Thursday News: Tick-tock...


REPUBLICANS RUNNING OUT OF TIME TO COMPLY WITH LEANDRO: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper pushed Tuesday for a multi-billion dollar plan to increase school funding as a state judge is considering whether to try to force lawmakers to fund the proposal. State Superior Court Judge David Lee has given state lawmakers an Oct. 18 deadline to fully fund the next two years of a plan that calls for at least $5.6 billion in new education funding by 2028. Republican lawmakers have balked at the court order, but Cooper said major new state investments in education funding are needed now. “We have a comprehensive plan,” Cooper told the Governor’s Commission on Access To A Sound Basic Education. “We have the support of the majority of the people of this state, and we have a court order. So now it’s time for us to work to implement that plan.” Bad water, mold, ancient heating and air systems. People would refuse to go to work under those conditions. Come on.

SOMETIMES "OWNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS" CAN LEAD TO TRUFFLES TROUBLES: A Moore County couple has been convicted of tax evasion after they used employee withholding taxes and other funds from a Pinehurst surgical practice to fund the wife's truffle business and pay for other expenses. Dr. James Rice owns and operates Pinehurst-based Sandhills Orthopaedic, and his wife, Susan Rice, handles its administrative operations. The couple didn't file tax returns from 2014 to 2016, and between 2007 and 2016, they also used $580,000 in employee Social Security and other withholding taxes on personal expenses, authorities said. To conceal their income, the Rices transferred at least $1 million from Sandhills Orthopaedic’s bank accounts to other accounts that they controlled, such as those for Susan Rice’s truffle business, authorities said. The Rices also used their business bank accounts to fund personnel expenditures, including a country-club membership, dog kennel boarding and rent for their personal residence, authorities said. For some reason my stomach growled when reading the words "rice" and "truffles"

UNC-CHAPEL HILL STILL HAS A BIG COAL PROBLEM: Community and student environmental activists met Friday in the Pit to protest the University's coal plant — the Cogeneration Facility — demanding that UNC leadership transition away from unsustainable energy sources. Organized by UNC first-years Margot Francini, Ember Penney and Sarah Zhang, the “NO COAL UNC!” demonstration was part of Fridays For Future, a global climate strike movement. Francini, a public policy and environmental health sciences double major, said hundreds of other climate strikes happened the same day around the globe. The demonstration featured three speakers who each addressed different issues surrounding the environment and climate change. Hongbin Gu, a Chapel Hill town council member and faculty member in the UNC School of Medicine, said in her speech that it is unacceptable that UNC has delayed shutting down its coal plant because the climate crisis is already here. Gu is currently a candidate for Chapel Hill's mayor. “It’s not a hypothesis, it’s not a prediction," Gu said. "It’s going on right now." This isn't 1981, it's 2021. Some of the brightest minds in the world are there, fix this.

RED CROSS IS IN DESPERATE NEED OF BLOOD DONORS: The American Red Cross desperately needs more blood donors. On Monday, the American Red Cross said it is experiencing an emergency blood and platelet shortage. All blood types are needed, especially type O and platelet donors. Anyone who donates through Sept. 30 will receive a limited-edition, football-inspired Red Cross T-shirt plus a free haircut coupon from Sport Clips. People who donate in October can get free Zaxby's or a free $5 gift card. According to the American Red Cross, a sharp drop in blood donor turnout has contributed to the lowest post-summer blood inventory level in six years, with less than a day’s supply of certain blood types in recent weeks. You can make a donation by visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

DANG IT, BUT I DO LIKE GENERAL MARK MILLEY: President Biden’s top military adviser told lawmakers Wednesday that the Afghanistan war was lost through a series of pivotal decisions spanning the last four presidential administrations, offering his latest defense of the commander in chief whose order to end the 20-year campaign and the treacherous evacuation that followed have come under withering scrutiny on Capitol Hill. “It wasn’t lost in the last 20 days or even 20 months. There’s a cumulative effect to a series of strategic decisions that go way back,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley told the House Armed Services Committee during a rancorous hearing that further underscored the deep partisan split following last month’s deadly exit from Kabul. Milley’s testimony came a day after he and another key figure in the American exit from Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command commander Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, told a Senate panel that the war had been a “strategic failure” but that Biden was within his right to dismiss their counsel that a complete military withdrawal would hasten the Taliban’s takeover. Throughout Wednesday’s hearing, Republicans and Democrats sparred over the question of whether America’s leaders — particularly Biden — were honest with the public about their projections for Afghanistan. At one point, the session devolved into an argument over who was to blame for the war’s messy end game — during which 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide strike outside the Kabul airport and hundreds of U.S. citizens were left behind.