Monday News: Sixteen thousand, six hundred five

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NC JUST SHY OF 70% WITH AT LEAST ONE DOSE OF VACCINE: At least 1,400,217 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 16,605 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday reported 4,963 new COVID-19 cases, up from 4,765 on Thursday. At least 2,882 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday, including 795 adult patients who are being treated in intensive care units, health officials said. Before Thursday, the state hadn’t reported fewer than 3,000 daily hospitalizations since Aug. 18, The News & Observer reported. On Wednesday, the latest date with available information, 7.9% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Most Charlotte-area employers are in favor of President Joe Biden’s call for businesses with more than 100 workers to mandate COVID-19 vaccines, a new survey finds. That's what leadership is meant to be.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article254691847.html

TEXAS ABORTION LAW BRINGS OUT PROTESTERS IN NORTH CAROLINA: People rallied in 700 cities across the country on Saturday, including gatherings in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte. In Raleigh, roughly 1,000 people filled with Bicentennial Plaza for the 'Rally for Abortion Justice.' The demonstration included speakers and a march during the national day of action. The rally was part of a larger Nationwide Women's March, which is a response to SB 8 in Texas, which organizers say, "essentially outlaws abortion in the state by empowering private citizens with $10,000 bounties to file devastating lawsuits against abortion providers and anyone 'aiding and abiding' an abortion." In a release sent ahead of the rallies, organizers said, "SB 8 is not only an attack on abortion rights, but an attack on affordable healthcare services for working class people, who will lose access to free and low-cost reproductive healthcare if abortion providers are forced to close due to costly legal battles. Restrictions on abortions do not stop abortions from happening; they only increase the number of life threatening abortions." They better not try that mess here, or Moral Mondays will seem like a cricket match.
https://www.wral.com/hundreds-march-for-women-s-reproductive-rights-abortion-justice-in-downtown-ral...

TRANSGENDER PRISONER FACES MORE DANGER AFTER SPEAKING TO REPORTER: On Sept. 14, The N&O reported that Inscoe said she faced daily harassment, both verbal and physical, and sexual assault at the prison. Emancipate NC had begun a petition to pressure DPS officials to move Inscoe to a women’s prison. The group was also threatening legal action. On Thursday, Emancipate NC lawyer Elizabeth Simpson, who represents Inscoe, told The N&O that after publication, prison officials confronted Inscoe with the article in hand and asked her to sign an incident report saying she felt safe. Simpson confronted prison officials about the incident in an email to their general counsel. Simpson provided to The N&O the back-and-forth between herself and the counselors. “Ms. Inscoe reported that she was afraid of being sent to protective custody, if she did not comply, where she would lose all property and privileges, and be subjected to inhumane solitary confinement conditions,” Simpson wrote. “Thus, she felt coerced into writing that she is ‘safe,’ even though she is not safe in that facility. DPS needs to get its shit together before this turns tragic.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article254649472.html

PANDORA PAPERS EXPOSE THE OFTEN CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR OF THE WEALTHY: A massive trove of private financial records shared with The Washington Post exposes vast reaches of the secretive offshore system used to hide billions of dollars from tax authorities, creditors, criminal investigators and — in 14 cases involving current country leaders — citizens around the world. The revelations include more than $100 million spent by King Abdullah II of Jordan on luxury homes in Malibu, Calif., and other locations; millions of dollars in property and cash secretly owned by the leaders of the Czech Republic, Kenya, Ecuador and other countries; and a waterfront home in Monaco acquired by a Russian woman who gained considerable wealth after she reportedly had a child with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other disclosures hit closer to home for U.S. officials and other Western leaders who frequently condemn smaller countries whose permissive banking systems have been exploited for decades by looters of assets and launderers of dirty money. The files provide substantial new evidence, for example, that South Dakota now rivals notoriously opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean in financial secrecy. Tens of millions of dollars from outside the United States are now sheltered by trust companies in Sioux Falls, some of it tied to people and companies accused of human rights abuses and other wrongdoing. The details are contained in more than 11.9 million financial records that were obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and examined by The Post and other partner news organizations. The files include private emails, secret spreadsheets, clandestine contracts and other records that unlock otherwise impenetrable financial schemes and identify the individuals behind them. Kristi Noem has a lot to answer for in allowing (benefiting from?) this.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/interactive/2021/pandora-papers-offshore-finance/?itid=hp-to...

MAJOR PHARMACIES DRAGGED TO COURT OVER RECKLESS DISPENSING OF OPIOIDS: The counties in a blue-collar, manufacturing region of Ohio claim CVS, Walgreens, Giant Eagle and Walmart failed to stop mass quantities of opioid drugs from reaching the black market, fueling hundreds of overdose deaths amid one of the worst public health crises in the nation’s history. The long-awaited federal trial before U.S. District Judge Dan Polster is the first against the pharmacies since scores of cities, counties, Native American tribes and other plaintiffs have sued the companies in a complex, sprawling multidistrict litigation. The defendants have denied wrongdoing, saying they were merely carrying out authorized prescriptions. “It’s important for these two communities to have an opportunity to tell their story, to let the jury and the public know the role that the pharmacies have as it relates to this epidemic,” said Frank L. Gallucci, a lead attorney for the Ohio counties. “Their involvement is necessary for the abatement of it, not just in these two communities but across the country as a whole.” The setting of the trial is especially grim: Overdose deaths in 2021 are set to eclipse the toll tallied when the case was filed about three years ago, Gallucci said. Nationwide, overdose deaths involving opioids reached 69,710 in 2020, a share of the more than 500,000 opioid overdose deaths since 1999. While prescription dispensing has tapered with stricter enforcement, heroin and synthetic fentanyl have contributed to an increasing number of deaths. That's 191 deaths per day last year.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/10/03/pharmacies-federal-opioid-trial/

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Two Mondays ago the death toll

was 15,615. Almost a thousand dead in just two weeks. I don't want to hear any crap about personal freedom and government tyranny, or how only 1.2 percent are dying. That's 120,000 people out of NC's 10 million. Just typing that made me want to punch somebody....