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Monday News: Five thousand thirty four

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CORONAVIRUS RAGES ACROSS NC, 4,514 NEW CASES YESTERDAY: At least 336,775 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 5,034 have died, according to health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 4,514 new COVID-19 cases, up from 3,415 reported Saturday and breaking the state’s previous record of 4,296 cases reported Thursday. As of Sunday, 1,571 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19. State officials last week said patient counts would be higher due to a change in how the federal government reports hospital stays. About 7.1% of tests were reported positive on Friday, the latest day for which data are available.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article247359904.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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JOSH STEIN: HARD WORK MADE NC ELECTIONS "BUSINESS AS USUAL" IN VERY UNUSUAL TIME: When historians reflect on 2020, there will be plenty to characterize as unprecedented, out of the ordinary, and extreme. The North Carolina State Board of Elections’ approach to handling the election during a pandemic – despite histrionic partisan claims to the contrary – will not fall into that category. The board was charged with administering an election amid circumstances unlike any we’ve ever experienced. We take for granted just how complicated and miraculous a safe, fair, and free election where every legal vote is counted really is – even during a normal year. But pulling that off in the midst of the deadliest pandemic in a century? It was quite a tall order. When you look at the facts, you see that in the 2020 election, five and a half million North Carolinians, 75 percent of those registered, voted – the highest voter turnout percentage in over a century. It is as remarkable as it is boring – against all odds, exactly what is supposed to happen in an election happened. The process was fair, and the people spoke. I believe history will judge it the same way.
https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/josh-stein-hard-work-made-n-c-elections-business-as-usual-in-very-u...

Saturday News: Insurrectionists

WHITE SUPREMACIST/NEO NAZI CELL ARRESTED ON WEAPONS CHARGES: While the firearms charges against Duncan, Collins and Kryscuk were previously disclosed, Friday's release represents the first time prosecutors referred to the group's “ties to white supremacy.” According to the indictment, Collins posted frequently on the online message board platform called Iron March, which prosecutors said was used by neo-Nazi and white supremacy extremist groups. Collins spoke of recruiting for a group he described as “a modern day SS” located in the Northeast, and in 2016, he posted that he was organizing a paramilitary force. The indictment said Collins and Kryscuk would eventually discuss the three steps they felt were necessary to effect the change in the country they were seeking, including “knocking down The System, mounting it and smashing (its) face until it has been beaten past the point of death.”
https://www.wral.com/prosecutors-men-in-gun-conspiracy-had-white-supremacy-ties/19395165/

Friday News: 306-232=74

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JOE BIDEN OFFICIALLY DECLARED WINNER OF GEORGIA: Joe Biden has won Georgia and its 16 electoral votes, an extraordinary victory for Democrats who pushed to expand their electoral map through the Sun Belt. The win by Biden pads his Electoral College margin of victory over President Donald Trump. Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election on Nov. 7 after flipping Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin to the Democrats’ column. Biden now has 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. Trump won Georgia by 5 percentage points in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Georgia hadn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since Bill Clinton in 1992.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article247305899.html

Thursday News: Let's be blunt

STATE CRIMINAL JUSTICE PANEL CALLS FOR DECRIMINALIZATION OF MARIJUANA: A panel appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper called Wednesday for decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, saying arrests for such crimes disproportionately affect Black residents. The North Carolina Task Force for Racial Equity in Criminal Justice, which is chaired by Attorney General Josh Stein and Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls, also called for studying the prospect of further legalizing the cultivation, sale and possession of marijuana in the state. "You cannot talk about improving racial equity in our criminal justice system without talking about marijuana," Stein said in a statement. "White and Black North Carolinians use marijuana at similar rates, yet Black people are disproportionately arrested and sentenced."
https://www.wral.com/state-panel-calls-for-not-prosecuting-possession-of-small-amounts-of-marijuana/...

Wednesday News: Silencing voices of dissent

THREE ARRESTED AFTER NC SENATOR-ELECT GALEY REFUSES TO ALLOW PUBLIC COMMENTS: Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement wanted to express their dismay at being pepper sprayed during a march to the polls two weeks ago. But the chair of the all-Republican board, Amy Scott Galey, brought the meeting to a close before they got a chance to approach the podium. Among the things they wanted to talk about was the sheriff’s (Terry Johnson) deputies use of force on them. They felt that public officials had become inaccessible after they, and some of their children, were pepper sprayed Oct. 31, in an incident that attracted national attention. Within minutes, three people attending the meeting were in handcuffs. The sheriff’s office did not respond to The News & Observer’s request for an interview about Monday’s arrests.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article247234579.html

Tuesday News: Status Quagmire

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LITTLE TIMMY MOORE RE-ELECTED AS SPEAKER OF THE NC HOUSE: Incoming North Carolina House Republicans in a meeting Monday formally backed Speaker Tim Moore to lead their chamber for another two years, a result of the GOP expanding their majority in the Nov. 3 election. The fact that “we actually expanded our numbers shows that we have a mandate to continue the legislative leadership that we’ve had,” Moore said at a news conference at state GOP headquarters, where returning House Republicans met and approved his nomination by acclamation. “We'll continue to do all we can to to allow the ‘Old North State' to be even greater." Moore, 50, joined the House in 2003 and became rules committee chairman under then-Speaker Thom Tillis. Moore succeeded Tillis in 2015 when Tillis moved to the U.S. Senate.
https://www.wral.com/moore-poised-to-win-record-tying-fourth-term-as-n-c-speaker/19388670/

Monday News: Four thousand, eight hundred six

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NC SEES RECORD DAILY POSITIVES, OVER 312,000 HAVE BEEN INFECTED: At least 312,235 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 4,806 have died, according to health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 3,117 new COVID-19 cases, down from 3,885 reported the day before and the third-highest daily total since the start of the pandemic. Saturday’s case count set a single-day record in North Carolina. Previously the record was 3,119 cases, reported on Wednesday. At least 1,395 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday. About 7.9% of tests were reported positive as of Friday, the latest day for which data are available.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article247205784.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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VOTERS TO LEGISLATORS: STOP FIGHTING THE GOVERNOR, COOPERATE AND COMPROMISE: We hear a clear message from North Carolinians in their vote for governor. They want a government that meets the state’s needs with quality services and is striving for the best – whether that be schools, health services, economic opportunity or quality of life. They have had enough of the legislature’s wasteful, bargain-basement mediocracy. Being just OK, muddled and middling, isn’t good enough and doesn’t meet the expectations of the electorate. This means that there needs to be an end to legislative leaders take-it or leave-it modus operandi. It is time for legislators to work WITH the governor and not uncompromisingly against him. When the General Assembly convenes on Jan. 13, 2021, Berger and Moore should signal, in clear terms., they have abandoned their chintzy, cut-rate, run-of-the-mill expectations and they, too, want excellence for North Carolina.
https://www.wral.com/coronavirus/editorial-voters-to-legislators-stop-fighting-governor-cooperate-an...

Saturday News: Headed for a recount

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BEASLEY AND NEWBY SWAP LEADS BACK AND FORTH, ONLY 100 VOTE MARGIN: The race for Supreme Court chief justice was going down to the wire Friday as county boards of election continued to count absentee ballots into the night. Chief Justice Cheri Beasley, a Democrat, and Justice Paul Newby, a Republican, traded leads multiple times Friday. Newby led most of the afternoon and into the evening. Around 8 p.m., Beasley took back the lead over Newby with just 100 votes, after Guilford County’s canvass had been reported. State law allows a candidate to request a recount in statewide races if they are trailing their opponent by less than 0.5% or 10,000 votes, whichever is less. The Republican Party announced last week that leaders already had met to start fundraising for a recount in the Supreme Court race.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article247124949.html

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