UNC SYSTEM PRESIDENT NEEDS TO GROW A PAIR: On Thursday, UNC System President Peter Hans defended the system’s position that it cannot legally require a COVID-19 vaccine at this time. He would not say whether he would want to mandate vaccines for students and employees if he could. “I think it’s best left in the hands of public health experts,” Hans said in a press conference. He then quoted a state law and said lawmakers clearly delegated the ability to add immunizations for children to public health experts through the North Carolina Commission for Public Health. And “that’s where those decisions best lie,” he said. Hans said they are following current public health guidance and flexibility for campuses given their particular situations, including local health conditions, capacities and cultures. But he has not given chancellors the go-ahead to mandate COVID-19 vaccines. “I can’t delegate legal authority I don’t possess,” Hans said Thursday. Then step aside for somebody who will.
AND THEY CAN START THE SEARCH FOR HIS REPLACEMENT RIGHT HERE: A group of UNC-Chapel Hill alumni, faculty, staff, students and others interested in the university are coming together to stop what they say are political influences in campus decisions. The group launched the Coalition for Carolina on Thursday to build a supportive network of allies “to defend the university’s independence from interference” and to support “the principles of open inquiry, free speech, equity, and inclusion.” Professor and UNC-CH Faculty Chair Mimi Chapman first proposed the idea for this group in an op-ed in The Daily Tar Heel. The piece came on the heels of the highly politicized controversy over journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones’s tenure that brought national attention to Chapel Hill this summer. The Coalition for Carolina notes that every current member of both boards was appointed by a conservative-run state legislature. Only one of the former lawmakers that sits on either board is a Democrat. Key players in the higher education system are former politicians, donors and close allies of top legislators, extending the power of conservative leaders beyond the halls of the General Assembly. This is what unchecked power gives us, another cubic zirconia in gerrymandering's crown.
NC FARM LABOR UNION SCORES WIN IN COURT: North Carolina's only farm worker union is pleased despite mixed decisions so far from federal courts about a 2017 law it says obstructs mostly Latino field hands organizing for better benefits and conditions. U.S. District Judge Loretta Biggs issued a permanent injunction this week declaring a provision is unconstitutional that prevents legal settlements between workers and farms from including mandates for a farm to enter a collective bargaining agreement. Bargaining agreements between FLOC and farms in North Carolina are voluntary. The Farm Labor Organizing Committee, with more than 9,000 members in the state, said the legislation it challenged in court included a power play by lawmakers linked to agricultural interests as FLOC made organizing inroads in a state with otherwise low union membership. FLOC already appealed Biggs’ earlier dues checkoff ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The union will be successful because “farmworkers are entitled to the same rights as other North Carolina workers to freely choose” whether dues are deducted, said Kristi Graunke, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union in North Carolina representing the plaintiffs. Honestly, I've never understood that. It's the workers' money, if they want it deducted from their paycheck (like taxes) then employers should have to do it.
HIGH POINT EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITY OF REPARATIONS: High Point could become the next North Carolina city to explore reparations for its Black and minority populations should city officials approve a local push to kickstart a reparations commission. High Point commissioners plan to consider formally establishing a reparations commission when they next meet on Sept 20. The city's Prosperity and Livability Commission previously voted to recommend that commissioners create the committee. "It will do the work of ... addressing the ills that have been done in High Point," said NAACP of High Point Branch President James Adams, who added that injustices go beyond slavery to include Jim Crow and community redlining, among other things. "We're just asking for a time that we can right the wrongs." High Point's NAACP Chapter is spearheading the push for a reparations committee. Based on recent Census data, African American's make up 35.9% of High Point's population, slightly higher than Guilford County's 35.4% and the state's 22.2%. If approved, High Point will have the largest percentage of black residents relative to other communities exploring reparations in the state.
AND THE GRIFTING JUST KEEPS GOING AND GOING...: A new conservative coalition led by former Trump administration advisers plans to launch an up to $10 million campaign to attack President Biden’s economic package as it advances through Congress. The effort, set to launch Friday, is being spearheaded by the America First Policy Institute founded earlier this year by former Trump officials, as well as conservative organizations such as the Conservative Partnership Institute, the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and FreedomWorks. Leaders of the campaign, called the “Save America Coalition,” met Wednesday night at the Washington headquarters of the America First group located near the White House. They discussed plans to rally more than 100 conservative organizations and draw donors for advertisements and social media campaigns criticizing the Biden proposal in swing states and districts controlled by centrist Democrats. Rollins told The Washington Post the campaign will “include all of our key people to fight on every front,” including Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser; Linda McMahon, the former professional wrestling executive who led the Small Business Administration; and Russell Vought, Trump’s budget director. Former Trump campaign adviser Stephen Moore is also helping lead the coalition through the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. Kudlow confirmed his involvement in a brief interview and said the phrase “Save America” was his idea for the campaign. A spokeswoman confirmed Vought’s involvement. Whatever, just another snake-oil wagon for the rubes to throw their money at.