Monday News: Confederacy of dunces

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ACTIVISTS RALLY IN HILLSBOROUGH AGAINST RACISM AND VIOLENCE: Saturday’s rally — held by the Hate-Free Schools Coalition, local NAACP chapters, North Carolinians Against Gun Violence and other groups — was a culmination of a week of national mourning, after two mass shootings in the U.S. A local conflict also was on their minds, one that involved Hillsborough business owner Matthew Shepherd and pro-Confederate demonstrators. Hillsborough has been a target for pro-Confederate protests for the past few years after Orange County officials took steps to limit Confederate flags and symbols in the area. And late last month, after encountering a pro-Confederate demonstration near his chocolate shop, Matthew’s Chocolate’s, Shepherd put out a sign that read: “Burn a Rebel Flag… Get a Free Chocolate!” The sign went viral after three Confederate flag bearers stood behind it and posted it to social media. Shepherd later received death threats.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article233747937.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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MASS SHOOTINGS CAN HAPPEN HERE. COMMON SENSE ACTION IS NEEDED NOW: We’re angered that, amid the recriminations and speeches, the calls for change and action will be muted by the political maneuvering of the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers. Soon, it will be back to business as usual for those who should know better and who need to act. It is past time to get something done. In much of the world, news of mass killings comes from places in the midst of civil wars, international conflicts or violent rebellion. Weapons of mass destruction are car bombs; explosive vests worn by suicidal partisans; or combatants armed with military weapons. In the United States news of rampages comes from places of peace where people are doing back-to-school shopping, spending an evening out on the town or celebrating local heritage. The weapons of mass destruction can be purchased at a local sporting goods store by almost anyone.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-mass-shootings-they-can-happen-here-common-sense-action-is-needed-now...

Wealthy pedophile and child sex-trafficker hangs himself in jail

Not shedding any tears for this piece of trash:

Jeffrey Epstein, the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges last month, committed suicide at a Manhattan jail, officials said on Saturday.

Manhattan federal prosecutors last month charged Mr. Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking of girls as young as 14, and details of his behavior have been emerging for years. Mr. Epstein, a financier with opulent homes, a private jet and access to elite circles, had been dogged for decades by accusations that he had paid dozens of girls for sexual acts in Florida.

Don't say I never post good news or upbeat stories and such. This is better than a baker's dozen of fluffy bunnies.

Saturday News: Folwell flinches

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STANDOFF OVER NEW STATE EMPLOYEE HEALTH PLAN IS OVER, FOR NOW: The State Treasurer announced a new move Thursday to ensure that the health insurance plan covering more than 720,000 teachers and other state employees will include major N.C. hospital systems as in-network facilities. Two big providers for the Charlotte area, Atrium Health and Novant Health, said the new deal means they will remain in-network for state employees next year. Duke Health also said it will be in-network. The new plan will let those health care systems and other providers that didn’t sign on to State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s proposal of state-set prices for medical service to keep their existing agreements with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Blue Cross Blue Shield administers the state insurance plan.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article233673197.html

Prepare for the worst

Dan Forest with his tRump Bonespurs asking, where's my golden shower?

Next Saturday, August 17, Photo Opportunist Dan Forest will officially launch his campaign for governor. We say "officially" because running for governor is pretty much all Dan Forest has done since he was elected to the least relevant job in state government. Week in and week out, Forest slimes around the state, getting his picture taken by lily white interns standing next to people who seldom realize they're being mugged.

Association Health Plans are still a bad idea

You're probably better off with no insurance at all:

These types of plans were nixed under the Affordable Care Act, which required all insurance policies to contain 10 essential benefits and disallowed so-called “skinny” plans that provide little beyond basic catastrophic coverage, if that.

Association health plans were green-lighted again under an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in October 2017, which was seen by many as a way of undermining former President Barack Obama’s ACA. But the plans also come with a host of caveats. They make some observers nervous because in the past association health plans have produced substandard policies that left some patients with big bills or skyrocketing premiums.

All insurance "pools" are a rarefied version of a Ponzi scheme, but these association health plans are even more so. There's simply not enough money in the pot to pay off all the losers if there's even a slight bump in the percentage of catastrophic health treatments, and the fact these "skinny" plans don't cover well care visits or other prophylactic measures actually increases that likelihood. Instead of fast-tracking boondoggles like this, which will likely only be tempting to those who make over the ACA subsidy threshold, the NCGA should be expanding Medicaid to cover those in the gap. And before approving AHPs, they need to wait and see how the courts and Federal government decide this issue:

Friday News: Tainted money magnet

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DAN FOREST FORCED TO RETURN $15,000 IN CAMPAIGN DONATIONS: N.C. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican who plans to run for governor in 2020 against Democrat Roy Cooper, has been forced to forfeit thousands of dollars due to campaign finance violations. An audit of Forest’s campaign by the North Carolina State Board of Elections found numerous violations. In all, Forest resolved the audit by giving up more than $15,000. Most of the money the Forest campaign had to forfeit came from conservative groups that operate in federal politics but weren’t properly registered to get involved in state politics. That included $5,000 from a group whose name appears to have been listed as a misspelling of the EnergySolutions Inc. Fund For Effective Government, which supports electric utility companies, $2,500 from the Susan B. Anthony List, which opposes abortion, and $500 from a group called Citizens for Constitutional Liberties.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article233652187.html

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