Saturday News: Ten against One

3 DEPUTIES RESIGN, 7 ON LEAVE AFTER ANDREW BROWN WAS SHOT IN THE BACK: Three Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies have resigned and another seven have been put on leave after the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. in Elizabeth City, media outlets reported Friday. Sheriff Tommy Wooten called for calm Friday evening ahead of a third night of protests. Gov. Roy Cooper called for body camera footage of the shooting to be released, as did Elizabeth City leaders. “Initial reports of the shooting in Elizabeth City and death of Andrew Brown Jr. this week are tragic and extremely concerning,” Cooper tweeted Friday evening. “The body camera footage should be made public as quickly as possible and the SBI should investigate thoroughly to ensure accountability.”

RALEIGH POLICE DECLARE DOWNTOWN PROTEST UNLAWFUL AFTER ROAD BLOCKED: Less than an hour after around 100 protesters began marching Friday night through downtown Raleigh, calling for an end to police violence against unarmed Black people, police ruled the protest unlawful and threatened arrests. Raleigh police officers said it became an unlawful assembly because protesters pulled barricades, and rolled trash cans up to block Glenwood South. The Raleigh Police Department tweeted photos of two overturned garbage bins. A short time later, the protesters dispersed peacefully. A group known as NC Born, which was formed last June during the protests following George Floyd’s murder by now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, organized Friday night’s Raleigh protest. NC Born activists spread information via social media Friday for a “No Justice Until Abolition” rally at the State Capitol beginning at 6:30 p.m. It said the rally was to protest the deaths of Brown and Ma’Khia Bryant and “countless lives taken by police.”

ALAMANCE COUNTY SETTLES LAWSUIT WITH PROTESTERS, CONFEDERATE STATUE REMAINS: Civil rights groups have settled a dispute with a North Carolina sheriff's office over courthouse protests against a Confederate monument. The settlement guarantees that the grounds of the old Alamance County Courthouse must remain open to the public to exercise their First Amendment rights, requires the sheriff's office to acknowledge that swear words are protected speech even if they're directed at law enforcement officers, and also requires sheriff's employees to undergo racial bias training. If the Alamance County Sheriff's Office had followed the U.S. Constitution, the settlement would not have been needed in the first place, said Elizabeth Haddix, managing attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in a statement. The settlement says demonstrators can use of the courthouse’s North, East, South and West steps, as well as the surrounding lawns and other public spaces. It clarifies that “indecent” words are protected under the First Amendment, an issue that arose after officers arrested several people for using language they deemed too vulgar. And it requires racial bias training in the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office. What's not in this story: the County hastily installed an 8' wrought iron fence around the Confederate statue, apparently anticipating losing said lawsuit.

LIZ CHENEY IS BATTLING DONALD TRUMP FOR CONTROL OF THE GOP: Cheney, 54, is not one to soften her edges and instead relishes her role as the highest-ranking anti-Trump Republican in Congress. Instead of becoming the first female Republican House speaker — a more difficult task now that she has so many internal enemies — Cheney’s legacy might be defined by her success or failure in steering the party back to its conservative foundation, starting Sunday in Orlando. “There’s going to be a very substantive policy focus. We’ve got seven different sessions that we’re running focused on issues that matter most,” Cheney told reporters Tuesday, laying an agenda focused on issues such as health care and China. “What we have to do as Republicans is get back to being the party of ideas and the substance and the policy of conservatism.” That’s why so many pillars of the old Republican order opened their checkbooks and called friends for donations, aware that Trump was out for revenge and trying to find a primary opponent to defeat Cheney. In three months, Cheney’s campaign raised almost 60 percent of her two-year total for the 2020 election. Officially, Cheney and McCarthy have a good working relationship and both leaders are intensely focused on pushing back against the new president. Their aides say they are harmonious in trying to set Republicans up to win back the House majority in 2022. But, as House Republicans gather Sunday for a three-day retreat meant to unify around a new policy agenda, the former president, residing 170 miles south of the GOP’s Orlando gathering, continues to be a divisive figure, pitting the small band of Republican lawmakers critical of him against the majority that remains loyal.

GLOBAL COMPUTER CHIP SHORTAGE IS CLOSING DOWN AUTOMOBILE PLANTS: A shortage of semiconductors, the tiny but critical chips used to calibrate cars’ fuel injection, run infotainment systems or provide the brains for cruise control, has upended automaking. A General Motors plant in Kansas City closed in February for lack of chips, and still hasn’t reopened. Mercedes-Benz has begun to hoard its chips for expensive models and is temporarily shutting down factories that produce lower-priced C-Class sedans. Porsche warned dealers in the United States this month that customers might have to wait an extra 12 weeks to get their cars, because they lack a chip used to monitor tire pressure. The French automaker Peugeot, part of the newly formed Stellantis automaking empire, has gone so far as to substitute old-fashioned analog speedometers for digital units in some models. One big reason automakers can’t find enough chips is that semiconductor manufacturers have given priority to manufacturers of smartphones, video game consoles and other consumer electronics, which tend to be more lucrative customers. A modern car can easily have more than 3,000 chips. But cars account for a tiny share of chip demand. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, or TSMC, is one of the few makers of a variety of chips vital to auto manufacturing, but in 2020 carmakers generated only 3 percent of the company’s sales, according to Roland Berger, a German consulting firm. General Motors, which has had to halt production temporarily at a half-dozen plants since the beginning of the year, has in some cases been producing cars without electrical components and parking them until the parts are available. Ford Motor said Wednesday that it would keep several U.S. plants idle longer than expected because of the chip shortage.



People need to chill out

with their phone obsessions. It's worse than when people were constantly getting the newest PC or laptop, replacing phones 2-3 times a year. I really don't want to be that guy, but I've had the same Galaxy S6 Edge for about 4 years now (it was a hand me down then), and it works just fine. Granted, I don't use it for many of the things others do (music, etc.), but you don't need the newest version to hit the shelves, or pre-order it so you're the first in your squad to have it. Just sayin'...

Lumber shortage

There's also a lumber shortage caused by disruptions to supply chains. It's impacing new home builds, home prices, and likely cause rents to go up. Some experts estimate that the situation will return to "normal" in a year or so.

The National Association of Home Builders says lumber prices have increased more than 200% since April 2020. The “price per thousand board feet” surpassed $1,100 in mid-April, up from less than $500 in June of 2020, the NAHB reported based on data from Random Lengths.

Yeah, we just discussed that

in another board meeting (development advisory) I attended Wednesday. Housing stock(?) is way down, forcing prices up, and new developments are being put on hold until lumber and other construction materials become more affordable. 18 months was mentioned.

That's about 95% Donald Trump, by the way. The Commerce Department just reduced tariffs on Canadian lumber from 20% down to 9% in March, so I'm hoping that will push lumber prices back down quickly. Film at eleven.