Washington County Hospital joins ranks of NC's failing rural health care system

Another victim of privatization:

Washington County Hospital CEO Melanie Perry tells WCTI in New Bern that the facility's owner has plans to resolve several problems, including dwindling medical supplies and workers not getting paid for two weeks. Empower HMS promised 50 employees that checks would arrive Monday, but staff members said they never came. There has been no word on when or if the medical supplies will be replenished.

Perry said closing the county's only hospital would be devastating to the town of Plymouth, approximately 125 miles east of Raleigh.

Before we dig deeper into this unfortunate situation, a few words on how this could have been avoided are in order. When a public (municipal) entity provides a service, whether it's health care, transportation, water & sewer, or any other critical infrastructure issue, all considerations about turning a profit (net revenue gain, if you will) or even "breaking even" should be disregarded. Providing services to citizens is what government is for, and that's why we pay taxes. And this goes double in rural areas, where the economy simply cannot support/sustain a perpetually profitable business. Had local elected officials understood that back in 2007, they might not have sold this hospital in the first place. Because once a facility like this enters the private sector, the sharks start circling:

Friday News: Too little, too slow

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GOVERNOR COOPER JOINS ENVIRONMENTALISTS IN CRITICIZING EPA GENX PLAN: Environmental groups roundly criticized a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plan on toxic chemicals like GenX on Thursday, saying it doesn't go nearly far or fast enough to address threats to health and water. Gov. Roy Cooper complained about the plan as well, saying the U.S. government's ballyhooed action plan lacked important detail and a commitment to setting standards on chemicals made in North Carolina and found in drinking water along the Cape Fear River. The EPA's plan, Cooper said in a statement, "seems to ignore the urgency of the problem." Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, the Southern Environmental Law Center and Food & Water Watch, agreed. The Environmental Working Group said the plan would allow more pollution, not less, and called President Donald Trump "the nation's first pro-cancer president."
https://www.wral.com/environmentalists-cooper-pan-new-epa-plan-on-genx-style-chemicals/18192610/

Teach For America's true colors show during strike

Just another cog in the school privatization machine:

The tensions came to a head this week when hundreds of Teach for America alumni criticized the educator placement program for suggesting corps members who strike in Oakland would lose thousands of dollars promised to them at the end of their two-year service commitment.

Teach for America said there was a misunderstanding on the guidance it provided about the strike that could start next week. It said it gave the same message to other members facing recent strikes, including in Los Angeles.

I have a very good friend who took the TFA route several years ago, after receiving her Bachelor's in Communication. Don't know all the details, but she is no longer teaching. Two years in an inner-city school burned her out like a short candle. Their five week "boot camp" doesn't even come close to preparing TFA members for that particular high-stress job, but it looks like that is not their goal anyway. Creating a teacher pool for charter schools has become their main function:

Thursday News: Break the monopoly

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GROUPS WANT STATE TO ALLOW COMPETITION FOR DUKE ENERGY: Organizers said they're not calling for deregulation but for a regulated model that allows more competition. They pointed to a number of states as examples, including Texas, Ohio, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and California. They also pointed to a recent study from the Retail Energy Supply Association that said monopoly states saw their average energy prices increase nearly 19 percent from 2008 to 2017. Prices fell 7 percent in competitive markets over the same period, the study said. This sort of shift would be a massive change, with hundreds of details. Organizers said they were working on legislation and that they had not yet lined up a sponsor to carry the bill. The state's legislative session began three weeks ago, and state leaders didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on the initial proposal.
https://www.wral.com/environmental-groups-push-to-break-duke-energy-s-monopoly/18190382/

The War on Journalists: When truth is the enemy

Philippine strongman Duterte is out of control:

The award-winning head of a Philippine online news site that has aggressively covered President Rodrigo Duterte's policies was arrested Wednesday by government agents in a libel case.

Maria Ressa, who was selected by Time magazine as one of its Persons of the Year last year, was arrested over a libel complaint from a businessman which Amnesty International has condemned as "brazenly politically motivated." Duterte's government says the arrest was a normal step in response to the complaint.

Bolding mine, because when a civil complaint (Libel), that has yet to be even proven in a court of law, is grounds for incarceration by authorities, you are not living in anywhere that remotely resembles a democracy. You're probably thinking, "This is what happens when you've got somebody like Trump in the White House," but it may actually be the other way around. Yes, Trump was outright abusive with journalists during his 2016 Campaign, but he also got some lessons from Duterte when they met in 2017:

Wednesday News: Making history, the right way

CHERI BEASLEY IS FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN FEMALE CHIEF JUSTICE: Beasley will make history as the first black woman to be the state’s top judge. “This is not the North Carolina of 200 years ago,” she said in the press conference at the Governor’s Mansion where Cooper announced her new role. Beasley has been a judge for the last 20 years and has been on the Supreme Court since 2012. She was a public defender in Fayetteville before becoming a judge. Judges in North Carolina are usually elected, not appointed. But when former Chief Justice Mark Martin announced in January that he would retire this month, to take a job leading a Virginia law school, state law gave Cooper the power to pick someone to take Martin’s place.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article226147190.html

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