Friday News: Honor them now, not after they die

HOMELESS RALEIGH VETERAN GETS VERY NICE FUNERAL: For more than a decade, Dominic Fiumara lived in a tent at the back of a Raleigh cemetery, where he was known as a tough, elder statesman of the city’s homeless. Nobody who shied away from Fiumara on the sidewalks knew he once wore a uniform, serving 15 years in the U.S. Army, lastly with the 1st Cavalry Division. They did not know he fought in the Gulf War, or that he earned the Bronze Star. They did not hear about the demons that pulled him out of polite society, leaving him so estranged that nobody noticed for weeks when he died at 63. There are some 50,000 homeless veterans in the United States, and about half of them suffer from a diagnosable mental health condition. Some 21 veterans commit suicide in our country every single day, and it's a good bet a lot of them are probably on the verge (or past the verge) of homelessness when they take that final step. Each F-35 costs about $78 million, not counting fuel and upkeep, while our outreach and assistance to veterans is patchy at best. We must do better.

CAWTHORN IS EYEING TIM MOORE'S CARVED-OUT CONGRESSIONAL SEAT: In the political map approved by Republican state lawmakers last week, Cawthorn is the incumbent in the 14th Congressional District. But he told Republican leaders in his current Western North Carolina district that he is instead considering running in the 13th Congressional District — one that most political observers thought had been drawn for N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore. “I think he’s leaning toward it, if it’s a feasible thing,” said Lee Emerson, chairman of the Polk County GOP, in a telephone interview Wednesday night. The 13th district includes the western part of Mecklenburg County and all of Polk, Rutherford, McDowell, Burke, Gaston and Cleveland counties. Moore is from Cleveland County. Both the new 13th and 14th districts are Republican-leaning districts. Analysis by The Cook Political Report says Republicans would be expected to win the 13th district by 13 percentage points and the 14th district by 7 points. The 14th district may be more likely to turn toward Democrats later in the decade due to population changes — a consideration given Cawthorn’s age. He is 26, and his election in 2020 made him the youngest member of Congress. And (by far) the most contemptible.

COOP MAY SIGN BUDGET WITHOUT MEDICAID EXPANSION: North Carolina's extended budget negotiations will come to a head next week with the House and Senate voting on a final spending plan, officials said Wednesday. Gov. Roy Cooper has suggested he could sign it into law, even though he wouldn't get everything he wants, in particular Medicaid expansion. GOP Rep. Jason Saine, a top budget writer from Lincoln County, and Senate leader Phil Berger's office confirmed that votes are expected next week on a two-year state government budget worked out between the two chambers. Negotiations between Republican lawmakers and the Democratic governor phased out as Cooper presented what was described as his final offer last Friday, Saine said, and House and Senate leaders made adjustments earlier this week. “We’ve exhausted the conversations,” Saine said. But Cooper has provided lots of input that should end up in the final legislative bill. A statement posted on Cooper's Twitter handle Wednesday said that Republican leaders have informed him that the budget being released early next week will contain a “number of the governor's priorities that were proposed in his budget and discussed in negotiations over the last few weeks, including increased education funding."

WILMINGTON AREA ROADSIDE ZOO IS NEGLECTING AND ABUSING ANIMALS: A roadside zoo in North Carolina has been cited for the second time this year by federal agricultural officials, this time for failing to monitor injured animals properly. The citation issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture stems from an inspection on Oct. 4, WECT reported. Specifically, the citation mentions a tiger with a 1-inch (2 cm) open wound on her ear and a camel with a closed eye. According to the newly released report, Tregembo Animal Park failed to refer health problems with the tiger named Sasha and the camel to a veterinarian, noting that regular communication with a vet and daily observation of the animals are needed in “minimizing pain.” Tregembo also received a citation after an inspector observed a serval cat “exhibiting distress” over the number of flies in the enclosure and around the animal’s body, repeatedly flicking his or her ears and biting at the insects. Following an inspection in February, Tregembo was cited for failing to call a veterinarian about a pig who was lame in its rear legs even though staff knew of her condition. Close the damn place down for good, and don't give me any crap about "freedom." These animals deserve to be treated with care and consideration, and apparently the owners aren't capable of that.

APPEALS COURT GIVES TRUMP A MINOR VICTORY IN JAN 6 INSURRECTION INVESTIGATION: A federal appeals court on Thursday blocked the imminent release of records of former president Donald Trump’s White House calls and activities related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack after a lower court found that President Biden can waive his predecessor’s claim to executive privilege. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted a temporary injunction while it considers Trump’s request to hold off any release pending appeal, and fast-tracked oral arguments for a hearing Nov. 30. The order came after U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of Washington on Tuesday cleared the way for handover of documents to a House investigative committee, ruling that an ex-president’s claim to a residual right to withhold records from Congress after leaving office does not continue in perpetuity. In a 15-page emergency motion filed Thursday, Trump’s attorneys asked to keep the documents secret for now, and proposed that all sides brief the court next week on whether to keep them so for the weeks or months an appeal may take to decide. Trump’s legal team said the case presented serious, novel questions about whether a former president can sue a successor to withhold government records from Congress, and that the institution of the presidency would be irreparably harmed if the documents were released beginning at 6 p.m. Friday as planned. Trump himself has harmed that institution far more than any documents he apparently wants to keep hidden. Our democracy was attacked, at Trump's bidding, and we need to see everything involved in that calamity.