Saturday News: The high cost of ignorance


COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS IN NC ARE CLOSE TO 2,500: With over 6,600 new COVID cases on Friday, North Carolina has averaged 5,182 new cases per day over the past week, the highest rate since early February when the pandemic was just coming down from its winter peak. At the beginning of July, the seven-day average was below 300. As of Friday, 2,483 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 statewide, the 34th consecutive day that number has increased. A quarter of those patients, 635, are being treated in intensive care units. A week ago there were 424 adult COVID patients statewide in ICU, a number that has since grown by nearly 50%. Among the tests reported Wednesday, the latest data available, 11.6% returned positive. The rate has been over 10% for 12 straight days.

KEITH KIDWELL'S WIFE IS ONE OF THOSE HOSPITALIZED: Rep. Keith Kidwell, R-Beaufort has posted on Facebook that his wife Viki is very ill with COVID. In a post dated Tuesday and updated Thursday, Kidwell writes that his wife is in Beaufort Hospital. “Thursday morning. They've been able to lower her oxygen a little. She was complaining about the food today, so I guess that means she's improving. Please continue to pray for her," he posted. "This morning not so good news," an earlier update reads. "They've added a new emergency medicine. Please continue to pray for my love." Kidwell is the main sponsor of bills that would limit the governor's emergency powers, ban the governor from mandating vaccines by executive order and bar state agencies from requiring the shots for licensing purposes. In prior Facebook posts, Kidwell has decried “vaccine passports,” employer mandates, mask requirements, and efforts to get more people vaccinated, calling vaccine campaigns “manipulation.”

WAKE GOP PLANS TO CENSURE TWO OF ITS OWN FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING: The Wake County Republican Party plans to censure two school board members who supported requiring that face masks be worn in schools — highlighting the political divide over the issue. Both Carter and Cash cited county health COVID-19 quarantine requirements for their decision to require masking. Without a mask requirement, Cash said any students exposed to a classmate who tested positive for COVID-19 would be required to quarantine at home for 14 days. Last fall, the Wake GOP had endorsed Carter and Cash. The other seven members of the nine-person school board are all registered Democrats. “I’m being told we don’t want politics to play a role in this decision,” Cash said in an interview. “The fact that they’re upset with me because I’m a Republican and I didn’t vote the way they wanted is confusing.” I'm confused about your confusion. Like most GOP orgs, Wake has chosen to oppose common-sense measures to curb the pandemic, and there's simply no way you were not aware of that.

LOUIS DEJOY BOUGHT A QUARTER MILLION IN BONDS FROM POSTAL BOARD CHAIR: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy purchased up to $305,000 in bonds from an investment firm whose managing partner also chairs the U.S. Postal Service’s governing board, the independent body responsible for evaluating DeJoy’s performance. Between October and April, DeJoy purchased 11 bonds from Brookfield Asset Management each worth between $1,000 and $15,000, or $15,000 and $50,000, according to DeJoy’s financial disclosure paperwork. Ron Bloom, a Brookfield senior executive who manages the firm’s private equity division, has served on the postal board since 2019 and was elected its chairman in February. Other elements of DeJoy’s financial ties have drawn close examination from ethics watchdogs. DeJoy-controlled companies lease four office buildings to global shipping behemoth XPO Logistics, DeJoy’s former company. XPO pays DeJoy more than $2 million annually in rent, The Washington Post previously reported. Brookfield also owns more than $500,000 in shares of XPO, according to its securities filings. “I’m stuck on DeJoy’s purchase of bonds from the company in which his quasi-boss is a managing partner,” said Kathleen Clark, a law professor who studies government ethics at Washington University in St. Louis, “because I wonder whether it affects Bloom’s ability to protect the public interest in his assessment of DeJoy’s performance as postmaster general.” When you pull something from the fridge and it smells bad, do you eat in anyway because proof of its badness is not overwhelming? That's a rhetorical question...

WHITE CHILDREN MAKE UP LESS THAN HALF OF POPULATION UNDER 18: No racial or ethnic group dominates for those under age 18, and white people declined in numbers for the first time on record in the overall U.S. population as the Hispanic and Asian populations boomed this past decade, according to the 2020 census data. The figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau offered the most detailed portrait yet of how the country has changed since 2010 and will also be instrumental in redrawing the nation's political maps. The data offered a mirror not only into the demographic changes of the past decade, but also a glimpse of the future. To that end, they showed there is now no majority racial or ethnic group for people younger than 18, as the share of non-Hispanic whites in the age group dropped from 53.5% to 47.3% over the decade. The share of the white population fell from 63.7% in 2010 to 57.8% in 2020, the lowest on record, driven by falling birthrates among white women compared with Hispanic and Asian women. The number of non-Hispanic white people shrank from 196 million in 2010 to 191 million. Note: Even though we have the most diverse Congress in history, it's still 77% white, 20 percentage points higher than it should be.