Monday News: Eighteen thousand, six hundred seventy six


OVER 1 1/2 MILLION NORTH CAROLINA RESIDENTS HAVE CONTRACTED CORONAVIRUS: At least 1,524,078 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 18,676 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday, Nov. 24, reported 2,318 new COVID-19 cases, up from 1,289 on Tuesday. The state won’t update its case count later this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. At least 1,113 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Nov. 24, including 260 adults being treated in intensive care units, health officials said. As of Nov. 22, the latest date with available information, 5.9% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Roughly 72% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 68% have been fully vaccinated.

NC GOP'S BUDGET ALSO BLOCKS RELEASE OF POLICE KILLINGS DATA: A paragraph deep in the new state budget forbids sheriffs, police departments and any other government entity in North Carolina from creating a public log of the times officers kill or injure someone. These so-called critical incidents are going to be recorded statewide for the first time in a database that the General Assembly authorized earlier this year, as part of policing reforms contained in Senate Bill 300. But that database is for law enforcement to use in an effort to weed out problem officers; it won’t be available to the public—despite a push from advocates who view public scrutiny as a key to police reform. Not only are local governments and others forbidden from cataloguing critical incidents publicly, they also can’t create a database of what the budget refers to as “disciplinary actions taken against law enforcement officers,” which may not always lead to certification issues. The new language ensures that nobody in the government—a sheriff interested in transparency, for instance—publicizes any of this information in a separate database. And of course one county's sheriff can't see disciplinary data on an officer trying to transfer from another county, if said county doesn't want to cooperate, something this database was supposed to help with. Idiots.

PILOT MOUNTAIN IS BURNING: A wildfire on Pilot Mountain has burned nearly 180 acres as of Sunday afternoon. The fire started around 5:15 p.m. on Saturday near the Grindstone Trail, according to NBC affiliate WXII. Fire officials said Pilot Mountain State Park would be closed Sunday, and likely the rest of the week, because of the wildfire. Firefighters are currently in "defensive operations" because of strong winds, reports WXII. A campground near the fire was evacuated. But fire officials said damage has not been reported at nearby structures. North Carolina State Parks officials asked people not to fly drones over the wildfire since it could interfere with fire-fighting aircraft. This makes my heart sick. I've hiked those trails several times, always a stunning exercise.

ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE RECORDED NEAR WINSTON-SALEM: The U.S. Geological Survey has reported another minor earthquake that took place near Winston-Salem. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Saturday's quake was the seventh seismic event to occur in Forsyth and Surry counties in the past six days. The National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado, reported that no injuries or structural damage has resulted from any of the seven earthquakes. Saturday's 1.9 magnitude occurred shortly before 8 a.m. about 3.1 miles southwest of Winston-Salem. USGS said that the other minor earthquakes occurred last Wednesday and last Sunday near Winston-Salem and near Mount Airy. “Right now, these events are very minor,” said Jana Pursley, a geophysicist with the USGS. Right now, maybe. But something hinky is going on down there, and a 1.9 might easily ramp up to a 5.something.

FEUD BETWEEN ILHAN OMAR AND THAT IDIOT LAUREN BOEBERT HEATS UP AGAIN: During an event in her Colorado district, Boebert told the audience about an encounter with Omar in the Capitol, describing another encounter with Omar as “not my first ‘Jihad Squad’ moment,” according to a video posted on Twitter. “I was getting into an elevator with one of my staffers,” Boebert told the laughing crowd. “You know, we’re leaving the Capitol and we’re going back to my office and we get an elevator and I see a Capitol police officer running to the elevator. I see fret all over his face, and he’s reaching, and the door’s shutting, like I can’t open it, like what’s happening. I look to my left, and there she is. Ilhan Omar. And I said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.’ ” On Twitter on Friday, Omar called for Boebert to be disciplined by House leaders. “Saying I am a suicide bomber is no laughing matter,” Omar tweeted. “@GOPLeader and @SpeakerPelosi need to take appropriate action, normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress.” Omar had, earlier on Thursday, said the story was made up and called Boebert a “buffoon.” “Anti-Muslim bigotry isn’t funny & shouldn’t be normalized,” Omar said on Twitter. “Congress can’t be a place where hateful and dangerous Muslims tropes get no condemnation.” She is a buffoon, in hot competition with Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Madison Cawthorn for the stupidest elected official in Washington.