Saturday News: A short reprieve


NC'S UNEMPLOYED WILL RECEIVE ADDITIONAL $300 THROUGH FEMA PROGRAM: The $300 supplemental payment is less than the $600 a week that expired at the end of July after Congress couldn’t reach a deal to extend benefits. It’s also less than the $400 that President Donald Trump announced he would authorize by redirecting FEMA disaster relief money. The state DES said it applied for the $300-per-person funding after it learned that money from the state unemployment insurance trust fund, which normally funds unemployment benefits, may not be used to pay what it called “optional additional $100 supplement match funds.” “The best way to do this would be for Congress and the president to agree on funding the program that already exists instead of this new program in a different agency that’s going to have to be administered in a different way,” Cooper said in another news conference Tuesday. “However, if that’s the only option for North Carolina, we want to take it,” Cooper said.

PROTESTERS ARRESTED IN CHARLOTTE, TRUMP WILL ARRIVE MONDAY: President Donald Trump plans to visit Charlotte on Monday, according to sources. The visit coincides with the first day of the Republican National Convention, which will be held in Charlotte. Trump will be part of the convention and will also meet with delegates, the source said. In response to the convention, protesters gathered downtown where the convention will be held. Several protesters "went toe-to-toe with police," as reported by WCNC, and at least one person was arrested. Police said shortly after 11 p.m., some protesters grabbed officers' bikes and in response, police pepper sprayed those protesters. Police said pepper spray was used to keep the crowd from interfering with arrests that were taking place (see kneeling video below), according to WCNC. Friday afternoon it was announced that Trump was planning to be in Mills River, near Asheville, on Monday as the RNC kicked off in Charlotte. The president will join with his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to tour Flavor First Growers and Packers, an organization that partners with Baptists on Mission to build food boxes that are then delivered to families in need.

DALE FOLWELL CONTINUES TO PUSH HIS FAILED "CLEAR PRICING" SCHEME: After major hospital systems refused to join the new payment model, saying the reduced reimbursement rates would force them to cut services, Folwell relented last year. State Health Plan users this year have been able to continue to use providers in Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s network as well as Clear Pricing Project providers. His Democratic opponent, Duke University professor Ronnie Chatterji, blasted Folwell’s latest announcement in a news release. “Instead of introducing the same plan that failed just a year ago, I would work to expand Medicaid and align State Health Plan payments with value not volume,” Chatterji said. “My approach will ensure more North Carolinians have access to affordable healthcare and that we receive the highest quality care. As state treasurer, my strategy would be data-driven and hold hospitals accountable for healthcare outcomes.”

TRUMP WANTS TO USE LAW ENFORCEMENT TO INTIMIDATE MINORITY VOTERS: Nearly 30 years ago, a Republican Party program that dispatched off-duty police officers to patrol polling places in heavily Black and Latino neighborhoods in New Jersey triggered accusations of voter intimidation, resulting in a federal agreement that restricted for decades how the national GOP could observe voting. Now, two years after those limits were lifted, President Trump has revived the idea of using law enforcement officers to patrol polling places, invoking tactics historically used to scare voters of color. In an interview Thursday with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Trump described law enforcement officers as part of a phalanx of authorities he hopes will monitor voting in November. “We’re going to have everything,” the president said. “We’re going to have sheriffs, and we’re going to have law enforcement, and we’re going to hopefully have U.S. attorneys and we’re going to have everybody, and attorney generals. But it’s very hard.” The president has limited authority to order law enforcement to patrol polling places. Sheriff’s deputies and police officers are commanded at the local level, and a federal law bars U.S. government officials from sending “armed men” to the vicinity of polling places. But civil rights advocates said they feared Trump’s words could inspire local officials to act on his behalf. And they said even the threat of encountering police officers at the polls could be frightening to some voters, particularly in communities of color where residents are distrustful of the police.

DEJOY LIES TO THE U.S. SENATE, WITH HELP FROM REPUBLICANS: “There has been no changes to any policies with regard to election mail,” Mr. DeJoy told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, adding, “The Postal Service is fully capable and committed to delivering the nation’s election mail fully and on time.” Under intense pressure from Democrats, however, he refused to reverse other steps, like removing hundreds of blue mailboxes and mail-sorting machines, that he said his predecessors had initiated in response to a steady decline in mail volume. He told senators that he did not know about the machine removal when it began, saying it was “not a critical issue within the Postal Service.” As Mr. DeJoy testified on Friday, a coalition of six states (including North Carolina thanks to AG Stein) and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against him, the Postal Service and the chairman of its board of governors, Robert M. Duncan. The attorneys general assert that Mr. DeJoy’s recent changes have resulted in widespread delays that could have a disastrous effect for voting by mail this November. His recent announcement, suspending many new initiatives, did not address several of his measures, the states claim. Mr. DeJoy said he had “never spoken to the president about the Postal Service, other than to congratulate me when I accepted the position.” But he did not back down from his plans to radically overhaul the beleaguered Postal Service, saying he foresees “dramatic” changes after the election in November, including rate increases and new service standards in rural America, as ways to cut costs.



Yes, the king for sure but.....

....I can"t help but wonder. Forest and company have been all over the place mingling for some time now. I'd think the odds of catching the bug by now would be a sure bet. Makes me wonder is all I'm getting at. ???

I wouldn't be surprised

if he already caught it a few months ago, or back in April/May. He misses enough meetings (even virtual ones) that nobody would have noticed a week of silence, especially earlier in the year. I've often thought the same thing about Trump.

You know what they say, only the good die young. And now I've got that Billy Joel song in my head...