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.

BERGERMOORE WANTS TO FURTHER POLITICIZE NC SUPREME COURT: North Carolina legislators are mulling a new law requiring state Supreme Court justices to sign court orders by name so that the public knows how each justice decided an issue, Senate Republican leader Phil Berger said Thursday. Final decisions in cases that come before the high court are often accompanied by signed opinions laying out what the justices think, but some orders are simply issued “for the court” and signed only by the most junior justice. That was the case with an order this month delaying North Carolina’s primary elections while the courts decide whether voting maps drawn by the legislature’s Republican majority are constitutional. The anonymity led to calls for more transparency and a federal lawsuit filed by one of North Carolina’s Republican members of Congress. That was not a decision on the merits of the case, but on the importance of deciding those merits before voting takes place. The "reasons" for the delay are obvious to everybody, whether they admit it or not.

THE CITY OF RALEIGH IS GOING AHEAD WITH SUPERSPREADER EVENT DOWNTOWN FESTIVAL: With cases of the coronavirus continuing to spread, the downtown WRAL First Night celebration has announced that there will be on-site testing for COVID-19. The event is requiring those in attendance to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test. On-site testing will be provided by Mako Medical and will cost $30 per test. North Carolina shattered a record for the number of new cases Thursday. The state reported more than 18,000 positive cases, beating the previous record by almost 7,000 cases. Artsplosure, the City of Raleigh and WRAL are partners in the annual New Year's Eve celebration, which has historically drawn tens of thousands of people to multiple indoor and outdoor venues throughout the day on Dec. 31. All attendees (ages 6+) will need to provide one of the following (even with new 100% outdoors setting): Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 OR Negative COVID-19 test from any official testing site within 48 hours. Home test results will not be accepted. Masks are "highly recommended" but not required outdoors. I'm tempted to show up in full HazMat gear, just to remind people we're in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

THE FEDERAL CHILD TAX CREDIT EXPIRES TODAY: The monthly payments from the expanded child tax credit that have been given to roughly 35 million families in the U.S. during the pandemic will expire at the end of the month, after Congress failed to renew the program that would have been part of the Build Back Better plan. The payments, which ranged from $250 to $300, started going out in July. Aside from increasing payments, the expanded program sent checks out monthly, and it broadened the number of families who were eligible. Studies have shown that the monthly payments have helped to significantly reduce child poverty and child hunger in the country. The White House says the program would have the potential to could cut child poverty in half. Pediatrician Dr. Megan Sandel, who runs Boston Medical Center's GROW Clinic to help malnourished children, says the monthly payments helped families get back on their feet. "A lot of that has to do with being able to have that consistent check every month that they know they're getting," Dr. Sandel told NPR earlier this month. But hunger in the U.S. is worsening just as the monthly payments are ending. The Census Bureau estimated that more than 21 million Americans didn't have enough to eat in early December, a five-month high. 2022 is shaping up to be the Year of Hunger, thanks to Joe F**king Manchin.

GHISLAINE MAXWELL IS GOING TO PRISON FOR THE REST OF HER SORDID LIFE: Maxwell, 60, an Oxford-educated former socialite who spent years on the party circuit with some of the world’s wealthiest and most influential figures, was found guilty Wednesday of grooming and trafficking teenagers for multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, her longtime boyfriend and employer, who died by suicide while facing his own sex trafficking indictment in 2019. The verdict, reached after a month-long trial, may come to serve as a road map for future prosecutions against systemic sex abuse facilitators, legal analysts said. Maxwell was convicted of roping in girls as young as 14 over a roughly 10-year period between the mid-1990s and 2000s. To prove its case against Maxwell, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan presented several accusers who gave emotional testimony about Maxwell’s role in their experience with Epstein — recruiting them, arranging their travel, booking their “massage” appointments and testing their willingness to engage in sexual acts with adults. Three of the four accusers described unwanted sexual touching by Maxwell herself. Penza said that when high-powered male abusers have women like Maxwell at their side, “it really is a very disarming factor” to young victims. Without the women “normalizing” the interactions, “none of these men would have been able to commit the crimes that they did.” While jurors did not hear from Giuffre at the trial, they learned from a former Epstein employee who took the witness stand that Maxwell first met and recruited Giuffre by approaching her outside Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach estate owned by former president Donald Trump. Why am I not surprised at that. "We both like them young." Trump belongs in jail also.