The Trust deficit that is plaguing America

I recently posted in a Facebook group dedicated to politics about the judge's decision to open up the churches, and one of the commenters asked where all the attacks on Governor Cooper's pandemic restrictions were coming from. I explained about the upcoming election, including Dan Forest's dismal poll numbers, and that has definitely played a role in the visible pushback. Forest is connected to both the ReopenNC people and the Return America group that filed the lawsuit.

But in order to really understand why these (and many other) people are primed to defy common-sense government actions, we need to delve into the trust deficit that has been building for decades. Follow me below the fold if you can trust me to not mislead you:

Will reopening of NC’s universities in the fall be safe?

As North Carolina into a Phase 2 reopening plan, even as the number of COVID-19 cases are increasing in the state, universities are trying to decide what they’ll be doing this Fall. Will students return? Only some students? Will all classes be online? Only larger classes? How will they keep faculty, staff, and students safe?

In an online Board of Governors meeting, the UNC System’s president, Bill Roper, said he expects a return to campus by students in the fall and they’ll be finalizing guidance to the system’s 17 institutions by the end of the month. According to an email newsletter from IndyWeek, UNC-Chapel Hill may announce their fall plans as early as tomorrow. In a university-wide Zoom call yesterday, the administration announced a mix of instruction, with students wearing masks and in-person class sizes reduced.

Colleges and universities are unique institutions, bringing together a large population from around the country and even internationally in common spaces such as dorms, eating areas, research labs, and libraries. Some have working hospitals and medical clinics attached to them. The impacts of a contagious virus breakout wouldn’t be isolated to the campus - a university is part of the city or town surrounding it, where faculty, staff, and students live and mingle with the larger population. Think about the Tyson chicken processing plant outbreak in Wilkesboro and how that has spread COVID-19 to the surrounding community and across county lines.

It’s a complex issue to sort out. We have a large number of colleges and universities in all parts of the state, many part of the larger UNC system and others that are private secular and religious colleges.

If you aren’t paying attention to this debate and what universities are planning for the fall, you should be.

Thursday News: Chicken fever

bluenccup-1[1]_0.jpg

570 WORKERS AT WILKESBORO TYSON PLANT TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID 19: Of the 570, most did not show any symptoms and “would not have been identified” if it weren’t for the facility-wide test, Tyson said. More than 2,000 were tested between May 6 and 9, according to the company. Earlier this month, Tyson temporarily closed the poultry plant for cleaning and sanitizing in response to an outbreak, The News & Observer reported. The company wouldn’t say at the time how many employees were infected with coronavirus. Wilkes County officials said that the majority of COVID-19 cases in the county were linked to the Tyson facility, the outlet reported. Production has since continued and is expected to “ramp up,” the Wednesday statement said, and new safety measures have been put in place -- including temperature screenings, face masks, and physical barriers at workstations and break rooms.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article242884456.html

Living and dying for poverty wages during a pandemic

I hope you enjoy that Quarter Pounder with Cheese:

Bergeron-Lawrence described how her poverty wages and lack of access to paid sick leave had recently compelled her to go to work — despite battling a nagging and undiagnosed respiratory illness, where she was assigned to the drive-thru window — interacting with 50 to 80 people per hour. But what seemed to evoke the most anger and emotion in Bergeron-Lawrence was when she described how the McDonald’s corporate offices had brought in and distributed a shipment of “lovely little pins” to the restaurant employees that read “I am essential.”

As Barber observed, the pins constituted a pathetic and maddening token from a multi-national corporation that pays its front-line workers $10 an hour.

That $10 is about $4.70 per hour short of what she needs to pay rent and other bills, and that's not including food. She's probably getting $160 or so in food stamps per month, unless her second job (to finish paying rent) pushed her over the limit ($1,354 gross per month). And before you try to scribble some numbers, there is no way to make that work. You just can't. $15 per hour is not a "dream" wage, it's a survival wage.

Wednesday News: How about "No."

pipeline.jpg

DOMINION WANTS TO RUN GAS PIPELINE ALONG AMERICAN TOBACCO TRAIL: “What you’ll have is kind of a skinny canopy along the trail, rather than trees that go back 9 or 10 deep,” Devereux said in an interview. “It’s going to change the character of the trail markedly for a while during construction, and then the long-term change to the canopy will not be a plus.” Devereux learned of the potential use of the trail corridor for the pipeline only last week and posted an item about it on the conservancy’s Facebook page Tuesday afternoon. Dave Connelly, a long-time trail advocate and user in Durham, soon sent an email to several Triangle government officials asking how such a potentially disruptive project could have gotten this far unnoticed. “It’s incredible that neither NCDOT nor the Board of Transportation thought to mention this to people who use the ATT,” Connelly wrote. “If someone wanted to plant a pipeline on the North Carolina Railroad corridor, do you think NCRR would not mention it to Norfolk Southern?”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article242837121.html

Cosplay During Covid - Republicans in the legislature are having a good laugh

Today, there are a million North Carolinians out of work. Hundreds are dead, tens of thousands are sick, and the ghastly toll of the COVID-19 disaster has scarcely begun to be calculated. We know some things for sure: thousands are going to die, many of them our parents and grandparents. The trauma — economic, psychological and otherwise — from this crisis will linger for decades.

And at this defining moment in our state’s history, the Republican majority in the NC General Assembly decided to have some good laughs.

Tuesday News: Bad leadership

napoleon.jpg

GOP COUNTY COMMISSIONER OPENS RESTAURANT FOR DINE-IN CUSTOMERS: Carrol Dean Mitchem, the Republican chairman of the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners, was charged Monday with violating N.C. Executive Order 138, which bans on-site food consumption during the pandemic. Mitchem is known for taking controversial stands on the board of commissioners, including saying prayers from non-Christian religions are unwelcome at the county’s government meetings, WBTV reported in 2015. His restaurant was one of two cited Monday for violating the executive order. The Rise ‘n Shine Cafe in Asheville was issued a citation for what police called “persistent non-compliance to the public health order,” McClatchy News reported. Police said they received three complaints that the cafe was allowing people to dine inside.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article242833081.html

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed