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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


END THE COURTROOM DELAY TACTICS. FUND EDUCATION EQUITY ORDER NOW: Twenty-eight years. Countless hours of courtroom hearings and debates. Thousands of pages of legal pleadings. Mounds of data. Two landmark North Carolina Supreme Court decisions. What does it take to get a government -- that is supposed to represent the people; one where elected officials in the three branches of government take oaths to uphold the State Constitution -- to fulfill that Constitution’s promise of access to a sound, quality education for every child? Significant pluralities agree with the courts determination that the state isn’t living up to its Constitutional duty according to the latest WRAL-TV poll – 50% of those who say they voted for Donald Trump; 51% of rural voters and even 45% of Republicans. Sixty-two percent of North Carolinians say public schools are under funded including 59% of Republicans and 63% of rural voters. Additionally, 66% of North Carolinians say teachers are underpaid – including 66% of Republicans. For too long, access to a quality education had depended on where you lived and who your parents were. That is NOT what North Carolina’s Constitution intended. If state revenues were suffering or even stagnant Republicans might have an excuse for delays, but it's just the opposite. They're sitting on billions in surplus, revenues already collected. They could fully fund Leandro and *still* have a healthy rainy-day fund, but children don't make campaign contributions. That's the problem in a nutshell.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


FACE THE FACTS, OBEY THE COURT. ALL NC KIDS DESERVE A QUALITY EDUCATION: Only eight of the 51 items listed as related to the Comprehensive Plan received full funding and just 12 more got partial funding, according to the detailed accounting from the Budget Office. That means 31 of the initiatives that were supposed to be implemented over the next two years were ignored. No matter the view - looking at the number of programs recommended compared to those adopted or the resources needed to fully implement the order versus what was appropriated – the conclusion still comes out the same. North Carolina’s legislators failed the promise they made to uphold the state Constitution they all swore an oath to keep. It remains a mystery why the state’s legislative leaders have been so intractable in the refusal to obey the court’s order. It is not a question of resources – it’s estimated there’s $4.25 billion in unappropriated savings reserves in the budget that was passed – more than enough to fully implement the first two years of the plan. It's not that big of a mystery; NC's Republicans have waged a war on public schools for more than a decade, while bending over backwards to promote charters and (mostly religious) private schools. For them, failing public schools is a feature, not a flaw.

Friday News: Ruh-roh, Relroy


NC STATE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION LOOKING INTO MARK MEADOWS' VOTER FRAUD: The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations that a former Trump aide who once represented North Carolina in Congress may have committed voter fraud. Nazneen Ahmed, spokeswoman for Attorney General Josh Stein’s office, confirmed the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after the New Yorker first reported that the former congressman, who represented North Carolina’s westernmost district, registered to vote in September 2020 using an address he had never visited. Ahmed said Stein’s office received a request from Macon County District Attorney Ashley Welch that the Department of Justice’s Special Prosecutions Sections assume her role in this matter, and the DOJ agreed. Break out the popcorn. Seriously, I'm hungry, but anything that takes more than 3 minutes 15 seconds (that is the optimum popping time) it too much work.

Thursday News: Thanks, John

GOVERNOR KASICH SETS A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR BERGERMOORE: Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich made an impassioned plea to North Carolina lawmakers to expand Medicaid, making an explicitly moral case for increasing access to health care. Kasich, a Republican who also served in the U.S. House and ran for president in 2016, spoke via video Tuesday afternoon to a legislative committee studying health care access and Medicaid expansion. “When you die and go to heaven, you’re going to see St. Peter, and St. Peter is not going to ask you, ‘Did you balance the budget?’ He’s going to ask you what did you do for the least of those,” Kasich said, recounting a conversation he had with the Ohio House speaker. “And that’s how I feel about it. And what I would say to the fine members of the legislature of North Carolina, to the people of North Carolina, is there’s a lot of people who need a lot of help." Refusing to expand Medicaid is pure obstinacy, with a side of racism. And not just because it was Obama's idea, but because a whole lot of those in the income gap are people of color. Just do it.

Wednesday News: Unacceptable, but not unexpected


AUDIT OF NC'S UNEMPLOYMENT PAYOUTS REVEALS UNNECESSARY PANDEMIC SUFFERING: State Auditor Beth Wood's office found only 60% of the 3.67 million initial payments across eight programs valued at $1.2 billion were sent within the federal government's standards for timeliness. And 32% of the first payments — totaling $342 million — were not issued within 30 days, the report said. In all, $11.6 billion in unemployment benefits were issued during the 15-month period reviewed. Coronavirus lockdowns began in March 2020. Despite the “unprecedented" rise in benefit claims during the pandemic, the division wasn't “prepared for economic downturns that will inevitably occur,” auditors wrote. We covered this pretty regularly at the time, so it's not a big surprise. And considering $11,600 million was payed out over the whole period, that $342 million shakes out to be about 3%. It shouldn't have happened, but we shouldn't be freaking out about it, either.

Monday News: Twenty two thousand, nine hundred twenty two


COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS IN NC DROP BELOW 1,000: At least 2,606,754 coronavirus cases have been reported in North Carolina, and at least 22,922 people have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday, March 11, reported 1,849 new COVID-19 cases, up from 1,783 the day before. An additional 30 coronavirus-related deaths were added to the total. At least 960 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of March 11, a drop from 1,012 the day before. The last time fewer than 1,000 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 was July 25, 2021. 182 adults were being treated in intensive care units as of March 10, health officials said. As of March 8, the latest date with available information, 3% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. A lot of good developments, but I can't help but wonder when the next viral shoe will drop.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


BLACK WOMEN ARE NOT ANGRY. THEY JUST WANT YOU TO LISTEN: Listening is an important communication skill with the power to build deep and meaningful human connections. It is valuable when working with marginalized communities, particularly those that have been historically excluded from adequate healthcare. I like the Merriam Webster definition of listening as an intransitive verb: "to hear something with thoughtful attention." To hear and understand Black patients requires listening with thoughtful attention. This allows for the building of trust and stronger relationships, which is important for a population with a high historical level of mistrust in the healthcare system. By listening thoughtfully, a healthcare worker demonstrates respect to the patient. It creates a safe space that empowers patients to share without fear of judgment or neglect. Listening with thoughtful attention makes room for empathy and a better understanding of the context in which those words are shared. It helps us act according to the needs of our patients. It makes room for cultural humility and combats the harmful stereotypes that Black women are angry, crazy, or aggressive. And considering pregnant Black women are 2.5 times more likely to die (than white women) from complications related to their pregnancy in the U.S., their concerns are justified.

Saturday News: First in Racism


BLACK STUDENTS IN NC SEE SPIKE IN HARASSMENT FROM WHITES: In February, extra police were stationed at East Wake High School in Wendell after a threat on social media used the N-word and said they’d “discuss how to get rid of all blacks at east wake.” In February, a social media post showed four Black basketball players from Knightdale High School in the target of a sniper’s cross hairs, and one player hanging from a noose. It led to the cancellation of a basketball game between Knightdale and Raleigh’s Millbrook High. In December 2021, the Johnston County school system announced that its law firm would investigate allegations that Black students were bullied at Princeton High School. Some Black students have publicly talked about white classmates calling them the N-word, telling them to pick cotton and threatening to beat them up. But the Confederate flag is not about racism, it's about heritage! Bullshit.

Thursday News: Driving without a brain...


MADDY CAWTHORN BUSTED FOR DRIVING WITHOUT A LICENSE: The North Carolina State Highway Patrol charged U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn last week with driving while his license was revoked. Cawthorn faces the charge after a traffic stop in Cleveland County on March 3, according to Sgt. Chris Knox, a patrol spokesman. Around 10:26 p.m., a trooper saw a 2019 Toyota drive left of center on U.S. 74B and pulled the vehicle over, Knox said in a written statement to McClatchy. Knox told McClatchy that he can’t comment on why Cawthorn’s license has been revoked because that information is protected under a federal law, the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act. That doesn't seem to stop right-wingers from obtaining criminal/traffic information about black people shot by cops. But PWBs (Privileged White Boys) are different, I guess.


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