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Wednesday News: The responsible thing to do


WAKE SCHOOL BOARD LIMITS NUMBER OF MEETING ATTENDEES: New Wake County school board chairwoman Lindsay Mahaffey is citing the community surge in COVID-19 cases for limiting how many people can attend Tuesday’s school board meeting. The capacity in the school board meeting room is being cut in half to 30 people — meaning it will mostly be board members, district staff and members of the media in the room. Only a handful of seats will be available for the public, so people have to register online by 5 p.m. Monday with a lottery being used to fill the seats. “It’s simply looking at community spread,” Mahaffey said in an interview Monday. “I did speak to some staff members and the vice chair, but ultimately it was my decision to do that.” For most of 2020 and about half of 2021, there were only about 12 seats open for our Town meetings, taped off and measured. It's what responsible government leaders do, it's not "stifling dissent," as this article offers in its click-baity headline.

Monday News: Nineteen thousand, four hundred twenty six


OMICRON VARIANT IS SWEEPING ACROSS NC: At least 1,686,667 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 19,426 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday, Dec. 31, reported 19,174 new COVID-19 cases, up from 18,571 the day before. Before Thursday, the highest single-day jump in cases was recorded at 11,581 in January. At least 2,387 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Dec. 31, up from 2,267 the day before, health officials said. As of Dec. 28, the latest date with available information, 22.9% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. That’s up from 21.6% the previous day. Roughly 74% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 69% have been fully vaccinated. That's one out of every four adults who still refuse a free vaccine. Tell me again about the Socratic Method, George...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


YOU WANT TO PRESERVE YOUR FREEDOMS? GET VACCINATED: There are few threats to personal freedom greater these days than the COVID pandemic. And the answer to those threats isn’t assertion of narrow personal rights that put the good of the community in jeopardy. It is the understanding – as this state and nation has shown in other times of great challenge – that focusing on the common good strengthens or most cherished liberties and rights. Get vaccinated. The greater good infinitely outweighs the minimal risk. Real patriots are listening to the scientists and medical experts. True lovers of liberty are taking the steps necessary not to overburden our medical care facilities so they can best tend to those in most urgent and critical need of care. Real rights advocates look to help those essential workers – whether they are public safety workers or emergency responders; educators in our schools and on university campuses; service personnel in grocery stores, pharmacies and other places necessary for the conduct of our daily lives and communities. Ignorance and stubbornness are proving to be just as deadly (if not more) than the virus itself.

Saturday News: Twenty Twenty Two


NC SUPREME COURT IRONS OUT RECUSAL PROCEDURE FOR INDIVIDUAL JUSTICES: The order, filed last week by the state Supreme Court but emailed to attorneys Thursday, applies to all cases before the justices. It allows a justice to either decide on their own or ask the rest of the court to act on a recusal or disqualification motion. Whichever option is used, the ensuing ruling is final, the order said. The court's four-paragraph order would appear to ease concerns by some Republicans and their conservative allies that a majority of the court could remove Barringer and Berger Jr. against their will. Registered Democrats hold a 4-3 seat advantage. The lawsuit plaintiffs had argued that justices should not be allowed to judge their own impartiality, and that leaving a disqualification decision to colleagues was best for objectivity. In other words, they can still refuse to recuse, and the Court (and us) will have to live with it. Again, Judicial elections matter.

Friday News: Standing in the breach


GOVERNOR COOPER'S JUDICIOUS USE OF THE VETO STAMP: N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed 16 bills in 2021, adding to a cumulative veto list that surpasses any of his predecessors from both parties. In 2021, the first year of his second term, the Democratic governor signed 147 bills into law. The number of 2021 vetoes exceeds the 14 he vetoed in 2019 and the 11 bills he blocked in 2020. Overall, Cooper has used the veto stamp on 69 bills since he began serving as governor in 2017. He has three years left on his term. Republicans haven’t had the votes to reverse any of Cooper’s vetoes in the years after they lost their supermajorities in the 2018 elections. That's 11% in 2021, far from abusing that power. I know some reading this would like to see him use it more, but that could (very easily) degrade its effectiveness.

Thursday News: Seven Principles

IT'S THE TIME OF THE SEASON FOR KWANZAA: 1. Umoja means “unity.” On his Kwanzaa website, Karegna defines this as: “To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.” 2. Kujichagulia means “self-determination:” “To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.” 3. Ujima means “collective work and responsibility:” “To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.” 4. Ujamaa means “cooperative economics:” “To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.” Similar to Ujima, this principle refers to uplifting your community economically. 5. Nia means “purpose:” “To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.” 6. Kuumba means “creativity:” “To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.” 7. Imani means “faith:” “To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.” I endorse this holiday.

Wednesday News: Twenty two percent


OMICRON IS PUSHING THE POSITIVE TEST RATE THROUGH THE ROOF IN NC: North Carolina’s COVID-19 positive test rate hit a record high Sunday, the latest available data, of 21.9%, as new cases continue to increase due to holiday gatherings and the highly contagious omicron variant, many public health officials suspect. The previous high was 17.1% on Jan. 4. Over the last seven days of available data, DHHS has reported that an average of 13% of cases have returned positive per day. State health officials have said they want that number at 5% or lower. Over the last six days, North Carolina has reported more than 32,000 new COVID-19 cases. The six days prior, the state reported just over 22,300 new cases. My test was negative, but the situation that drove me to get tested is very common. One of my children visited a family one day, then me the next day, before we found out that whole family was positive. I got lucky, but a lot of people aren't. Be careful.

Monday News: Get tested


STAY ONE STEP AHEAD OF OMICRON: Register for a time slot at any of them by calling 800-701-1023 or registering here. (Website: Boys and Girls Club – 721 N. Raleigh Blvd. in Raleigh Care Tax Service – 909 Rock Quarry Road in Raleigh Justice Served – 202 N. Tarboro St. in Raleigh McDonald’s (adjacent parking lot) – 830 E. Williams St. in Apex The Fountain of Raleigh Fellowship – 9621 Six Forks Road in Raleigh. In addition to these sites, many pharmacies, doctors’ offices and health clinics offer testing for the virus, the county release stated. • Use this online tool: Use the COVID-19 Test Site Finder for a complete list of locations and to find the ones closest to you. This N&O report has complete instructions for using the COVID-19 Test Site Finder. You can also request a free at-home testing kit shipped overnight via FedEx, with results available online usually within two days after your sample arrives at the lab, according to the release. I'm getting tested later this morning, was possibly exposed on Christmas Eve. Fingers crossed...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


NAMELESS BUREAUCRATS AREN'T THE PROBLEM WITH NC SCHOOLS, IT'S LEGISLATIVE NEGLECT: The Education Law Center, in its “Making the Grade 2021: How fair is school funding in your state” gives North Carolina an “F” in funding level – 49th among the 50 states and Washington D.C. The state gets another “F” in funding effort – 47th. Who’s responsible for those bottom-of-the-barrel levels? Berger blames “a failed education bureaucracy.” Blame the bureaucrats. It’s a nebulous, meaningless dodge of the responsibility Berger shoulders. Who was the champion of abolishing the Teaching Fellows program? Who continues to push private school vouchers that funnel millions of dollars to schools that aren’t required to show reasonable or transparent measures of student achievement – they aren’t even required to show that students show up at class. Underfunding schools creates a surplus, and that surplus gives them an excuse for more tax cuts. Every year. The irresponsibility is breathtaking.


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