NC'S VACCINATION RATE SEEMS STUCK AT 70%, MANDATES ARE NEEDED: At least 1,446,881 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 17,456 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday reported 3,182 new COVID-19 cases, down from 3,761 on Thursday. At least 2,074 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday, including 564 adult patients who are being treated in intensive care units, health officials said. On Wednesday, the latest date with available information, 6.1% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Gov. Roy Cooper signed the “No Patient Left Alone Act” into law on Friday, which ensures patients are allowed visitors in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice care and adult care homes.
MARK ROBINSON CLAIMS TO CARE ABOUT EVERYBODY: Robinson said during a press conference on Tuesday that his personal views about gay and transgender issues are separate from his role as lieutenant governor. “I will fight every day as lieutenant governor to make sure that people’s Constitutional rights, both state and federal, are protected — even if I disagree with those ... lifestyles on a personal or spiritual level,” he said. Responding to criticism from Democratic lawmakers, Robinson said his comments about children being exposed to “filth” were about books that are available in some public schools. “It doesn’t matter what Democrats say about Mark Robinson, it matters what Republicans say about Mark Robinson,” said Steven Greene, a political science professor at North Carolina State University who studies the role of gender in politics. So far, Republicans haven’t said much. N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore told the News & Observer that he also believed Robinson was referring to books, not to LGBTQ people themselves. You know damn well that wasn't his true intent behind those statements.
CHERI BEASLEY BRINGS HOME THE CAMPAIGN BACON (Not to be confused with pork...well, it is a pork product, but...nevermind): Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley was the top third-quarter fundraiser for candidates in next year’s U.S. Senate race in North Carolina, according to documents filed at Friday’s financial reporting deadline. Beasley’s campaign finance report showed the Democrat brought in more than $1.5 million during the three months ending Sept. 30, compared with just over $900,000 that rival and state Sen. Jeff Jackson told the Federal Election Commission his campaign raised. Former state Sen. Erica Smith's total was well behind the other two Democrats. Among Republicans, the campaigns of U.S. Rep. Ted Budd and former Gov. Pat McCrory reported Friday that they had raised nearly identical amounts -- each a little over $1 million, with McCrory slightly ahead. Budd's total includes a $25,000 loan he made to his campaign. Former U.S. Rep. Mark Walker was well behind both of his main GOP competitors, reporting just $122,000 during the quarter. Just wait 'til after the Primary is over. That's when the big bucks will hit.
LABOR STRIKES ARE TAKING PLACE ALL OVER THE U.S.: While Americans are leaving their jobs at staggering rates — a record 4.3 million quit in August alone — hundreds of thousands of workers with similar grievances about wages, benefits and quality of life are, like Reyes, choosing to dig in and fight. Last week, 10,000 John Deere workers went on strike, while unions representing 31,000 Kaiser employees authorized walkouts. Some 60,000 Hollywood production workers reached a deal Saturday night, averting a strike hours before a negotiation deadline. All told, there have been strikes against 178 employers this year, according to a tracker by Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which records only large work stoppages, has documented 12 strikes involving 1,000 or more workers so far this year. That’s considerably higher than 2020, when the pandemic took hold, but in line with significant strike activity recorded in 2019 and 2018. The trend, union officials and economists say, is an offshoot of the phenomenon known as the Great Resignation, which has thinned the nation’s labor pool and slowed the economic recovery. Workers are now harder to replace, especially while many companies are scrambling to meet heightened demand for their products and manage hobbled supply chains. That has given unions new leverage, and made striking less risky. In interviews, workers and labor leaders said union members are angry with employers for failing to raise pay to match new profits and are disappointed by the lack of high-quality jobs. They also are frustrated that wage growth is not keeping pace with inflation. Although the average U.S. worker’s hourly pay was up 4 percent in September compared with a year ago, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, inflation grew 5.4 percent over the same period.
IT LOOKS LIKE BUBBA IS GOING TO BE JUST FINE: Former president Bill Clinton was discharged from the hospital Sunday, his medical team confirmed, five days after he was admitted for an infection of the bloodstream, a condition known as sepsis. Clinton, 75, was admitted to the University of California at Irvine Medical Center on Tuesday “to receive treatment for a non-Covid-related infection,” his spokesman, Angel Ureña, said in a statement Thursday. On Sunday, Clinton’s fever and white blood cell count were normalized, Alpesh N. Amin, chair of the hospital’s department of medicine, said in a statement. Clinton will return home to New York to finish his course of antibiotics, added Amin, who had been overseeing the team of doctors treating the former president. Clinton was diagnosed with a urological infection that morphed into an infection of the bloodstream, or sepsis, according to a Clinton aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the former president’s medical status. However, Clinton was never in septic shock, a far more serious and life-threatening condition, the aide said. On Friday, Ureña said all of Clinton’s health indicators were “trending in the right direction” and that his white blood cell count had decreased significantly. On Saturday, the spokesman noted that Clinton would remain hospitalized overnight again to continue to receive intravenous antibiotics. Thank goodness.