Checking in

I thought I'd take a minute to check in, see how folks are doing. I've been laying low for quite a while for lots of reasons, mostly involving bad health. It's been tough, especially given the daily insults we're facing from the Tarheel Taliban. And with the Uncle Tom Robinson shit-storm brewing, there's no telling how much evil is on the way. Add in a toxic stain of gerrymandering and we seem to be in for the very worst.

Monday News: Eighteen thousand, six hundred seventy six

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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.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article256081542.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NEW STATE BUDGET IS JUST A START. PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS NEED MUCH MORE: Prior to the Thanksgiving break, North Carolina’s leaders enacted a new state budget for the first time in 3.5 years — at a time when the needs of our state’s 1.5 million public school students are greater than ever. Teacher vacancies and the myriad challenges educators and staff face are significant. Students’ academic, social, and emotional needs are enormous, given a global pandemic that has upended our world order. In spite of these challenges, we continue to have amazing and effective educators, administrators, and staff who give their all every day for students to give them access to a high quality and equitable education. However, we are in the middle of a teacher shortage with a dramatically reduced pipeline; the teaching profession overall has been attacked, and the working conditions of teachers are challenging and dire for many. The serious drop in performance by students due to pandemic measures should have been a wake-up call. Parents are simply not equipped to deal with the challenge, and textbooks and online programs fall short as well. The missing element was the teacher her (or him) self, for which there really is no effective substitute.
https://www.wral.com/mary-ann-wolf-new-state-budget-is-just-a-start-public-school-students-need-much...

Saturday News: Penumbra?

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STATE CONTROLLER GOES TO APPEALS COURT TO STOP LEANDRO FUNDING: State Controller Linda Combs is asking the North Carolina Court of Appeals to throw out a judge’s order requiring her to fund a $1.7 billion plan to fund public schools. In court documents filed Wednesday, Combs’ office argues that Lee lacks the constitutional authority to appropriate funds. She wants the Court of Appeals to vacate Lee’s order and to block it from being enforced while legal arguments are heard. “The plain language of the constitution is clear,” Robert N. Hunter Jr., Combs’ attorney, writes in his legal petition. “There was no reason for the trial court to interpret or find within the penumbra of other more general sections of the Constitution the power to appropriate money in the Judicial Branch.” For those who apparently still don't get it: the NC Supreme Court ruled the state was in violation of its Constitutional responsibility to provide a sound education for our children. Twice. Said Constitution is not partially occluded, it is straightforward, as is the CoA's duty to reject this argument.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article256130037.html

Black Friday alternatives

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As a consumer, you have power, and the responsibility to use that power wisely. Find such outlets and share with your friends, starting with this one:

Benevolence Farm was built on the premise of mercy and sincere belief in second chances. Our program provides a transitional employment and living program for women leaving North Carolina prisons. We recognize that change must come from within, but can be cultivated and inspired through a supportive, natural environment. Our goal is to give our participants the time and space — figuratively and literally — to make real, lasting changes. Our residents develop skills in sustainable farming, small business practices, food preparation and presentation in an environment that fosters improved physical, spiritual and financial health. Residents actively contribute to the well-being of the farm, staking a claim in the program’s — and more importantly their own — success.

Everybody deserves a second chance, and formerly incarcerated women have multiple barriers to overcome. These products are innovative and organically produced by some great women, so spread the word.

Thursday News: Show me your papers, Part 17

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U.S. SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE IF BERGERMOORE CAN DEFEND VOTER ID: In a surprise pre-Thanksgiving order, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Berger v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, stemming from a dispute over a North Carolina voter id law. The dispute is not about the underlying voter id law itself, but about the ability of the state legislature to intervene in defending the law against challenges. This is a fairly common problem we see today where a state executive (governor and/or attorney general) is a Democrat and the state legislature is controlled by Republicans, and there’s a dispute over who gets to speak for the state. Back in 2017, I wrote a Slate piece urging North Carolina’s governor to withdraw a cert. petition over North Carolina’s very strict voter id law after the 4th Circuit struck parts of it (calling them targeted at African-American voters with almost surgical precision). There was then a dispute in the Supreme Court over who gets to speak for North Carolina, and the Court, seeing the dispute, denied cert. Chief Justice Roberts was irked, and issued a statement saying that the denial was because of the dispute, not the merits. Hopefully Roberts will keep his partisan justices under some semblance of control.
https://electionlawblog.org/?p=125974

Wednesday News: It's a long Arc

IDIOT FROM CARY ARRESTED FOR TAKING PART IN INSURRECTION: A 19-year-old man from Cary was arrested Monday for assaulting law enforcement and other crimes during the Jan. 6 riots in which supporters of former President Trump breached the U.S. Capitol. Aiden Henry Bilyard was arrested by federal investigators in Raleigh and was released, the U.S. Department of Justice said Tuesday. Bilyard is charged with physical violence in a restricted building or grounds, civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers with a dangerous weapon among other misdemeanors, according to a news release. The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Bilyard following an investigation of social media accounts with aid from online sleuths, according to Huff Post, who first reported the news. Rule #1 of Insurrection Club: don't talk about Insurrection Club on Facebook. Dumbass.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article256075822.html

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