Monday News: Six-figure nightmare


NC WILL PASS 100,000 INFECTED WITH CORONAVIRUS TODAY: At least 99,778 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 1,634 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported an additional 1,820 cases of the virus, down from a record 2,481 on Saturday. That total surpassed the previous record of 2,462 set July 11. Five additional deaths were reported Sunday. The health department on Sunday reported completing an additional 15,721 COVID-19 tests for a total of more than 1.3 million. About 9% of tests were positive Friday and Saturday, up from 7% on Thursday. At least 1,115 North Carolinians were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday, down from 1,154 on Saturday, according to state data.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


NC SENATE--STOP PLAYING GAMES WITH LOBBYISTS, ACT TO PROTECT CONSUMERS: In mid-May, as the COVID pandemic-related financial challenges hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians were about to face came into focus, the state House of Representatives passed without a dissenting vote, a bill to protect consumers from debt settlement companies. These companies exploited a couple of loopholes in current state law that otherwise prohibit such practices. They particularly target over-extended borrowers such as those in the military services as well as those who, because of unexpected health care costs, overextend their consumer credit and need debt relief. Days after the legislation was filed, settlement companies engaged at least nine lobbyists – most with deep ties to Republican legislators or the state GOP -- to fight the bill. And it’s working. Stop playing hide-and-seek and bring the bill to the Senate floor. Pass House Bill 1067, “Modernize Debt Settlement Prohibition.”

Saturday News: Pork for Texas?


LAST MINUTE ADDITION TO BILL IS TAILORED TO TEXAS IT COMPANY: The state Department of Public Safety actively opposed a $1.8 million allocation for a new prison management software program that it says was designed to “select one specific vendor.” The provision was tacked onto an unrelated purchasing and contracting bill, House Bill 902, and passed through the legislature at 2 a.m. in the final hours of June’s session. But Sen. Jim Perry, R-Lenoir, who worked with Steinburg on the bill, said the language “doesn’t pick a vendor, this says ‘you guys get a consultant and you make the decision.’” The goal of the vendor requirements is to ensure it’s “somebody who’s got a track record,” he added. The prison system is also voicing other concerns about the project, including deadlines that require the new software to be up and running by Oct. 15. Bull called the deadlines “unrealistic and impossible to meet.”

Notes from the Kakistocracy: Trump's vaccine czar won't disclose investments

Billions of taxpayer dollars and thousands of lives are at stake:

The scientist leading the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine program will be allowed to remain a government contractor, a decision that permits him to avoid ethics disclosures required of federal employees and maintain his investments in pharmaceutical companies.

Two prominent watchdog groups as well as some Democrats in Congress had called for the Department of Health and Human Services to require that the scientist, Dr. Moncef Slaoui, a venture capitalist and a former executive at the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, fall under the same ethics rules as federal employees.

And why are only Democrats in Congress worried about this? Rhetorical question, we all know why. The GOP has hitched its horse to a corrupt President, and it will go wherever he tells it to. This situation is ripe for conflicts of interest, but aside from the corrupt aspects, the end goal of securing and producing a vaccine is put in jeopardy by those conflicts:

Friday News: Vaguebooking


BERGER CRITICIZES "BLANKET" SOLUTIONS, WANTS FULL-TIME SCHOOLS: "If you're practicing the social distancing and doing all the other things, it just strikes me that that's not a higher risk situation," Berger said. Berger spoke with WRAL News Wednesday for a back-to-school special that aired Thursday night. He also discussed the state's mask mandate, saying businesses should have the option of requiring them but that a government mandate "seems to me to cut against the grain." He acknowledged COVID-19 as a serious public health crisis, but said "we have failed to address that problem in a way that really targets the more serious adverse consequences." "We've allowed sort of blanket solutions, and those blanket solutions, I believe, have missed the mark in probably a majority of situations," he said.


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