Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


COMPLETE YOUR CENSUS FORM, KEEP NORTH CAROLINA'S VOICE STRONG: Failure to make sure everyone living in the state is counted in the Census will mean less clout – regardless of political affiliation – in the Capitol. For the state to receive its fair share and be heard with the authority its numbers deserve, there must be a full and complete count. The population count in the Census directly affects the annual distribution of $43.8 billion in federal funds that provide assistance in the states for health care, schools, transportation systems and emergency response. Public assistance programs – including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps), childcare, job preparation and other assistance programs are based on the Census count of children and people in a household. Population data is used to determine aid to communities affected by natural disasters – such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and droughts.

IN GEORGIA AND NC, REPUBLICANS QUIETLY WATCH THEIR INTEGRITY SLIP AWAY: Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon supporter and virulent racist who on Tuesday won a GOP primary runoff in a U.S. House district in Georgia. Greene’s victory came in part because neither House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy nor the National Republican Congressional Committee took sides in the runoff. She is likely to win in November in her conservative district, making her the first unabashedly pro-QAnon member of Congress. It’s a stain on the institution and her party. But Republicans, some of whom protested earlier in the race, are now quiet. The same has been true this week as disturbing questions surfaced about Madison Cawthorn, the Republican nominee for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District. On Monday, the left-wing blog Jezebel and others questioned why Cawthorn appeared to use symbols connected to white nationalism on at least three occasions. Cawthorn declined to speak to a Charlotte Observer reporter about the matter, but he removed 2017 Instagram photos of a trip with his brother to Adolf Hitler’s German mountain retreat. It wasn’t long ago that a candidate who even played near the fire of white nationalism would earn warnings about poor judgment from his party’s leaders. But this week, again, Republicans were quiet. So why the hush from GOP leaders? In part, it’s because Republicans are loath to lose two U.S. House seats for two critical years in Washington. Certainly, it’s not the first time leaders in either party have looked the other way at bad behavior in their ranks. But criticizing Greene or questioning Cawthorn might also bring more immediate consequences - specifically the wrath of President Donald Trump. On Wednesday, when Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois criticized QAnon as “nonsense” and said it had “no place” in Congress, he was quickly slapped on Twitter by the Trump campaign.

TRUMP NEEDS TO MAKE ELECTION SAFE FOR VOTERS, NOT RUSSIAN HACKERS: Recently, the New York Times uncovered that about a year ago intelligence agencies produced a classified report revealing the Russian government favored President Trump in the 2020 presidential election. It paralleled the broad agreement that Russia favored Trump in 2016 and sough to interfere in that election on his behalf. Trump didn’t like the report and the director of national intelligence was asked to revise the assessment. “He did not — and not long afterward, Mr. Trump declared the director was out,” the Times reported. Think of it. The president of this nation is more concerned about a fictitious problem – voter fraud via mail-in ballots which has rarely been a problem – than he is in a REAL effort to interfere and manipulate the elections by foreign nations. Let’s be clear. “Russia conducted an unprecedented, multi-faceted campaign to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” That is no assessment from Trumps enemies or political opposition. That is the conclusion from the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, headed at the time by Richard Burr, the Republican from North Carolina.

A BIDEN-HARRIS TICKET IS TRUMP'S WORST NIGHTMARE: That Trump fears Biden is beyond dispute. The president worried so much about facing him that he tried to extort the president of Ukraine, an ally dependent on U.S. military aid, into announcing a baseless investigation of Biden and his son in an attempt to smear the former vice president. This outrageously venal gambit earned Trump the shame of becoming just the third president in history to be impeached. And that Trump fears Harris is illustrated by his befuddlement at how to attack her. A full 24 hours after the announcement that she was Biden’s choice, all the president had managed was to call her “nasty,” a placeholder put-down he often uses for strong women, and a weak tweet belittling her performance in the Democratic primaries. By Thursday, Trump was focused on an “angry Black woman” approach, combining racism and misogyny for a kind of daily double. “She was so angry, and such hatred,” he said on Fox Business Network, referring to Harris’s grilling of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. “I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it. She was the angriest of the group, and they were all angry.” Trump’s allies and enablers, meanwhile, chose from an unappetizing menu of contradictory talking points to attack Harris. Some implausibly tried to paint Harris, a Californian, as the most left-wing member of the U.S. Senate, apparently hoping the nation will somehow forget that Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) exist. Others claimed that Harris isn’t liberal enough to suit the party’s progressive wing. The Trump campaign called her “phony” for attacking Biden during the primaries but now joining forces with him. By that standard, most leading Republicans are even phonier, since they once called Trump names like “con man” and “pathological liar” but now treat him with unctuous Dear Leader reverence. These slams are a meager response to the reality the GOP faces: that Biden has chosen a vice-presidential nominee who might significantly, perhaps even decisively, inspire more Democrats to vote.

BIDEN DREAMS OF KAMELOT: All those old tropes about castrating women are threadbare as Trump’s despicable attempt to recycle the birther smear he used to slime Barack Obama, this time against Harris, the daughter of a Jamaican father and Indian mother. She was born in Oakland, Calif. Biden looks confident for choosing an accomplished woman who delivered a haymaker in a debate. After Donald Trump’s petty vindictiveness, Biden rising above grudges is a lovely thing to behold. President Trump represents the last primal shriek of retrograde white men afraid to lose their power. He’s a dinosaur who evokes a world of beauty pageants, “suburban housewives,’’ molestation, cheating on your wife when she’s pregnant, paying off porn stars, preferring women to be seen and not heard, dismissing women who challenge you as nasty, angry and crazy. Harris has shown that she can throw a few elbows, that she doesn’t worry about always being nice, and I like that about her. The effort to cast her as an Angry Woman will not succeed; the country is rapidly moving past such caricatures. Besides, women should be angry. Trump’s feckless response to the coronavirus has forced parents to play Russian roulette with their kids and schools. It’s rich that the campaign of the phony in the Oval called Biden’s running mate “Phony Kamala.” If Team Trump wants to depict her as calculating, bring it on. After all the Trump flailing, some calculating would be welcome. We need the daughter of a scientist — as a little girl, she washed her mother’s test tubes at the research lab — to calculate the best way to get us out of virus Groundhog Day, once the president who fought masks and who bungled testing is dispatched. We need someone who worked in law enforcement to calculate the best way to reimagine policing without decimating it. The charismatic senator bristles at being called “the female Obama.’’ Valerie Jarrett, Hilary Rosen and other feminists have sent out a memo instructing the media not to talk about the appearance of a woman running on the ticket. Don’t call her glamorous! Still, I have to say, the senator has that same magnetic smile that Obama had, back in the days before Mitch McConnell wore him down, a smile that fills you with hope about what America can be.


SUJA THOMAS: DUKE UNIVERSITY IS ENDANGERING DURHAM CITIZENS: I live in an apartment complex in downtown Durham. Dozens of Duke University undergraduates are moving into my building because of Duke’s decision to push students out of campus dorms and into Durham. These students have no respect for their neighbors and do not wear masks. In the short week they’ve been here, they’ve instilled no confidence in me of being able to take necessary precautions when it comes to protecting themselves from COVID, much less having the decency to protect others. In its ill-advised decision to have students return for in-person instruction, Duke has pushed all responsibility onto the Durham community. Years ago, Duke pushed drinking off campus and into the community. We’re still seeing the ill effects of that selfish move. As a citizen of Durham, I demand that Duke take ownership of this situation and fix the problem they’ve created. Don’t be the reason Durham sees a very avoidable increase in COVID case counts.

DELORES SOMERS: I'M IN A REST HOME, BUT IT FEELS LIKE A PRISON: I am a resident of Village Care health and rehab in King. My husband comes to visit when he can, but always through a glass partition or on the phone. I haven’t had a visitor in the building for five months. People on the outside are not doing what they need to do. As a result of careless gatherings, the virus has spread even more. I understand what is going on, but others don’t. They wonder what happened to their families. Depriving people of contact with their loved ones is just as dangerous as a virus. If CNAs and nurses get their temperatures taken before entering, so can my husband. One visitor is what we each need to help us go on. You still go about your lives, but we are the forgotten. We are sad, depressed, lonely and trapped. This is not the quality of life we deserve.

JAMES HOLMAN: UNC-CHAPEL HILL EMPLOYEES NEED BETTER PROTECTION FROM VIRUS: I am chairman of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, District 25. The majority of members in our district are UNC Chapel Hill employees and retirees. I am speaking out about the lack of urgency from the UNC System to create a safe work environment for staff and students. We have one of the greatest hospitals in the world on campus and UNC has not implemented mandatory testing for all faculty, staff and students before returning to campus. If the University of Kentucky can test over 30,000 students before they return to campus, UNC Chapel Hill can do the same. We also need more up-to-date equipment to clean and sanitize the university. Face shields should be issued to facilities employees, along with the masks they’re receiving. The university is not adequately staffed to clean this large a facility as frequently as required.



Not really the "Greatest Generation"

I read the following with equal parts fascination and disgust, about government complicity in neighborhood segregation in the mid-20th Century. I left it out of the main body above because it focused almost exclusively on one California City (San Mateo), but this was going on everywhere to one degree or another:

In San Mateo, they would learn that builders constructed the residential Hillsdale neighborhood for whites only in the mid-20th century. Public records reveal that the 1941 deed to Sophia Heath’s family home says, “No persons other than members of the Caucasian or White race shall be permitted to occupy any portion of said property, other than as domestics in the employ of the occupants of the premises.”

The racial restriction was signed by officers of the American Trust Company, which financed its construction. David D. Bohannon, a developer who built the largest share of homes in Hillsdale, signed similar deed requirements for racial exclusion. Although the whites-only clauses are no longer enforceable, they remain in the deeds of Hillsdale homeowners.

Mr. Bohannon became one of the biggest developers of whites-only housing throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid-20th century, with significant responsibility for the segregated landscape that persists. Although many Black Americans flocked to the Bay Area to take jobs in war production during World War II, Mr. Bohannon barred nonwhites from his projects. Several Bohannon neighborhoods for workers in shipyards and supporting factories during the war were financed with loans guaranteed by the federal government from financial institutions like Bank of America and the American Trust Company, which didn’t resist the government’s policy of racial exclusion.

A real estate firm, Fox & Carskadon, marketed the Hillsdale homes in 1940 with newspaper ads boasting of the deed clauses that enforced the neighborhood’s racial exclusivity: “Let us tell you of the protective covenants that guarantee Hillsdale’s enduring character for all time to come.”

The Bohannon company, Fox & Carskadon and the American Trust Company could not have segregated Hillsdale without the support of government agencies. In fact, in some cases, federal agencies required builders like Mr. Bohannon to insert the racial clause in deeds. In our own time, the City of San Mateo continues to perpetuate the segregation of many of its white neighborhoods by prohibiting construction of anything but single-family homes — no townhouses, duplexes or apartments affordable to teachers, firefighters, nurses, hotel and restaurant workers, and others who serve the community but cannot afford to live in it.

I can tell you from personal experience that diversifying neighborhoods with affordable housing in the form of multi-family dwellings is extremely difficult. Some activists are pushing hard to outlaw SFR (Single Family Residential) zoning in cities or even towns, and that may be one of the only solutions to this problem.

But those activists (for the most part) aren't running for office. Whether your seat on the City Council is districted or at-large, running on that platform will almost guarantee a loss. Again, I know this from personal experience. NIMBY crosses party lines quicker than a rabbit, and even Progressives soon forget their idealism when their property value is (or might be) jeopardized.

I have another Planning Board meeting this Thursday night, to rezone from Ag to RM (Multi-family Residential). These would be townhomes, actually separate dwellings, and not even close to any standard R15 neighborhoods. But I expect at least some resistance anyway, because of the density. But that's what they don't pay me for...

Horse's ass...

Like our generation has faced anything like the Great Depression or Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan and Fascist Italy all at once. While their generational bigotry is a disgusting flaw, it pales in comparison to their overall sacrifice and greatness....Not to mention our generation's failures....Jesus wept.