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Thursday News: Cruel and unusual


SENATE REPUBLICANS BLOCK RULES TO EASE BURDENS ON INMATES: North Carolina State Rep. Sarah Stevens introduced an amendment Wednesday that would block new rules from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services aimed at making jails safer. The amendment, which was adopted into a Senate bill containing a package of regulatory changes, strikes two of the 33 proposed DHHS rules. One is intended to prevent jails from holding more inmates than their designated capacity, and another would require jails to have both indoor and outdoor recreation spaces for inmates. The amendment comes on the heels of a rising number of suicides and deaths in North Carolina jails over recent years, and is part of a package of rules that DHHS officials and activists have said would make conditions safer and more humane for inmates.

Wednesday News: Where is the Censure?


LARRY PITTMAN TELLS LAW ENFORCEMENT TO SHOOT BLM ACTIVISTS: “This is war,” he wrote on Facebook Monday. “Our people have a right to expect our leaders to be on our side, not surrender to the lawless, godless mob.” Pittman, a pastor, declined to comment Tuesday. “Sorry, I don’t do interviews,” he said in an email. On Facebook, he said if he were in charge he would order police to take back their cities, arrest “these domestic terrorists,” and “If they resist and attack you, shoot them.” “Law and order must be restored,” he wrote. “Innocent citizens have a right to expect elected officials and law enforcement officers to protect them and their property. They also have a right to defend themselves with deadly force if they are able.”

Tuesday News: Just retire, already


CRANKY OLD WINDBAG WHINES ABOUT EDUCATION FUNDING: “There’s been no evaluation of how $30 billion in hardworking taxpayer money has been spent,” said North Carolina Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx, the ranking member of the House Education and Labor Committee. “Yet here we are with Democrats pushing those same taxpayers to dole out more of their hard earned money at a time when many Americans are being forced to tighten their belts.” Foxx, of Banner Elk, repeatedly cautioned against federal spending, even pointing to the Constitution to suggest education was not a responsibility of the federal government. “I’m a student of the Constitution, and I’ve read it many times,” she said. “And I’ve failed to find the word ‘education’ in there.” But people who testified before the committee talked at length of the additional aid they felt was needed, even with CARES Act funding.

Monday News: The first of many


ACE SPEEDWAY CREW MEMBER TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID 19: A crew member for one of the racing teams that participated in last week’s event at Ace Speedway has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Short Track Scene’s Matt Weaver. Weaver, the website’s founder, said CARS Tour series operator Jack McNelly gave competitors the news Saturday afternoon before this week’s series event at Hickory Motor Speedway in Newton. According to Weaver, McNelly said the CARS Tour was notified of the positive coronavirus test in the days after the June 6 event in Alamance County. McNelly did not give the name of the person who tested positive, but Weaver said CARS series officials told him it was one of the racing team’s crew members. On each of the past three Saturdays (May 23rd and 30th and June 6th) Ace Speedway had racing, with the stands nearly full of spectators, few of them wearing masks. A reporter at last week’s event estimated there were at least 2,000 fans in attendance.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


WORK TO HEAL THE PANDEMIC OF POVERTY AND CANCER OF RACISM: The pandemic has revealed how essential low-wage jobs have always been. It has revealed a backwards kind of accounting that values corporate executives and Wall Street speculators hundreds of times more than the care-giving work of nursing home aides, the public-health providing work of janitors, the life-saving work of nurse aides, or the sustenance-giving work of farmworkers, food processors and grocery store clerks. We now deem these workers “essential” even as we denigrate them with low wages, lack of sufficient PPE, and health care guarantee. Meanwhile, another of America’s pre-existing conditions has come to the fore. Racism and poverty are chronic illnesses crippling the heart of our nation. In the wake of the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, whose names we say in a list that continues to grow far too long, people of all races have risen up to proclaim that Black Lives Matter and to demand an end to police or vigilante violence targeted at African Americans.

Saturday News: Time for a change

DUKE HISTORIAN SAYS FT. BRAGG NEEDS A NEW NAME: According to the biography, Bragg received an appointment to the academy at age 16 through the political connections of his older brother and graduated fifth in the class of 1837. He served in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican-American War before resigning from the military and moving to Louisiana to buy and run a sugar plantation, which relied on the labor of at least 125 slaves. Bragg rejoined the military to serve in the Civil War, during which the Battlefield Trust says he “won partial victories — at places like Perryville, Stones River, and Chickamauga — but never delivered the finishing blow,” in part because his subordinate officers often hated him and refused to obey his battle orders. “These men were, by definition, traitors who had conducted war against the United States,” said Newcity, deputy director for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies at Duke University.

Friday News: Culture of Racism


NCSU BOOTS TWO STUDENTS FOR BIGOTED COMMENTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA: WRAL spoke with several students who said they were disgusted by the comments made by the two individuals. Many of the students also said the university made the right call. “I thought they were disgusting," said Dani Carter, a sophomore at NCSU. "I don’t think anyone should ever say anything like that.” The racist comments that were made quickly circulated social media, sparking an outrage from students. “They think that they are expressing their first amendment right and speak and freedom of speech, and I respect that, but it’s not your first amendment right if you’re expressing hatred, bigotry and racism because that’s not what the US stands for and not what NC State stands for," said NCSU senior Silvana Alfieri.

Thursday News: Good luck, Jacksonville


RNC VOTES FOR SCALED-DOWN CHARLOTTE CONVENTION, TRUMP RALLY ELSEWHERE: An event that once was projected to attract more than 50,000 people to Charlotte — including delegates, party officials, media and others — has been reduced to a bare minimum by the Republican National Committee’s executive committee. A fraction of the expected delegates will now attend the event, which begins Aug. 24. President Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, the centerpiece event, will be moved to another state after N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper said he could not guarantee that the full attendance of 19,000 people would be allowed at the Spectrum Center due to the coronavirus pandemic. Jacksonville, Fla. is the current front-runner to host the speech, RNC chairman Ronna McDaniel said Wednesday morning.

Wednesday News: Turn off your engines


GOVERNOR COOPER ISSUES ORDER CLOSING ACE SPEEDWAY: Gov. Roy Cooper ordered an Alamance County speedway that’s violated his executive orders against mass gatherings closed immediately, declaring the venue an imminent hazard. In an order issued Monday night and obtained by The News & Observer, Cooper and Dr. Mandy Cohen said Ace Speedway could open again if it presents a plan to adhere to state guidelines and that plan is approved by the Department of Health and Human Services. “Mass gatherings do spread the virus,” said Cohen, the state’s DHHS secretary who signed the order closing the speedway. “It was irresponsible for them to keep operating in the way they were doing.” The imminent hazard order characterizes Ace Speedway events as “likely to cause an immediate threat to human life, an immediate threat of serious physical injury, an immediate threat of serious adverse health effects.”

Tuesday News: Spiking the Curve


NC FATALITIES ASSOCIATED WITH COVID 19 SURPASS 1,000: At least 36,516 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 1,041 have died, according to state and county health departments. On Monday, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported an additional 938 cases of the virus, up from 921 reported Sunday. The state was averaging about 1,000 daily cases over the last seven days as of Monday, the highest seven-day rolling average reported so far. State health officials on Monday reported completing about 8,800 new COVID-19 tests for a total of 520,113, about 10% of which have come back positive. At least 739 North Carolinians were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday — an all-time daily high since the start of the pandemic. The previous record was 717 hospitalizations reported on Friday.


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