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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


AS DEADLY VIRUS SPREADS, LEGISLATORS FIDDLE WITH PARTISAN VACCINE POLITICS: In their letter these legislators say they are worried about the “valid concerns” of workers. They “strongly encourage” employers get “greater input from employees” as well as “include feedback and consideration of employees and staff.” These legislators aren’t fooling these hospital executives nor anyone else. Their main concern isn’t workers’ rights, or more tragically the good health of North Carolinians. The only thing they care about is appealing to a narrow political base to promote a divisive issue embedded in their baseless and dangerous anti-vaccination ideology. Clearly in this very real life-and-death situation nothing is gets in the way of their obsessive quest for a political wedge and a campaign edge. It is unfortunate they don’t have the same devotion to helping stop the spread of the virus and avoid the skyrocketing number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Saturday News: The high cost of ignorance


COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS IN NC ARE CLOSE TO 2,500: With over 6,600 new COVID cases on Friday, North Carolina has averaged 5,182 new cases per day over the past week, the highest rate since early February when the pandemic was just coming down from its winter peak. At the beginning of July, the seven-day average was below 300. As of Friday, 2,483 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, the 34th consecutive day that number has increased. A quarter of those patients, 635, are being treated in intensive care units. A week ago there were 424 adult COVID patients statewide in ICU, a number that has since grown by nearly 50%. Among the tests reported Wednesday, the latest data available, 11.6% returned positive. The rate has been over 10% for 12 straight days.

Friday News: Here we go again...


UNC CHAPEL HILL REPORTS FIRST COVID CLUSTER OF THE FALL SEMESTER: The six cases are related to an event in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. The report comes the day before move-in starts Thursday for thousands of students and exactly a week before in-person classes are set to begin on campus. Responses to the news on Twitter echo the sentiments of several members of Wednesday’s Campus & Community Advisory Committee Meeting, who say the university should require COVID-19 vaccines for all students and employees. “If we’re not going to require the vaccine then we shouldn’t have a full reopening with dorms at maximum capacity and classes in-person,” professor Seth Noar said. He said that UNC-CH, as a leading public research university, isn’t following the science or the research on this issue. Aren't pharmacists trained to administer vaccines?

Thursday News: Sour Sixteen

NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY RAISES LEGAL AGE FOR MARRIAGE TO 16: The NC House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that would raise the legal age to marry from 14 to 16, moving the state a bit closer to banning child marriage altogether. But Wednesday’s vote seemed unlikely earlier this year. When lawmakers first proposed Senate Bill 35 the plan was to ban marriage under 18 outright. The child marriage bill stalled when it was sent to the Families, Children and Aging Policy committee led by Rep. Jerry Carter, a Rockingham County Republican. After Carter’s death last week, the bill moved out of his committee and into the Rules committee which sent the bill to the House floor. I don't want to speak ill of the dead, so I won't say anything.

Wednesday News: Love wins, eventually


CHARLOTTE PASSES NON-DISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE PROTECTING LGBTQ CITIZENS: The city’s new NDO is applicable to all employers, large and small — a point of uncertainty for city attorney Patrick Baker, who has expressed concern about Charlotte’s ability to handle a flood of discrimination complaints from large Charlotte-based employers. Baker had recommended the Council pursue an NDO for businesses with 14 or fewer workers, in order to close a gap in federal and state law. Customers and visitors cannot be discriminated against in places of public accommodation either, under Charlotte’s NDO. Charlotte’s nondiscrimination ordinance now includes protections for gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation and natural hairstyles.

Monday News: Taking responsibility


BOONE CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO REQUIRE MASKS INDOORS: Effective 5 p.m. Tuesday, ages 2 and older must mask up in all indoor public settings, according to Mayor Rennie Brantz’s declaration. The Town Council voted to reenact the state of emergency first imposed during the pandemic last year. “Watauga County’s and North Carolina’s daily case counts and hospitalizations for COVID-19 are quickly increasing due to the Delta Variant, which spreads at least twice as easily as previous variants,” according to the declaration. The council said on Facebook that the Boone Police Department “will continue to assist private businesses and private business owners if they choose to enforce social distancing standards and other more restrictive COVID-19 preventative measures.” Good, because there are bound to be some idiots ready to show their asses.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


BERGER AND THE NC GOP'S DESPERATION TO KEEP POWER: In a cliché-riddled campaign fundraising pitch state Senate leader Phil Berger insulted the non-partisan medical and scientific professionals at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “Left-Wing bureaucrats playing political games and trying to control Americans lives.” In the email labeled “guidelines to ignore,” he facetiously likened recommendations for protection against the deadly coronavirus to admonitions against eating raw cookie dough. These professionals at the CDC are working desperately to save lives and stem the spread of the deadly virus that has taken more than 13,650 lives in North Carolina and 613,000 nationwide. There is no acceptable rational for anyone, particularly the leader of North Carolina’s state Senate, to urge people to ignore the common-sense advice of the CDC. What the letter did expose is the depths of irresponsibility Berger will go to in an effort to raise money and divide the community merely to seize some potential partisan advantage.

Saturday News: Stay in your lane, dude

CAWTHORN TRIES TO WIELD UNDUE INFLUENCE OVER BUNCOMBE SCHOOL BOARD: Congressman Madison Cawthorn made a surprise appearance at the meeting. Cawthorn, who represents North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, said he has several concerns with requiring children to wear masks. “Number one reason is looking at the scientific data that backs up how many children are getting infected with COVID-19. If they are getting infected, exactly how severely is it,” Cawthorn said. “It’s a very low, low, low percentage.” On Thursday night, 33 people took to the podium at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting to voice their concerns. Some, like Stephanie Parsons, called the decision unconstitutional. “We are a republic,” Parsons said. “We are not a autocracy. You are not dictators, and you do not get to tell us what we can and cannot do with our children.” The irony of someone wailing about "autocracy" who is also likely a Trump supporter is overwhelming.

Friday News: Home Rule, or something like it


TRIANGLE MUNICIPALITIES CRACK DOWN ON MASK-WEARING: Masks are required inside city-owned property in Raleigh regardless of a person’s vaccination status. “The city has used education to convey to employees the benefits of getting vaccinated,” said Julia Milstead, the city’s public information officer. “At this point, there has been no discussion on making them mandatory.” Employees and visitors to Wake Forest facilities are required to wear masks as of Monday, said Bill Crabtree, communications & public affairs director. Chapel Hill never lifted its requirement that employees and the public wear masks inside public buildings, Mayor Pam Hemminger said. The Town Council will continue to meet virtually through September, she said. In many ways this is better than the Governor doing it, local pols need to step up and use their authority.

Thursday News: Gambling with our future


NC GOP LICKING ITS CHOPS OVER SPORTS BETTING LEGISLATION: Senate Bill 688 would allow 10 to 12 licensed sports wagering businesses in the state offering on-site betting at or near sporting facilities, as well as online gambling. They'd pay $500,000 for an initial license and, as the bill is written now, an 8 percent tax on transactions. That tax rate is likely to increase as the bill moves through the legislative process, sponsoring Sen. Jim Perry, R-Lenoir, said Wednesday. A key budget writer, Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, promised an amendment that would keep the General Assembly holding those purse strings. Perry's bill initially pushed half of the tax revenue into a fund controlled by the state Department of Commerce and meant to attract major events, like a Super Bowl or a golf tournament. I thought Ralph Hise was a Word Of Faith fundamentalist? Must be the Prosperity Gospel...


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