Friday News: Planned outbreak


RNC LETTER TO COOPER DOES NOT MENTION MASKS OR SOCIAL DISTANCING: Cooper’s office said Thursday evening that the letter doesn’t constitute a plan. “We are still waiting for a plan from the RNC, but our office will work with state health officials to review the letter and share a response tomorrow,” said Sadie Weiner, Cooper’s communications director. Convention organizers are asking Cooper to approve several preliminary safety protocols, including daily online health care questionnaires, pre-travel healthy surveys, thermal scans of all mandatory attendees prior to boarding sanitized, pre-arranged transportation and health checks before attendees can enter the arena. It does not mention social distancing or face coverings, which have been used to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. With Cooper’s approval, RNC officials will further develop a detailed plan for the convention.

To serve and protect: AG Josh Stein sues Trump over vehicle emissions

Sometimes you have to fight to preserve progress:

The lawsuit argues that the final Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) rule stops progress that has been made to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, hurts the economy, and harms public health.

“The Trump administration’s new rule undoes hard-earned progress to protect our health, environment, and economy,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “As Attorney General, I will fight to uphold the law and safeguard the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

"Hard-earned progress" is right on the money. The U.S. Supreme Court had to (literally) order George W. Bush's EPA to regulate vehicle emissions in 2007, and they fiddled around until Obama's EPA started genuinely working on it. But here's the kicker: auto makers responded to both the emissions regulations and CAFE Standards (MPG), and vast improvements were made in both areas. Traffic still backs up around LA, but most of the smog is gone. In other words, everybody's happy, except the anti-government ideologues. This is what we're dealing with:

Thursday News: It rolls uphill, sometimes


LEADERSHIP SHAKEUP AT DIVISION OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY: Gov. Roy Cooper's administration changed out the top leader in the state's unemployment office Wednesday in a surprise announcement. Assistant Secretary for the Division of Employment Security Lockhart Taylor, a career employee at DES, is out. Pryor Gibson, a former lawmaker who had been directing a rural development program for the administration, is the new assistant secretary, effective immediately. Taylor will "assume a different role at the Department of Commerce with separate duties and responsibilities," Secretary of Commerce Tony Copeland said in a news release announcing the change. WRAL News is seeking more information on what precipitated the move. All the governor's press office had to say on the matter Wednesday was that "the governor has directed the Department of Commerce to take actions necessary to address this unprecedented crisis and get more unemployment benefits faster to people who need help now."

Day 70

Our daughter is home for a while, so we're having to work through how to "be" together. What's safe? What's ridiculous? Hard stuff. We don't think she's been exposed, but you never know. She has no symptoms and testing is inconclusive (and painful). Figuring it all out isn't as easy as "do this" and "don't do that."

One thing I wonder about is masks, which seem central to Covid 19 containment.

Burr remains the primary focus of insider trading probe


You three can leave, not so fast Dick:

The Justice Department has closed investigations into stock trading by Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, according to people familiar with notifications sent to the senators. The senators came under scrutiny for transactions made in the weeks before the coronavirus sent markets downhill.

The developments indicate that federal law enforcement officials are narrowing their focus in the stock investigation to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C, the former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman. Agents showed up at his Washington-area home about two weeks ago with a warrant to search his cellphone.

I have a theory about what is going on, backed up more by intuition than hard facts, so it's grain of salt time: Burr's last act as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee was to turn over the report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to the intel community itself, so they could decide which parts need to be classified for national security purposes. The fact the DOJ is still holding onto Burr over the insider trading tells me they don't know what's in the report he turned over. Barr's move to exonerate Michael Flynn proves he doesn't give a rodent's posterior about actual crimes, and that he believes the DOJ's major function is to protect Trump. When the de-classified version of Burr's report comes out, he will either remain under investigation or that investigation will be dropped, depending on how bad the report makes Trump (or his pal Putin) look. Film at eleven.

Wednesday News: Here we go again


GYM OWNERS TO FILE LAWSUIT SO THEY CAN REOPEN: Local gym owners plan to file a lawsuit against Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday. Many gym owners say being kept closed is unconstitutional and harmful, not helpful. Robin Gardner-Smith and Ed Smith, who own about a dozen Fit4Life health clubs across the state, are among the plaintiffs in the pending lawsuit. They maintain that the state's restrictions are unconstitutional, violating their right to earn a living. Cooper and NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said they’re trying to prevent a spike in the number of cases, but gym owners say it's not fair to pick and choose which businesses can open. Regardless of the outcome of the gym lawsuit, Smith and his wife said they plan to reopen Fit4Life next Monday. Other gym owners have already reopened, based on videos and statements posted on social media.


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