Environmental justice should be one of your top five priorities

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At the intersection of pollution and socioeconomic despair:

We can see the through lines between climate change, polluting industries, and COVID-19 at North Carolina’s numerous factory farms. These farms, which can contain millions of hogs, chickens, and turkeys, struggle to keep hazardous animal waste pits called “lagoons” from repeatedly washing away due to hurricane flooding. Toxic animal waste pollutes river basins and streams, and flows into the Atlantic Ocean, creating algal blooms that harm aquatic ecosystems. In addition, some of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in our area are with Black and Brown factory farm workers who’ve been denied proper protective equipment. Separately, factory farms, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic are all extremely dangerous; but combined, lagoons overflowed by hurricanes and the poor working conditions that sicken workers are killing people, the economy, and the ecosystem.

These problems simply cannot be fixed from the top-down. Zoning is one of the major factors in environmental injustice, and that is (for the most part) a local government function. Zoning maps that were created in the 20th Century are usually only updated every ten years or so, and those updates are "tweaks," mostly focused on expanding population. The inequities built into that system (industrial zones near black neighborhoods) rarely come under scrutiny, and the refusal to zone in unincorporated areas by county commissioners is even worse. It's a major health problem for communities of color, and has gotten worse since the NIH studied it 20 years ago:

Friday News: Racist to the core

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NC GOP MAILER HAS PICTURE OF BLACK JUDGE WHO ISN'T EVEN RUNNING THIS YEAR: The North Carolina Republican Party featured a Mecklenburg County judge who isn't even on the ballot this year on a recent political mailer, beseeching voters not to choose "liberal activist judges." Superior Court Judge Karen Eady-Williams is Black, and the North Carolina Democratic Party blasted the mailer Thursday as "just the latest racist dog whistle from the state Republican Party." "This mailer is a disgusting example of the bigotry and discrimination that has permeated the North Carolina Republican Party for years," Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin said in a statement. "It’s dishonest, deceptive and blatantly racist." North Carolina Republican Party spokesman Tim Wigginton said those "wild false accusations ... do not merit a response."
https://www.wral.com/this-judge-isn-t-on-the-ballot-but-she-s-on-a-gop-mailer/19361065/

Wayne Goodwin's Insurance Commissioner interview

#Vote GOODWIN! ... If want further evidence of experienced, qualified, competent, strong leadership if I'm reelected to a 3rd term as NC Insurance Commissioner - and a fighter for LOW RATES - then watch my 8-minutes w/ @NCCapTonight @TimBoyumTV here >> https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nc/triangle-sandhills/politics/2020/10/29/nc-insurance-commissioner-ra...
#ncpol

COVID winners: Sturm Ruger posts record-breaking profits

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The very last thing we need is more guns in circulation:

Another sharp increase in demand for firearms amid the COVID-19 pandemic and national political tension enabled Sturm, Ruger & Co. to post Wednesday a nearly fivefold hike in third-quarter net income to $24.75 million. The report was a near repeat of Ruger's second-quarter performance, which yielded a threefold profit hike to $18.6 million.

By comparison, net income a year ago was $4.82 million. The third-quarter 2020 profit was offset somewhat by Ruger paying $8.1 million in income taxes, up from $1.5 million a year ago.

That's nearly a six-fold increase in gun sales in one year. This likely has more to do with the social unrest attributed to police killings of black people than the virus itself, but don't write off the quarantine mentality completely. Curbing social interaction has a psychological toll we simply can't predict, but it's definitely not good. We talk about mass shootings in schools and other public venues as the major threat to American children. But 3 out of 4 of them are killed at home:

Thursday News: Democracy scores a victory

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SUPREME COURT RULES 5-3 TO NOT INTERVENE IN NC BALLOT DEADLINE EXTENSION: North Carolina voters will have more than a week for their ballots to reach election officials and still be counted after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene Wednesday night. The new deadline for mail-in ballots to be received is Nov. 12, though ballots must still be postmarked on or before Nov. 3, Election Day. The previous deadline for ballots to be received by local boards was Nov. 6, as set by state lawmakers. The Supreme Court declined to overturn lower court rulings in a 5-3 decision. New Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the consideration or decision. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals permitted the Nov. 12 deadline on Oct. 27.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article246660368.html

I woke up this morning

Waking up is never a sure thing for me. My family has a rich history of heart disease and every doctor I've had worries about my cholesterol.

Yesterday I had some kind of medical episode, not sure exactly what. Might have been a TIA or something similar. Might have been a panic attack, dehydration, who knows. My daughter called 911 and an ambulance came out to where we were on I40. I ended up not going to the ER, but am still a bit out of it. Life is short, that's for sure.

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