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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


TROUBLING EMERGENCE OF SUPPORT FOR PUTIN: North Carolina’s Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson made mention of the need of people in Australia and Canada to be able to arm themselves against “terrible things.” He didn’t say a word during his 12-minute address of the immediate massive Russian threat to under-armed Ukrainians. North Carolina Republican congressman Madison Cawthorn praised China for instilling “great patriotic and masculine values” in that dictatorship’s youth. He, also, made no mention of Putin’s unprovoked violence toward the Ukrainian people. Eight miles from the CPAC event, America First was holding its national conference. Nick Fuentes, one of the leaders, urged the support for Putin’s unprovoked armed efforts against the Ukraine. ““Can we get a round of applause for Russia?” he asked. The crowed cheered and then responded with rhythmic chants of “Putin! Putin!” Is the Trump wing of the Republican Party being morphed into the Putin wing? What has happened to so many of those in a political party who’s revered conservative spirit once confronted Russia with a demand to “tear down this wall” in support of freedom for those suffering under that nation’s dictatorial oppression? It's tempting to blame this on the obstinacy of Donald Trump, but he didn't create the drive toward Fascism by many on the right, he just took advantage of it.

Saturday News: Beat him at the ballot box


TRUMP JUDGE BLOCKS CHALLENGE TO MADISON CAWTHORN'S CONGRESSIONAL RUN: Cawthorn’s opponents say the Jan. 6 attack was an attempted insurrection — a word that top GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has also used to describe that day that resulted in several deaths and injuries. The opponents say the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bans those who have engaged in insurrection against the government from holding federal office like a seat in Congress. But Cawthorn had argued that a pro-Confederate law passed during Reconstruction allowed many ex-insurrectionists to run for office, despite the 14th Amendment, and that it should apply to him too. Federal district court judge Richard Myers, a Trump appointee, agreed and ruled in Cawthorn’s favor. He's got a bruising Primary brewing right now, so hopefully he won't even be on the ballot in November. Fingers crossed.

Friday News: Adam is right


CHAPEL HILL PONDERS BUILDING APARTMENTS OVER COAL ASH DEPOSITS: All but one Chapel Hill Town Council member backed more talks Wednesday about putting a new police department headquarters, more town services, and possibly housing, on an old coal ash site. Council member Adam Searing said he couldn’t support housing on top of coal ash. He would not move his family there, he said, adding that he suspected “most people on this (Zoom) call would not be willing to move their kids onto this coal ash dump.” Studies conducted by the town’s consultants found coal-related contaminants, including arsenic, lead, barium, chromium and selenium in the soil and groundwater. High levels of mercury also were found in the groundwater. In lieu of one of my long-winded diatribes about methyl mercury, Bolin Creek eventually feeds into Jordan Lake, giving elemental mercury many opportunities to cross that organic threshold. Clean it up, clean it all up.

Thursday News: This is leadership

BIDEN'S STATE OF THE UNION WAS UNIFYING: Addressing a concerned nation and anxious world, President Joe Biden vowed in his first State of the Union address Tuesday night to check Russian aggression in Ukraine, tame soaring U.S. inflation and deal with the fading but still dangerous coronavirus. Biden declared that he and all members of Congress, whatever their political differences, are joined “with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny.” He asked lawmakers crowding the House chamber to stand and salute the Ukrainians as he began his speech. They stood and cheered. It was a notable show of unity after a long year of bitter acrimony between Biden’s Democratic coalition and the Republican opposition. And yet, Republicans still can't control their extremist nut-jobs, a couple of whom heckled the President continuously. Shameful and embarrassing.

Wednesday News: She's right, you know

VP KAMALA HARRIS TO ADVOCATE FOR UNION JOBS IN NC: Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Durham Wednesday to promote “good-paying, union jobs” in North Carolina — one of the country’s least friendly states to union activity. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will join the vice president to discuss “the Biden-Harris administration’s investments in our workers,” Harris’ office said in a statement. Location details for their visit had not been announced as of Tuesday afternoon. North Carolina features the country’s second lowest union activity, according to figures from the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. North Carolina and South Carolina have routinely traded rank as America’s least unionized state, with 2.6% and 1.7% of workers, respectively, belonging to unions in 2021. This is refreshing. Many elected Dems are glad to receive support from unions, but shy away from promoting them. NC needs unions more than ever these days.

Monday News: Twenty two thousand, five hundred


ONE IN FOUR NORTH CAROLINA ADULTS STILL NOT VACCINATED: At least 2.5 million coronavirus cases have been reported in North Carolina, and at least 22,500 people have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. At least 1,861 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Feb. 25, including 367 adults being treated in intensive care units, health officials said. As of Feb. 25, the latest day for which data is available, 7.1% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Roughly 75% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 71% are fully vaccinated. Of the state’s total population, about 61% are fully vaccinated and about 65% have received at least one dose. State officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number. Anti-mask and anti-vaccine protesters, some of them dressed in Proud Boys costumes, gathered in downtown Raleigh on Friday to rally against COVID-19 mandates, The News & Observer reported. Calling them "adults" is kind of a stretch, though.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


"LIBERTY" ISN'T A LICENSE FOR SELF-INTEREST: It is out of concerns for public health – especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic -- that prompt mandates for safety mask wearing and requirements for vaccinations. Beyond the legitimate reasons of the relatively very few who have specific personal health or religious concerns, these regulations are about the good of the community. Those who oppose them are, quite frankly seeking to legitimize their own self-interest – for personal reasons or to exploit political divisiveness. Those who cry “freedom” in their refusal to wear a safety mask are, in fact, denying freedom to those, for example people who have suppressed immunities or are otherwise vulnerable, who truly are not able to take or benefit from more widely available safety measures. To understand the consequences of this kind of self-interest, visit a hospital – particularly in a rural community. The facilities are overwhelmed. Emergency rooms are jammed and urgent treatment delayed. Hospital rooms are filled with the overflow in hallways, lying on gurneys. Care workers – doctors, nurses and other critical staff are overworked and stressed. For nearly two years they have performed heroically. They deserve our praise -- and more so our cooperation that would ease their burden. It is said there are three main characteristics that define whether a living creature is "sentient": the ability to feel emotions, awareness of your own mortality, and the desire to protect the weak and infirm of your species. These anti-maskers definitely possess the first characteristic, but the second and third seem to be missing. There are animal species that score better on that scale.

Saturday News: Bending the Arc

PRESIDENT BIDEN NOMINATES KETANJI BROWN JACKSON TO SUPREME COURT: “For too long, our government, our courts, haven’t looked like America,” Biden said Friday at the White House as he stood alongside Brown Jackson and Vice President Kamala Harris. Born in Washington, D.C., Brown Jackson, 51, spent the bulk of her youth in South Florida where her father, Johnny Brown, worked as an attorney for the Miami-Dade School Board and her mother, Ellery Brown, worked as a high school principal. After earning her graduate and law degrees from Harvard University, Brown Jackson early in her career served as law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, the retiring justice she’s been tapped to succeed. Progressive groups applauded the selection of Brown Jackson, arguing she would bring a needed perspective to the court as it weighs a host of issues that affect women and communities of color. No doubt Republican operatives are digging furiously to find anything they can use to criticize her. Or they will just make something up, which is just fine post-Trump.

Friday News: Help wanted


CAWTHORN'S CANDIDACY CHALLENGE NO LONGER VALID UNDER NEW MAPS: The court-ordered redraw of North Carolina's congressional map voids, for the moment, an effort to keep U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn off the ballot in North Carolina, though challengers are expected to regroup and file again. Cawthorn initially filed to run in North Carolina's 13th Congressional District, which at the time ran west of Charlotte. But the redraw completed Wednesday shifted district lines and shuffled district numbers. Now the 13th District covers southern Wake County and areas to the south. Until Cawthorn formally withdraws from that district to run in another, which he is expected to do, Cawthorn is a candidate in the new 13th. And to challenge his candidacy, the voters involved have to be district residents. None of them are, and a letter went out to their lawyers Thursday from the North Carolina State Board of Elections, declaring their effort "no longer valid under North Carolina law." Wherever he decides to run, we need voters to take up the challenge. You can't run, and you can't hide.

Thursday News: Partial victory


COURT DRAWS NEW CONGRESSIONAL MAP, BUT ACCEPTS LEGISLATIVE ONES: The judges overseeing the lawsuit ruled that they would accept the newly redrawn versions of maps for the N.C. House and N.C. Senate that lawmakers passed — but not the new congressional map. Instead of taking the legislature’s congressional map, or the proposed maps drawn by the challengers in the case, the judges had a group of outside experts draw a new congressional map for the state. An analysis of the map drawn by the outside experts shows it would have more safe seats for Democratic candidates, and fewer tossup seats, than the map the Republican-led legislature had drawn. This is now the second version of GOP-drawn congressional maps to be snubbed by the judicial system in recent weeks. And unlike the Supreme Court, this panel of judges has a Republican majority. This could (very easily) make the difference in whether Dems can keep the majority in the U.S. House or not. I'll take it.


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