UNC officials pay lip service to health department concerns

Plunging ahead with in-person instruction during a pandemic:

In the memo, Stewart expressed concern over signs returning students have already contributed to spikes and clusters of infections. She recommended an all-online fall semester or, at a minimum, holding the first five weeks of the semester online-only. She also recommended the school restrict on-campus housing to those who would otherwise have nowhere to live, in order to slow community spread of the disease.

The chancellor described the Orange County Health Department’s recommendations as “another piece of information we have received.” But after consulting with UNC health experts and the UNC System — which will make the final decision on closures — the university decided not to follow the health department recommendations.

When (not if) the outbreaks occur, faculty and students will have to scramble (again) to adapt to online instruction, and the UNC Hospital itself will likely be buried in older Orange County residents unnecessarily infected. And if it is, they need to treat those people for free. I know it's a teaching hospital that also relies (at least partly) on tuition monies, but health issues should be paramount. And these comments will not age well:

Friday News: Kakistocracy, continued

LOUIS DEJOY IS WREAKING HAVOC AT THE POSTAL SERVICE: Critics say the Greensboro businessman already has launched policies that have slowed mail service. They worry that as a major donor to President Donald Trump, he’ll delay delivery of what’s expected to be a flood of absentee ballots that could decide the presidential election. “DeJoy has engineered an unconstitutional assault on our Postal Service from within the organization itself,” said Democratic Rep. Alma Adams of Charlotte. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had a “heated discussion” with DeJoy Wednesday over their concerns about mail delivery, according to the Washington Post. DeJoy, 63, could not be reached. But in a statement last week, he said the postal system is “financially unsustainable” stemming from “a broken business model.” He promised to fix it.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article244724002.html

Exploring the impact of misinformation on the general public

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It is everywhere, but is it working?

Professors at Duke University gathered for a panel on digital disinformation and so called "fake news," addressing the various challenges it poses to society and how it might be addressed. Bill Adair, a professor of journalism at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy, said that digital misinformation has begun to spread throughout every facet of the world.

"We just see in every corner of the world, in every corner of our lives ... there is just so much misinformation," he said. "It pops up in such insidious ways. It’s really scary.”

It is scary. But possibly the scariest aspect of this issue is the inevitable trend for people to (eventually) disbelieve everything they read, regardless of the bonafides of the source. Sowing distrust is a major goal of many of the players (Russia in particular), and it will be hard as hell to track the responsibility for that back to the original sources of misinformation. But at least one Duke researcher doesn't believe it's having much impact on opinions:

Day 144

I read this week on Thom Trump's "about" Facebook page that he's a husband, a father, and a grandfather. That blows me away. As all three of those things myself, I can't imagine embracing the kind of arrogant irresponsibility I see every day in Tillis. He supports policies that count on future generations being able to climb out of the holes he's digging today. Trillions in new debt. Reckless environmental policy. Privatization of public assets. Bald-faced corruption. A culture of lying.

Thursday News: Five more weeks

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GOVERNOR COOPER EXTENDS PHASE 2 RESTRICTIONS UNTIL SEPTEMBER 11: The new order means bars, gyms, movie theaters and amusement parks — places where people are usually in closer contact — will now be closed for nearly six straight months. Gatherings are still limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, with some exceptions. As many university campuses and K-12 public schools begin fall classes this month with some in-person instruction, Cooper said it's important to keep the same social distancing restrictions in place. Retaining the other restrictions will help counterbalance the higher risk associated with bringing together students, the governor said. “There are key openings already occurring this month,” Cooper said at a media briefing, and with “the hustle and bustle of opening schools, people will move around more, and so will the virus.”
https://www.wral.com/business-assembly-and-mask-mandates-extended-longer-in-n-c/19221561/

Missouri moves to expand Medicaid to a quarter of a million citizens

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It's (long) past time for North Carolina to follow suit:

Missouri voters on Tuesday approved Medicaid expansion to many of the state’s poorest adults, making their conservative state the second to join the Obamacare program through the ballot during the pandemic.

The Missouri ballot measure expands Medicaid to about 230,000 low-income residents at a time when the state’s safety net health care program is already experiencing an enrollment surge tied to the pandemic’s economic upheaval. The measure was supported by 53 percent of voters.

This has always been a no-brainer, but the NC GOP's stubborn resistance to anything Obama-related has deprived over half a million of our fellow NC'ians their health and their very lives. I've published the following here before, but here's an Op-Ed I wrote a year ago that never made it past the mainstream media gatekeepers:

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