Monday News: Seventeen thousand, seven hundred sixty five


NC'S POSITIVE TEST RATE FOR COVID 19 HAS DROPPED BELOW 5% AGAIN: At least 1,463,410 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 17,765 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday reported 2,609 new COVID-19 cases, down from 3,003 on Thursday. At least 1,693 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday, including 468 adult patients who are being treated in intensive care units, health officials said. On Wednesday, the latest date with available information, 4.4% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Roughly 71% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 66% have been fully vaccinated. Still not enough.

HANNAH-JONES WILL SPEAK AT UNC-WILMINGTON WRITERS CONFERENCE: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones is returning to North Carolina as a keynote speaker for the annual Writers Week event at UNC Wilmington in November. Hannah-Jones will discuss her award-winning work on The 1619 Project, a New York Times Magazine project that reframes the legacy of slavery and places the contributions of Black Americans at the forefront of the country’s history. “The story she tells is both familiar and also absolutely groundbreaking,” UNCW creative writing associate professor Rebecca Lee said. “It surprised me that something that felt so intimate could also be telling the story of the nation.” Hannah-Jones’ work and ramifications of her tenure case will be discussed in her conversation with writer John Jeremiah Sullivan at the Wilmington event. Sullivan is a writer whose work for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker and other publications is often focused on Black history. Sullivan is also involved with the UNCW Office of Community Engagement and Applied Learning, which is helping host and pay for the event. Hoping they live-stream, and it can be embedded here.

ORLANDO'S FIRE CHIEF RESIGNS AFTER DRUNKEN ASSAULT IN CHARLOTTE: The Orlando fire chief has resigned his post citing a legal case where he is accused of punching two people inside a North Carolina restaurant. The Orlando Sentinel reports Fire Department Chief Benjamin Barksdale sent an email to the city’s chief administrative officer saying his decision was for the “best interest” of the city. He resigned Friday. Barksdale is accused of punching a 55-year-old man and his daughter after going inside a restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina, seemingly drunk in late July. Authorities say he demanded to use the bathroom when the business was closed. Barksdale turned himself in after warrants were issued for two misdemeanor assault charges. Barksdale had served as Orlando’s fire chief since September 2019, but he had been suspended with pay in August after the arrest warrants were issued in the July 28 incident.

WHITE SUPREMACISTS FACE LAWSUIT OVER CHARLOTTESVILLE RALLY: As hundreds of white supremacists prepared to descend on Charlottesville in 2017, they hashed out logistics in private chat groups. They suggested a dress code of polo shirts during the day and shirts with swastikas at night. They worried about mayo on sandwiches spoiling in the August heat. And they swapped tips on how to turn ordinary objects into lethal weapons, according to messages cited in court papers. Such detailed planning is central to a lawsuit filed by nine Charlottesville residents who allege physical harm and emotional distress during Unite the Right, the deadly two-day rally where a torch-carrying mob chanting “Jews will not replace us!” awakened the country to a resurgence of far-right extremism. After four years of legal wrangling, a civil trial begins Monday in a federal courtroom in Charlottesville, where a jury will decide whether the organizing of the rally amounted to a conspiracy to engage in racially motivated violence. “Defendants brought with them to Charlottesville the imagery of the Holocaust, of slavery, of Jim Crow, and of fascism,” the plaintiffs say in the complaint. “They also brought with them semi-automatic weapons, pistols, mace, rods, armor, shields, and torches.” The planners’ messages, part of a leaked trove from the group-chat platform Discord, are laced with slurs against Black and Jewish people, along with violent fantasies of cracking skulls and driving into crowds. One meme showed “John Deere’s New Multi-Lane Protester Digestor,” a made-up vehicle to steamroll opponents — a macabre forecast of the car-ramming attack that would kill 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer and injure at least 19 others. Every damn one of them should have their drivers licenses revoked for life, in addition to whatever other punishment the court deems appropriate.

TRUMP LOYALISTS ARE INCREASINGLY ATTACKING PRESIDENT BIDEN: On Wednesday, when the president visited Scranton, Pa., he was greeted at the corner of Biden Street by a woman holding a handmade “F--- Joe Biden” sign, with an American flag as the vowel in the offending word. And back in Boise, Rod Johnson, a retired gunsmith, has hung a blue flag from the roof of his home that reads “F--- Biden.” Underneath, in smaller letters, he added, “And f--- you for voting for him!!” “I’m not the only Republican that doesn’t like Biden,” Johnson, 68, said in an interview, sporting a red “Proud White American” hat and puffing a skinny cigar. “I just chose to show it.” During the 2020 presidential campaign, one of Biden’s political superpowers was his sheer inoffensiveness, the way he often managed to embody — even to those who didn’t like him — the innocuous grandfather, the bumbling uncle, the leader who could make America calm, steady, even boring again after four years of Donald Trump. But it’s clear that after nine months in office, Biden — or at least what he represents — is increasingly becoming an object of hatred to many Trump supporters. The vitriol partly reflects Trump’s own repeated baseless claims that Biden is a usurper, depriving him of his rightful claim to the presidency, and partly stems from Biden actions that Republicans deplore, from his spending plans to his immigration policies. Make no mistake, a lot of this anger stems from how Biden makes Trump look even worse in comparison. The constant daily bragging and lying are conspicuously missing in the new President, and the Trumpers inner shame is making them crazy.