Friday News: Déjà vu all over again


UNC-CH AND NC STATE SEE SPIKES IN COVID CASES: At UNC-CH, new daily student cases have quadrupled since the first day of classes last week. Fifty cases were reported on Wednesday, according to the COVID-19 dashboard. That’s nearly triple the amount of new cases reported the previous day. The university is not requiring vaccines, but 88% of UNC-CH students and 82% of employees have reported they are vaccinated as of Aug. 26. At N.C. State, 44 students tested positive on Tuesday and another 21 new cases were reported Wednesday. N.C. State is not reporting vaccination rates on its website, but reports that more than 28,000 members of its campus community are vaccinated. Vaccinations should be required, at all UNC System schools.

ANTI-CRT BILL PASSES IN NC SENATE: North Carolina Senate Republicans approved new rules Thursday on how schools can teach about racism, amid GOP allegations that some teachers are trying to indoctrinate students using Critical Race Theory. The 25-17 vote went along party lines, with all Republicans in support and all Democrats opposing. The “Ensuring Dignity and Nondiscrimination in Schools” Act prohibits schools from promoting that the United States was created “for the purpose of oppressing members of another race or sex.” House Bill 324 also prohibits promoting concepts such as white privilege, which is the belief that white people have an unfair advantage over other people due to their race. Democratic lawmakers argued that the bill will result in history being censored and racist views being perpetuated. Yep, and teachers will be afraid to teach anything that might piss off a Maga parent.

BILL IMPROVING TREATMENT OF PREGNANT INMATES IN NC MOVES FORWARD: The use of physical restraints like handcuffs and shackles on pregnant women and new mothers in North Carolina prisons and jails would be largely barred in a measure nearing final legislative approval. The Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday for the regulations, designed by their authors to protect mother and newborns while minimizing security risks. The bipartisan measure, a version of which already passed the House, is supported by groups across the political spectrum. One more House vote is needed before the bill could go to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's desk. Senate Democrats also spoke during floor debate in support of the work to pass the measure, which bars the use of all kinds of restraints on women serving time or awaiting trial during their second and third trimesters, during labor and six weeks after delivery. There are exceptions, such as when the woman is being transported outside the prison or jail, as long as she is not in labor. The measure also works to ensure pregnant women get proper nutrition while behind bars and at the hospital following delivery. Should have been done a long time ago, but I'm glad it's happening now regardless.

TERRORIST ATTACK AT KABUL AIRPORT KILLS DOZENS: Condolences and condemnation poured in from world leaders following the twin blasts outside Kabul’s airport Thursday that left dozens dead or wounded. The Taliban, Afghanistan’s de facto rulers, has launched an investigation into the attack. “We can confirm that a number of U.S. service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “A number of others are being treated for wounds. We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also expressed his anger and sorrow. “I strongly condemn the horrific terrorist attack outside #Kabul airport. My thoughts are with all those affected and their loved ones,” he said on Twitter. “Our priority remains to evacuate as many people to safety as quickly as possible.” The United States and European allies had issued warnings in recent days about an attack targeting the airport, and the Biden administration had raised concerns about the threat posed by the Islamic State in Khorasan, or ISIS-K, the Syria-based militant group’s Afghanistan contingent. The Taliban, long criticized for its ties to extremist groups but a sworn enemy of the Islamic State, has denounced the attack. Bolding mine, because I keep hearing nonsense about the Taliban (and Iran) helping Daesh, and that's a crock. ISIS has attacked both of them inside their own borders, and there is no "enemy of my enemy" truce going on.

POLITICO WAS JUST SOLD TO A GERMAN PUBLISHER FOR A COOL BILLION: The news outlet was founded in 2007 by Washington Post veterans John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei to cover Congress, political campaigns and lobbying. Mike Allen, another Post veteran, came aboard as chief political reporter and became one of the faces of the publication. Noted for a style of journalism that satisfied the increasingly screen-based reading habits of Washington’s political class — shorter, faster, more plentiful and steeped in an insider tone — it grew substantially, adding a wide-ranging mix of policy-focused verticals and spinoffs and a European edition that it co-owned with Axel Springer. As part of the deal, the German company will take full control of the Politico Europe partnership launched in 2014, as well as the technology news site Protocol, which began last year. Axel Springer’s previous inroads into the U.S. media market include its acquisition of Business Insider in 2015, along with a majority stake in newsletter publisher Morning Brew. Politico’s success often attracted new entrants into the market it had proved out, as well as larger publications looking to scoop up some of its most successful journalists. In 2016, VandeHei, Allen and three senior executives left the company and, in January 2017, started Axios, a rival publication that has targeted a similar pool of political-junkie readers and corporate advertisers. That space grew even more crowded when three Politico journalists, Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan, left to start a “membership-based news community” called Punchbowl News in January. The site focuses on Washington dealmakers and political power players.