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Wednesday News: One down, one to go

WARNOCK DEFEATS LOEFFLER IN GEORGIA U.S. SENATE RUNOFF: A pastor who spent the past 15 years leading the Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached, Raphael Warnock defeated Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler. It was a stinging rebuke of outgoing President Donald Trump, who made one of his final trips in office to Georgia to rally his loyal base behind Loeffler and the Republican running for the other seat, David Perdue. The focus now shifts to the second race between Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff. The candidates were locked in a tight race and it was too early to call a winner. Under Georgia law, a trailing candidate may request a recount when the margin of an election is less than or equal to 0.5 percentage points. If Ossoff wins, Democrats will have complete control of Congress, strengthening President-elect Joe Biden’s standing as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20.

Tuesday News: Rats de la peste

NC YOUNG REPUBLICANS HOLD SUPERSPREADER X-MAS WITH CAWTHORN: North Carolina’s Republicans continued in December to defy the governor’s order as well as public health recommendations by gathering without masks at a large holiday party featuring new Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn. The N.C. Federation of Young Republicans held a Christmas party on Dec. 18 in Carthage, according to 171 photographs posted on Facebook on Dec. 24. Like the GOP’s other gatherings in December, including one on Dec. 5, the people in attendance did not wear masks, shared microphones, shook hands and posed for photos with their arms around one another. Those are practices health officials discourage as the coronavirus pandemic surges to new highs.

Monday News: Six thousand, nine hundred ten


NC'S NEW CASE COUNTS TOP 9,000, OVER 3,500 HOSPITALIZED: At least 564,924 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 6,910 have died, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 6,487 new COVID-19 cases, down from 9,365 reported the day before and the record 9,527 reported Friday. A record 3,576 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Sunday. As of Friday, the latest day for which data are available, 13.6% of COVID-19 tests were positive. A national projection model from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts 1,100 more people may die from the coronavirus in North Carolina during the first three weeks of January.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


ENOUGH CLOWNING, WASHINGTON NEEDS TO GET SERIOUS ABOUT PANDEMIC RELIEF: It was the middle of May – more than seven months ago – that the House of Representatives passed a bill to provide an additional wave of COVID-19 relief to provide more stimulus for the economy and to help state and local governments, millions of unemployed workers and their families. The Senate, since receiving the bill in May, did nothing for months – no hearings on the bill; no alternative legislation; no concern for the plight of the nation’s workers and families. All the American people got was partisan posturing as U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, complained of a so-called “blue-state bailout” for state and local governments. The final passage and signing of the relief bill was the apotheosis of dysfunction that has plagued Washington amid the reign of President Trump and McConnell’s rule of the Senate.

Saturday News: If it walks like a cult...

CHARLOTTE CHURCH PLANNING ANOTHER SUPERSPREADER EVENT: A large number of people are expected to gather over the weekend at a Charlotte church that was the source of a deadly COVID-19 outbreak in October, according to local media reports. Bishop C.M. Bailey, the national leader of the United House of Prayer for All People, is planning a visit to the United House of Prayer on Beatties Ford Road Jan. 2 and 3, Fox 46 reported, citing a member of the church. His visit could draw a crowd of hundreds, WCNC reported. At least 213 COVID-19 cases have been linked to convocation events the church held in October, and 12 people have died. Health officials allowed the church to reopen just before Halloween after it agreed to certain restrictions, including capacity limits, the Observer reported.

Friday News: Bending the Arc


UNMARRIED LGBTQ PEOPLE CAN NOW FILE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTION ORDERS: LGBTQ people in North Carolina can no longer be prevented from getting domestic violence protective orders, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. North Carolina had been the only state in the country to withhold emergency protections from people seeking protection from abuse by a same-sex partner, The News & Observer reported in 2019. That kind of protection is offered to couples of the opposite sex, and to married and divorced same-sex couples, but not for same-sex couples who are dating or who used to date. But that ban is unconstitutional, the appeals court ruled in a 2-1 opinion Thursday. Attorney General Josh Stein and Gov. Roy Cooper, both Democrats, had previously called the law unconstitutional and signed briefs supporting the plaintiff in this case.

Thursday News: Just and compassionate


REP. DARREN JACKSON IS HEADED TO THE COURT OF APPEALS: Jackson will resign his seat at the legislature and has been appointed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday. “Darren Jackson has spent his legal career fighting for a more fair and just North Carolina,” Cooper said in a press release announcing the news. “His decades of experience as a lawyer and elected public servant have prepared him for the bench, and I’m grateful for his willingness to continue serving our state with honor.” Cooper is appointing Jackson to fill the empty Court of Appeals seat vacated by Phil Berger Jr., the son of Republican Senate leader Phil Berger Sr. The younger Berger won a seat on the North Carolina Supreme Court in November’s election.

Wednesday News: Let them eat cake-like substance


ALL NC'S GOP REPS IN CONGRESS VOTE AGAINST $2,000 STIMULUS CHECKS: Forty-four Republicans joined House Democrats in passing the new stimulus bill 275-134 on Monday. Of the N.C. Republicans who voted, all voted against it: Reps. Dan Bishop, Ted Budd, Virginia Foxx, George Holding, Patrick McHenry, Richard Hudson, Greg Murphy and David Rouzer. (GOP Rep. Mark Walker of the 6th District, who’s leaving office, did not vote, and the 11th District seat is vacant until newly elected Republican Madison Cawthorn is sworn in next month.) Politico reported that Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has threatened to filibuster an override of the defense bill unless Senate Republicans schedule a floor vote on the $2,000 stimulus measure. Spokesmen for GOP Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis of North Carolina could not be reached Tuesday.

Tuesday News: Get with the programming


NC'S UNEMPLOYED WILL SEE DELAY IN NEWLY EXTENDED BENEFITS: State and federal officials started that conversation Monday as the federal government worked up the fine print on a $900 billion coronavirus stimulus bill that President Donald Trump signed into law Sunday. His signature, delayed several days as the president threatened a veto, came a day after previous federal unemployment extensions expired. Now comes a rollout for the new program, then people get their 11-week extensions and the $300-a-week boost included in the bill. "The N.C. Division of Employment Security is reviewing the new unemployment provisions of the federal COVID-19 relief bill and preparing to reprogram its system to process claims for the additional benefits," agency spokeswoman Kerry McComber said via email. "These benefits cannot be paid until official guidance is received and the benefits system is reprogrammed." The division told claimants earlier on Monday that it didn't expect all of that guidance to come until next month.

Monday News: Six thousand, five hundred forty nine


OVER 516,000 NC CITIZENS HAVE TESTED POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS: At least 516,828 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 6,549 have died, according to state health officials. On Saturday, the department reported 19,419 new COVID-19 cases over a three-day period. The department did not provide coronavirus data Thursday or Friday because of the Christmas holiday. About 11.9% of tests were reported positive as of Friday, the latest day for which data are available. On Sunday, 3,123 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 in North Carolina. That’s 25 patients higher than the previous hospitalizations record of 3,098, which was reported three days earlier.


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