Tuesday News: King Rat

ROBIN HAYES SET TO THROW CO-CONSPIRATORS UNDER THE BUS: Under a deal with federal prosecutors, North Carolina’s former state Republican chairman could testify against other defendants in the state’s largest-ever case of political bribery. Robin Hayes would plead guilty to a single felony count of lying to the FBI under the deal. He’s scheduled to formally enter his guilty plea in federal court Wednesday. The plea agreement calls for Hayes to cooperate with prosecutors. That includes testifying against his co-defendants. Hayes, a former member of Congress, was one of four men indicted last March on multiple charges of conspiracy and bribery. Also indicted were Durham businessman Greg Lindberg — one of the GOP’s biggest campaign contributors — and two associates, John Gray and John Palermo. All four pleaded not guilty at the time.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article235624037.html

Rep. Carla Cunningham: Congressional inaction on DSH program will hurt North Carolina hospitals

While our representatives in Washington debate the nuances of broader healthcare policy, uninsured Americans are still turning to local hospitals to access basic care, and these hospitals are still on the hook for covering those costs. But if Congress doesn’t act immediately, funding for the program that helps keep these hospitals open will lapse, affecting dozens of hospitals across North Carolina and the thousands of people who rely on them.

The enduring shame of Senator Thom Tillis

A columnist in today's New York Times had this to say:

To the Republican members of the United States Senate:

You have always told us that you believe in the distinctive greatness of the United States of America. “America is different,” as Senator Marco Rubio has said. Ben Sasse likes to say that “America is an idea” — a commitment to universal dignity over brute power. You have also told us that you went into politics to serve a higher purpose. Well, your moment has arrived.

The president of the United States is betraying his oath of office in the most fundamental way, by using the presidency for personal gain at the country’s expense. He has corrupted our foreign policy with grubby attempts to help himself that his own White House staff immediately recognized as improper. He is telling the world that America does not, in fact, stand for any higher ideal. Can you for a moment imagine the icons of your party, like Ronald Reagan or Dwight Eisenhower, risking the security of a country threatened by Russia, for the sake of smearing a political rival?

President Trump must go, and you — only you — have the power to make it happen.

What's remarkable about the column is that it mentions a half-dozen Senators by name, Senators who, the columnist hopes, will have a sense of duty to country. Neither North Carolina Senator made the list.

Rural healthcare crisis: NC loses another maternity ward

It's long past time for the state to step in:

The Quorum Health hospital announced in a press release earlier this month that it was discontinuing labor and delivery services effective Oct. 21 “to better meet the community’s long-term needs.” With birth centers at three Vidant facilities in a 35-mile radius — in Washington, Tarboro and Greenville — the hospital said, pregnant women in the region still have options.

An EMT by training, Bullock said it wasn’t that simple. Every minute matters in labor, she said, and longer trips to a hospital could pose risks to mothers and their babies. “Anything can happen in 35 minutes,” she added. “I mean, anything can happen in five minutes. It’s just like a blink of an eye and you can lose both lives.”

To say this is unsettling would be an understatement. There are already huge geographic gaps in maternity care in Rural NC, and economics has played a major role in that deterioration. There are 100 counties in our state, with only 80 maternity wards to serve them. And 50 of those wards are located in urban centers (mostly I-40/85 Corridor):

Monday News: Public corruption does not pay

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JUDGE ORDERS FORMER BUNCOMBE MANAGER TO START SERVING TIME: Multiple media organizations report that U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad on Friday denied a request by both prosecutors and lawyers to delay the sentence for former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene. Conrad says the 68-year-old Greene was at the heart of a corruption scheme by local officials dating back to 2007, and it's time for her to go to prison. Prosecutors said they wanted Greene nearby as she helps with the investigation and prosecution of other county officials and contractors. Three other county officials are charged with accepting gifts in exchange for awarding government contracts to a Georgia engineering contractor.
https://www.wral.com/us-judge-orders-former-nc-official-to-start-prison-term/18664206/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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SPEAKER MOORE'S HALF-FILLED CHAMBER WIN IS EMPTY VICTORY: As state House Speaker Time Moore speaks more and more about his successful veto overrides, we become increasingly convinced he has abandoned all perspective. So determined to win is he, that he has lost sight of his chief leadership responsibility -- to operate an open and honest House that respects the value of all citizens’ votes. Everybody likes a real winner. But it is how you play and win that becomes the legacy. Moore’s fairness-be-damned approach will haunt him. There is no morality to a victory when the other side believed that there would be no game. House minority leader Darren Jackson believed that he had been told by House Rules Committee Chairman Rep David Lewis that there would be no votes in the morning session. Jackson then informed his caucus. So, did Lewis unintentionally mislead Jackson or was it a deliberate act to give out fake information and fool Democrats? It doesn’t matter.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-speaker-moore-s-half-filled-chamber-win-is-empty-victory/18659373/

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