Daily dose

Trying this again, posting this email from Capital Broadcasting Company, without including all the links. You can subscribe to CBC's daily email here.

CBC Editorial: Monday, Aug. 8, 2022; editorial # 8780
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

Last week North Carolinians learned what the leaders of the N.C. Chamber paid to eliminate the state’s corporate income tax – abandonment of support for public education and obedience to the powerbrokers in the General Assembly.

When dozens of the state’s most prominent business leaders signed onto a brief supporting full-funding of a consensus plan to assure every child has access to a quality education – a right guaranteed in the State Constitution – the state Chamber issued an over-the-top attack on the court order under the guise that the group’s current chair had not given her permission to have her name listed.

Three former state Chamber chairs are among the signers and the current chair, according to Tom Bradshaw (one of those former chairs) Sepi Saidi, told him she agreed to be listed and offered to provide financial support for the effort. After release of the names last week, the state Chamber issued an over-heated statement saying she’d not given her permission while also denying – not that it had even been suggested – that the state Chamber supported the order. Quickly after she made it known that she did not want her name included among the signers, it was removed from the list.

Not only didn’t it support the order, but it went on to say it opposed any court action requiring the state to pay any damages for its failure – since a state Supreme Court order in 1997 – to fulfill its Constitutional promise.

It can only be concluded that’s the price the state Chamber’s paying to the leaders of the legislature in return for taking the N.C. corporate income tax rate from -- 6.9% in 2011, down to 2.5% now and zero by 2030.

While the Chamber has, echoing the leadership of the General Assembly, tried to contend the issue is partisan the truth is to the contrary.

It was a unanimous court that issued the first Leandro ruling that the state failed to provide all children with access to a quality education. In 2004 Republican Justice Robert Orr wrote the unanimous decision further reinforcing the 1997 ruling that it was the state’s obligation to make sure every classroom is led by a well-trained, competent teacher; that schools are run by well-trained, competent administrators and that all schools have the resources to meet the needs of ALL children – including those who are “at-risk” – so they all have the opportunity for a sound basic education.

Since our nation’s founding – and reinforced in North Carolina by our State Constitution, there are co-equal branches of government. It is the role of the courts – in principles enshrined since the famous 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision -- to determine if the administrative and legislative branches of government are acting according to the law. If they aren’t, it is the job of the courts to tell them how to fix it – and even with specific remedies.

We’ve come to understand well that the current leaders of the legislative branch of government believe they are a power unto themselves. They’re testing that proposition – the so-called “independent state legislature” theory -- contending state courts cannot review the legislature’s action concerning congressional redistricting.

There was a time when the state Chamber offered leadership on behalf of public education and North Carolina’s school children. Governors like Jim Holshouser, Jim Hunt and Jim Martin could rely on the Chamber for advice, support and leadership in their efforts to provide needed resources for our schools.

The N.C. Chamber knows the public education needs of the state but has chosen to ignore them and placed their financial gain above doing the best for our school children.

NOTE: Among the signers of the business leaders’ amicus brief is James F. Goodmon, chair and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company.

YONAT SHIMRON: Durham's Eli Evans left the South, but it never left him
Eli Evans receives an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree at the University of North Carolina’s May 2009 commencement ceremony. Photo courtesy of the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yonat Shimron is national reporter and senior editor at Religion News Service. She was the religion reporter for The News & Observer in Raleigh and is a past president of the Religion Newswriters Association.

As a young reporter, among my first introductions to religion in the South was Eli Evans’ memoir, “The Provincials: A Personal History of Jews in the South.” His book informed my understanding of this often-misunderstood minority faith (also my own), and the lives they created in the Christ-saturated South.

I was, of course, not the only person Evans informed. The memoirist, who died July 26 in New York City at age 85, helped start a new field of study, Southern Jewry, according to Jonathan Sarna, the noted Jewish historian from Brandeis University.

Evans was born in Durham to a prominent family. His father, Emanuel “Mutt” Evans, ran a successful department store in downtown Durham called Evans United Dollar. Mutt later served as Beth El Synagogue’s president and in 1951, was elected Durham’s first Jewish mayor. Evans’ mother, Sara Evans, founded the first chapter in the South of the women’s Zionist organization, Hadassah.

By dint of their hard work, civic involvement and devotion to their faith, the Evans were embraced by their neighbors, most of whom were either Southern Baptist, Methodist or Presbyterian. By the time Evans was growing up, Jews had mostly integrated into the city’s white Protestant establishment, as well as its governing elite.

Though he never denied the presence of antisemitism, Evans personally experienced far more philosemitism — the love of Jews — among his Christian neighbors. Though some would try to convert him, he wrote that he never felt offended by such gestures, which he felt were undertaken out of genuine concern for his eternal soul.

“The history of Jews in the South lies not in the cross-burnings of the Ku Klux Klan, the bombings, the acts of overt anti-Semitism,” he wrote in the introduction to The Provincials. “It is found in the experience of growing up Jewish in the Bible Belt, the interior story reflected in family histories and tales and letters home.”

At UNC Chapel Hill where he studied literature, he was elected president of the student body. After earning a law degree from Yale, he worked as a speechwriter for President Lyndon B. Johnson and later as an aide to former North Carolina Gov. Terry Sanford.

Evans ultimately left the South for New York City where he became an executive, first at the Carnegie Corporation and later president of the Charles H. Revson Foundation, a philanthropic organization from 1977 to 2003.

He continued to visit Durham and remained a member of his boyhood synagogue, Beth El, which celebrated him, as it previously did his father, as one of the pillars of the congregation.

Evans was founding chair of the advisory board for the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies and made a substantial financial gift to get the center started. The center engages in teaching and research to explore Jewish history, culture, and religion in the U.S.

Even after leaving the South, he could not escape its hold on his imagination. At the birth of Evans’ son, Joshua, in a New York City hospital, he clutched a vial of North Carolina soil, so connected was he to the South. “I wanted him to know his roots,” he wrote, “and I believe that one had to begin to create family legends early.”

On July 29 he was buried at the Durham Hebrew Cemetery adjacent to Maplewood, where his parents are also buried.

Evans was a pioneer in many ways, but he was also a man of his time. Some of Evans’ contemporaries called for more direct confrontation with the Jim Crow South. But for Evans, who was more of a gradualist, racial issues didn’t taint his love of his native land.

Jews have continued to prosper in North Carolina and their numbers have grown alongside the general population spurt. They are far more diverse now, and many Jews in the South, including the large number of transplants from other parts of the country, are more willing to insist that the United States live up to its ideals of diversity and inclusion.

Monday, Aug. 8, 2022 -- A round up of opinion, commentary and analysis.
For questions about the status of the round up of opinion, commentary and analysis please contact seffron@capitolbroadcasting.com

Unaffiliated and unheard (Greensboro News & Record/Winston-Salem Journal editorial) -- As for unaffiliated voters, by any objective measure, it’s clear that the current way of appointing State Elections Board members is a relic of a different era. The Common Cause lawsuit notes: “This law is destructive of our democracy because it undermines citizens’ confidence in the elections system. Limiting service on the State Board to members of the Democratic and Republican parties encourages citizens to believe that election officials are chosen to look out for their parties’ interests rather than see that elections are conducted fairly for all.” And that, like gerrymandering, is anything but an exercise in democracy.

Unaffiliated voters sue for spot on the state elections board (WUNC-FM) -- As of March, unaffiliated voters in North Carolina have overtaken Democrats and Republicans as the largest bloc of the state's more than 7.3 million registered voters. A lawsuit filed in federal court this week by the non-profit, non-partisan group Common Cause argues it's time for state law to make room for unaffiliated members on the North Carolina State Board of Elections. "Making sure that we have a state board of elections that is more representative and reflective of who we are in North Carolina," said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause. The group filed the lawsuit on behalf of its members and individual voters who say that they would like to serve on the elections board but cannot because of their unaffiliated status. This exclusion, the lawsuit claims, violates the plaintiffs' equal protection and free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution. According to data compiled by the state elections board, as of the end of July, the state had 2,491,151 registered Democrats, 2,210,269 Republicans, and 2,576,374 voters registered as unaffiliated.

In Senate Battle, Democrats Defy Biden’s Low Standing (for Now) (New York Times) -- In a Senate split 50-50, Democrats on the campaign trail and in Congress have zero margin for error as the party tries to navigate a hostile political environment defined chiefly by President Biden’s albatross-like approval ratings. But with the Senate battlefield map mostly set after primaries in Arizona and Missouri this past week, Democratic candidates are outperforming Mr. Biden — locked in tight races or ahead in almost every key contest. … Still, the political environment has Republicans bullish on holding Senate seats in North Carolina and Florida.

State political leaders called out for logjam on Medicaid expansion (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The state’s lobbying group for health-care systems and hospitals has called out state political leaders for being willing to let Medicaid expansion “die because you are looking for a deal.” Steve Lawler, president and chief executive of the N.C. Healthcare Association (NCHA), sent his letter Friday to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and House speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland. The association is running this weekend a full-page ad — an “Open Letter to North Carolinians” — in the Winston-Salem Journal, as well as newspapers in Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh and Wilmington. The association’s goal is to urge the political leaders to reach a compromise by the end of the year on the two Medicaid expansion bills that cleared one chamber during June, but has not been addressed in the other.

Trump adviser who tried to overturn election hosts NC fundraiser for US Senate candidate Budd (N.C. McClatchy) -- A woman integral in scheming with former President Donald Trump to try to overturn the 2020 election results is now hosting a fundraiser for a U.S. Senate candidate in North Carolina. Trump adviser Cleta Mitchell, a resident of Pinehurst who has been repeatedly mentioned throughout Jan. 6, 2021, news coverage and committee hearings in Congress, is hosting a fundraiser on Aug. 15 for Rep. Ted Budd. Budd is running to replace retiring Sen. Richard Burr. “We’re great with it,” said Jonathan Felts, senior adviser to Budd.

Judge: Green Party candidate belongs on N. Carolina ballot (AP) -- The North Carolina Green Party’s U.S. Senate candidate must be placed on the November ballot, a federal judge ruled Friday, despite Democrats’ repeated attempts to block the progressive party from spoiling one of their best shots at flipping a seat in the narrowly divided chamber.

N.C.'s Green Party will be on November ballot (Axios Raleigh) -- The Green Party's North Carolina U.S. Senate candidate will appear on the ballot in November, after a federal judge ruled Friday in the party’s favor. The judge's decision is a blow to Democrats who fear that the far-left Green Party candidate, Matthew Hoh, will redirect liberal votes away from Cheri Beasley in a tight race against Republican Ted Budd. The case for Green Party inclusion has drawn national attention, igniting a proxy war of sorts between political heavyweights, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee and top Democratic attorney Marc Elias' law firm. "Both parties are very frightened," said North Carolina Green Party co-chair Tony Ndege Thursday, ahead of the judge's ruling. "Both parties are worried there may be a break off" of some of their voting base. National Democrats have already placed more of an emphasis on U.S. Senate races in other states over Beasley's race. With the possibility that the Green Party could splinter liberal votes, Democrats may ramp up spending in North Carolina, or pull back even more. The Green Party's most famous candidate was Ralph Nader, who snagged nearly 3% of the popular vote in the 2000 presidential election. Nader didn't even appear on the North Carolina ballot that year because the Green Party didn’t meet the petition requirement. The Green Party's presidential candidate in the 2020 presidential election, Howie Hawkins, received just 0.22% of the vote.

Culture wars could be a winning issue — for Democrats (Washington Post) -- The top lines for Democrats continue to be brutal heading into the November midterm elections: Voters are furious about inflation, they overwhelmingly believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, and President Biden is not at all a popular figure. But based on recent polling, the issue matrix has shifted enough to provide Democrats some hope that they can limit some of their potential losses and outperform expectations, especially in statewide races for the U.S. Senate and governorships. In an ironic twist, those issues giving them a fighting chance are what traditionally would be considered elements of the “culture wars” that Republicans previously considered their winning talking points. But a wave of mass shootings and the Supreme Court’s watershed ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade have vaulted gun violence and abortion rights way up the charts in terms of voter importance. Those two matters now rank just below the most important issue concerning voters: inflation and stabilizing the economy.

Maps in Four States Were Ruled Illegal Gerrymanders. They’re Being Used Anyway (New York Times) -- A shift in election law philosophy at the Supreme Court has given House Republicans a big advantage in November. … Behind much of the change is the Supreme Court’s embrace of an informal legal doctrine stating that judges should not order changes in election procedures too close to an actual election. In a 2006 case, Purcell v. Gonzalez, the court refused to stop an Arizona voter ID law from taking effect days before an election because that could “result in voter confusion and consequent incentive to remain away from the polls.” … The Purcell doctrine is not always applied to Republicans’ benefit. In March, the court cited an approaching primary election in refusing to block a North Carolina Supreme Court order undoing a Republican gerrymander of that state’s congressional map. But scholars say such decisions are the exception.

Liz Cheney Is Ready to Lose. But She’s Not Ready to Quit (New York Times) -- The Republican says her crusade to stop former President Trump and restore a “very sick G.O.P.” will continue — even if she loses her primary next week.

Dick Cheney excoriates Trump in an ad for his daughter Liz Cheney (New York Times) -- The one-minute ad landed with a bang on social media, but in Wyoming, it is highly unlikely to sway any significant number of voters in Ms. Cheney’s favor.

AR-15s in Madison County Schools: Parents, residents weigh in (Asheville Citizen-Times) – Madison County parents and residents weigh in on the decision to have AR-15s in schools. Here’s what they had to say:

This NC mountain county is stocking its schools with AR-15s to prevent a mass shooting (Charlotte Observer) -- The sheriff of a North Carolina mountain county said he will stock all public schools with AR-15 rifles this year so deputies have quick access to a more high-powered firearm in case of a mass shooter. “Every day you turn on the TV and somebody’s been shot, somebody’s been stabbed, somebody’s been murdered, raped,” Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwell said when he announced the initiative in a five-minute Facebook video in June. “We live in Western North Carolina, a rural county, but we’ve got to be prepared even in our rural counties for the enemy when he tries to come in and destroy our children.”

As demand continues, residents swap guns for cash at second Durham County gun buyback (N.C. McClatchy) -- The line of cars stretched three blocks as Durham County’s second gun buyback in four months began Saturday morning. The event’s purpose was to encourage responsible gun ownership and get guns off the street. … The event was held at two locations — Mt. Vernon Baptist Church and Durham Memorial Stadium. Between the two locations, 295 guns were turned in before the department ran out of money, communications manager David L. Bowser told

Senate Democrats pass budget package, a victory for Biden (AP) -- Democrats pushed their election-year economic package to Senate passage Sunday, a hard-fought compromise less ambitious than President Joe Biden’s original domestic vision but one that still meets deep-rooted party goals of slowing global warming, moderating pharmaceutical costs and taxing immense corporations. The estimated $740 billion package heads next to the House, where lawmakers are poised to deliver on Biden's priorities, a stunning turnaround of what had seemed a lost and doomed effort that suddenly roared back to political life. Cheers broke out as Senate Democrats held united, 51-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote after an all-night session. North Carolina’s Republican senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis voted against the legislation.

Five Decades in the Making: Why It Took Congress So Long to Act on Climate (New York Times) -- After years of failed attempts, Congress is on the cusp of passing the nation’s first major climate law. The bill passed by the Senate avoided the political pitfalls of the past by offering only incentives to cut climate pollution, not taxes.

After passage of climate bill, long road awaits (Washington Post) -- Tax credits will help some who don’t need assistance but will sharply expand and speed up the adoption of electric vehicles and other clean energy initiatives.

Senate Passes Climate, Healthcare and Tax Bill (Wall Street Journal) -- After more than 15 hours of amendments, Democrats passed the legislation, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaking vote. The measure now moves to the House.

Republicans block cap on insulin costs for millions of patients (Washington Post) -- GOP senators move to strip a $35 price cap on insulin under private insurance from the Inflation Reduction Act

Gas pipeline in Alamance lifted by landmark Congressional bill (Greensboro News & Record) -- The Inflation Reduction bill approved by Congress may gave new life to the Mountain Valley Pipeline natural gas project, including a 75-mile extension that would run through Rockingham County and end in Alamance County. It’s an addition to the 303-mile project stalled by court-ordered rulings.

N.C. AG defends recusal in 20-week abortion ban case (AP) -- North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein repudiated Republican General Assembly leaders’ allegations Wednesday that he neglected his duty to defend state law by refusing to seek enforcement of a blocked 20-week abortion ban after the fall of Roe v. Wade.

Republicans demand protection for NC crisis pregnancy centers, but ignore another threat (N.C. McClatchy editorial) – Sen. Thom Tillis and U.S. Rep. Ted Budd wrote that “law enforcement cannot play favorites when it comes to pursuing justice.” We agree, but politicians shouldn’t play favorites, either.

How long will North Carolina remain an abortion ‘safe haven’? (N.C. Health News) -- Abortion remains legal in the state, but that access could change based on election outcomes this fall.

Indiana’s sweeping abortion ban leads to immediate political, economic fallout (Washington Post) -- Some of the state’s biggest employers objected to the restrictions passed by the GOP-controlled legislature. Abortion rights activists made plans to arrange alternative locations for women seeking procedures, and Democratic leaders strategized ways to amend or repeal the law.

Phones Know Who Went to an Abortion Clinic. Whom Will They Tell? (Wall Street Journal) -- Since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, companies across the location-data industry are examining and in some cases revising how they handle data regarding visits to abortion clinics. Some are agreeing voluntarily not to sell the data or say they will store it in ways that mask the location. Some such as Tapestri, which pays consumers for sharing their anonymized location history, delete any health-related location information that they deem to be sensitive. Opponents of the court’s ruling and privacy advocates say personal reproductive health data could be publicized or used to build a legal case against people seeking or providing abortions. “These kinds of requests for user data are going to sharply increase,” said Jennifer Lynch, surveillance litigation director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights advocacy group. … Martin Andersen, an associate professor of economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, relied on mobile-location data provided by SafeGraph Inc. to study how Texas residents accessed abortion services after the state’s new law went into effect. Mr. Andersen downloaded aggregated, anonymized data free from SafeGraph.

HALF TRUE: Does the Democrats' Inflation Reduction Act raise taxes on 'every' income bracket? (PolitiFact/WRAL-TV) -- Soon after Senate Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Chuck Schumer of New York announced an agreement on a bill that offered a pared-down version of President Joe Biden’s remaining policy agenda, Republicans cast the legislation as a big tax hike.

State political leaders called out for logjam on Medicaid expansion (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The state’s lobbying group for health-care systems and hospitals has called out state political leaders for being willing to let Medicaid expansion “die because you are looking for a deal.” Steve Lawler, president and chief executive of the N.C. Healthcare Association (NCHA), sent his letter Friday to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and House speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland. The association is running this weekend a full-page ad — an “Open Letter to North Carolinians” — in the Winston-Salem Journal, as well as newspapers in Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh and Wilmington. The association’s goal is to urge the political leaders to reach a compromise by the end of the year on the two Medicaid expansion bills that cleared one chamber during June, but has not been addressed in the other.

NC Medicaid providers say they're owed big bucks while children go without care (TV) -- One year into a multibillion-dollar overhaul of North Carolina's Medicaid program, providers complain that billing delays from insurance companies that manage claims are leaving patients without full treatment and the providers with financial problems. Insurers acknowledge some problems and say answers are coming.

In North Carolina and nationwide, the Army is struggling to recruit new soldiers (WUNC-FM) -- The military's recruiting issues are being blamed on the strong job market and a variety of other factors. But there's little hard data pointing to any specific cause.

ACLU: NC's rejection of LGBTQ-themed vanity license plates raises (WFDD-FM) -- A civil rights group says North Carolina’s refusal to allow vanity license plates with LGBTQ themes raises “constitutional concerns.” In a statement, Kristi Graunke, legal director for ACLU of North Carolina, says the state’s rejection of vanity license plates with terms like GAY, LESBIAN, and GAYPRIDE “amounts to discrimination and suppression of speech, and raises serious constitutional concerns.”

How they voted: NC Congressional votes for the week of Aug. 1 (Targeted News Service) -- A look at how North Carolina members of Congress voted over the previous week.

After 246 Years, Marine Corps Gives 4 Stars to a Black Officer (New York Times) -- Gen. Michael E. Langley is the first Black person to attain the highest rank in the corps, whose most senior leadership had until now consisted entirely of white men. … General Langley’s promotion is particularly poignant given that his great-uncle was one of the Montford Point Marines, who were the first Black recruits to join the Marine Corps after it began admitting African Americans in 1942. They trained at Montford Point in North Carolina, which was separate from Camp Lejeune, where white recruits trained.

Broadband connection is on the way to 2,000 Avery, Clay county homes (Carolina Public Press) -- Clay and Avery will receive more than $6 million from the state to fund the initiative.

State review shows Mecklenburg jail continues to miss many safety checks (WFAE-FM) -- A state inspection in late June shows officers continue to miss a substantial amount of checks. The inspector wrote there were “missed rounds at most locations at various times." That’s after the main jail was cited for this in a December inspection. That inspection found there was “an imminent threat” to safety at the jail due to short staffing and a rise in violence.

An overlooked provision in the state budget could mean significant changes for principal salaries next year (EdNC) -- The recently passed state budget changed how principal pay is calculated, putting an emphasis on school performance during one of the most challenging years in recent memory. Now, many principals are concerned their salaries will decrease by $7,000 to $18,000.

North Carolina school principals could face pay cuts (AP) -- Some North Carolina principals are worried they could lose pay in the upcoming school year instead of the raises they're supposed to be receiving in the new state budget. State lawmakers approved a budget in July that includes a 4% raise in the salary schedule for principals but also changes how school test scores will be used to determine pay. Instead of using multiple years of test data, this year's budget bases principal compensation on just the 2021-22 school year, when schools were still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. The News & Observer reports that principals across the state are talking about how the change could lead to them seeing pay cuts. According to state figures, the average base salary for a principal is $82,160.

Former NC community college head paid four months salary to leave early (TV) -- Severance agreement with former Community College system president will pay him about $97,000. Did the legislature agreed to this non-appropriated spending?

Moore County Schools Prepares to Roll Out New Social Studies Curriculum (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Moore County Schools is now prepared to start using updated social studies standards for elementary and middle schools that were due to go into effect a year ago.

DPI updates State Board on literacy coaches, LETRS training (EdNC) -- The State Board of Education got an update Thursday on the Department of Public Instruction’s (DPI) plan to deploy literacy coaches into districts. It also heard from a leader of Mississippi’s science of reading implementation, offering a comparison to the state whose science of reading law North Carolina’s is loosely based. The update to the Board comes amid persistent questions as North Carolina traverses its new literacy journey: Why follow Mississippi’s lead? Why focus on Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS)? Was it necessary to do this right now, given what teachers and schools are dealing with? Was it necessary at all?

Grassroots Group Offers Rural NC Kids Access to Summer Activities, Meals (Public News Service) -- Many rural North Carolina kids lack access to summer camps and consistent meals when school is out, but an organization in Benson is working.

Recession? Forget about it, UNC economist says after July payrolls soar 528K. But warns Fed will keep tightening (Triangle Business Journal) -- Calling the newly-released payroll numbers for July a “humdinger” of a report, the top economist at the University of North Carolina said Friday's jobs numbers shows the economy is not slowing down. “This data suggests this is not a recession,” Economist Gerald Cohen told reporters Friday during a briefing following the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “In fact, this data is suggesting an acceleration.” The job growth is faster than seen in the last two economic recoveries, Cohen said. The gain in non-farm payrolls, at 528,000 jobs, along with upward revisions, are evidence that the economy is humming along, Cohen said. The July numbers blew past expectations – Dow Jones forecasted 258,000 jobs. The unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, not the 3.6 percent traders had been expecting. Numbers show wage growth also rose, jumping 0.5 percent for the month and 5.2 percent from a year ago. “Granted, it’s still post-Covid recovery, but … we’ve surpassed the pre-Covid levels by 32,000,” he said. “This report now puts us above pre-Covid levels in terms of job creation.”

Former Morgan Stanley financier in NC banned from selling securities (Triangle Business Journal) -- A federal judge has permanently shut down a former Morgan Stanley financier accused of running a $4.8 million Ponzi scheme in North Carolina. Wilmington advisor Shawn Good was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year, accused of bilking at least five investor clients. In May, Good responded to the lawsuit through his attorney, Joseph Zeszotarski, by invoking the Fifth Amendment 68 times. Good's clients – the SEC claims – thought they were investing in safe bets such as real estate and bonds. Instead, some of their money went to payback earlier investors – the definition of a Ponzi scheme. SEC attorneys say Good also used funds for personal expenses, such as Venmo cash transfers, payments on his Tesla and plastic surgery bills. The SEC lawsuit claims Good was involved in “at least” 30 fraudulent transactions since 2017. While Good has not been charged with a federal crime, a federal judge in July granted the SEC’s request for a permanent injunction against Good, banning him from the business of selling securities. Good is also required to payback his “ill-gotten gains” with interest.

Democrats Eye a Major Shift in How Corporations Are Taxed (New York Times) -- With a new corporate minimum tax, Democrats would be adding complexity to an already byzantine tax system. … Opponents of the new tax have expressed concerns that it would give more control over the U.S. tax base to the Financial Accounting Standards Board, an independent organization that sets accounting rules. “The potential politicization of the F.A.S.B. will likely lead to lower-quality financial accounting standards and lower-quality financial accounting earnings,” Ms. Hanlon and Jeffrey L. Hoopes, a University of North Carolina professor, wrote in a letter to members of Congress last year that was signed by more than 260 accounting academics.

Lawmakers Look to Digital Dollar to Compete With China (Wall Street Journal) -- Lawmakers are pushing the Federal Reserve to move swiftly toward issuing a digital dollar, to combat steps from China and others they say could one day threaten the U.S. status as the global reserve currency. The bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Reps. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) and French Hill (R., Ark.), has sought for the U.S. to counter global competitors launching digital versions of their currencies. The House Financial Services Committee, which both serve on, might vote on related legislation as soon as next month.
… Banks and some Republican lawmakers counter by saying that any digital-dollar benefits are best achieved through private-sector innovation. “What specific problems, if any, will a central bank digital currency solve?” asked North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry, the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, at a hearing earlier this year.

A new British bank is bringing 350 jobs to Charlotte. It’s already actively hiring (Charlotte Observer) -- The London-based bank has picked Charlotte for its largest employment base this side of the pond.

How long will North Carolina remain an abortion ‘safe haven’? (N.C. Health News) -- Abortion remains legal in the state, but that access could change based on election outcomes this fall.

Hundreds vaccinated against monkeypox, Wake, Durham counties get more supplies (TV) -- A monkeypox vaccine clinic in Wake County accommodated 559 people Saturday, running out of all doses available for the event.

More than 550 vaccinated at Wake County monkeypox clinic (TV) -- A monkeypox vaccine clinic in Wake County accommodated 559 people Saturday, running out of all doses available for the event.

Monkeypox straining already overstretched public health system (Pew/N.C. Health News) -- State and local public health agencies, still busy with COVID-19, now must contend with another rapidly spreading viral outbreak.

Most Parents Say No to Covid-19 Vaccines for Toddlers (Wall Street Journal) -- More than a month after the shots became available, roughly 4% to 5% of children under 5 years have received them. … North Carolina has vaccinated more than 23,000 children under 5, or 4% of all the state’s children in that demographic. The state has forecast that about 18% of parents of children under 5 would opt for the shots after three months, said Elizabeth Tilson, the state’s health director. “We expected this to be a slow simmer, and that’s what we’re seeing right now,” Dr. Tilson said. She attributed the state’s vaccination rate to giving priority access to shots at pediatrician offices. She also said the state has done outreach to parents, conducting virtual town halls with physicians.

Report takes aim at EPA, WFU, and local officials over Weaver fire response (WFDD-FM) -- A recent study claims local officials and environmental agencies downplayed hazardous air conditions during the Winston Weaver fertilizer plant fire — and more should have been done to alert the public.

Wood-Pellet Exports Boom Amid Ukraine War, Environmental Concerns (Wall Street Journal) -- U.S. waste wood is a hot commodity in Europe and Asia, and exports are on a record pace. … North Carolina State University forestry professor Rajan Parajuli said that the pellet business has been a big uplift for pine growers in the South, where a glut of mature trees has depressed log prices. He found in a 2021 study that the presence of a pellet mill boosts competition and prices for the trees that are too skinny to make lumber and gives landowners an additional product to sell when they clear-cut their woodlots.

Jury indicts 16 Asheville mutual aid volunteers for felony littering (Asheville Citizen-Times) – All 16 people charged by the Asheville Police with felony littering following December protests in Aston Park have been indicted by a Buncombe County grand jury.

Small sparrow’s plight in focus for grant recipient Allie Best (Coastal Review) -- Allie Best, a graduate student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, is one of two recently named recipients of the North Carolina Space Grant and North Carolina Sea Grant, a fellowship awarded to students whose research explores challenging coastal problems.



Lots of news to report

Not much of it good. But the success of Democrats in getting the Inflation Reduction Act moving is very good news. President Biden's steady push forward is one of the few positive things I see these days.