sticks with the TelePrompter rather than ad libbing.
▪ If you missed Joe Marusak’s story on Uncle Fran, go read it. We should all strive to be remembered the way Francis Mariea was.