Local News Roundup: Budget Spat Between CMS, County Resolved; Hannah-Jones Turns Down UNC, Delta Variant Becomes Dominant

On the Local News Roundup: the budget impasse between Mecklenburg County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has been resolved. CMS will get the $56 million in retained funds — and more.

Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones rejects UNC Chapel Hill’s delayed offer of tenure after a weekslong debate. The Chapel Hill alum opts to teach at Howard University, instead.

Just when we start reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic, the highly contagious delta variant emerges as the dominant strain in the nation. Meanwhile, COVID-related hospitalization in Mecklenburg County are at all-time lows.

And Mecklenburg County health director Gibbie Harris announces she’s retiring at the end of the year.

Our roundtable of reporters fills us in on those stories and more.

Guests

Claire Donnelly, WFAE health reporter

Nick Ochsner, WBTV’s executive producer for investigations & chief investigative reporter

Mary C. Curtis, columnist for CQ Roll Call and host of its podcast “Equal Time with Mary C. Curtis,” and a senior leader with The OpEd Project.

Hunter Saenz, WCNC reporter

Who is afraid of critical race theory?

Even as the U.S. will likely have a federal holiday to mark June 19th or Juneteenth — an important date not a part of many history books — battles over teaching race continue. After the murder of George Floyd, many sought to learn lessons that were absent in the traditional white-washed version of American history taught for generations.

But educating students about race — what some call critical race theory — has become another flashpoint in the culture wars pitting red against blue. Mary C. Curtis talks with education policy expert Jazmyne Owens of New America about why some states are trying to ban the teaching of systemic racism and what it will mean if they succeed.

A Jan. 6 report should be just the beginning. Just like the riot was

The details are scary, but not surprising to some of us.

Capitol Police intelligence officers had warnings as early as Dec. 21 of what was going to happen on Jan. 6 at the Capitol: Pro-Trump protesters were planning to “bring guns” and other weapons to confront the police — the “blue” that conservatives swear they “back.” Lawmakers were in danger of being trapped and harmed while doing the job they were elected to do, certifying the election of President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (though quite a few Republicans shamefully failed even that routine task post-insurrection). Conspirators giddily shared maps and discussed entry points.

And nothing.

A few Capitol Police command officers did get some information, which they failed to share widely. According to the department’s statement: “Neither the USCP, nor the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, Metropolitan Police or our other law enforcement partners knew thousands of rioters were planning to attack the U.S. Capitol. The known intelligence simply didn’t support that conclusion.”

Known intelligence? Anyone paying attention to the social media bragging of self-styled “militia” members, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, red-state secession groupies, white supremacists and their ilk could have figured it out. Those swept up in QAnon delusions and Donald Trump’s “big lie” of a stolen election excitedly posted travel plans and loving photos of weaponry, all shiny and ready for action. The dry run of a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., where a woman was killed, happened in 2017 — and that was over a statue. And just last year, armed Michigan militia members swarmed a state capital and plotted to kidnap a governor.

In preparation for the insurrection, Trump himself issued a pretty vivid invitation, one of several: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” he tweeted on Dec. 19. “Be there, will be wild!”

USDA and Black farmers

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack sits down with Mary C. Curtis to discuss Black farmers and the USDA plan to provide debt relief to socially disadvantaged borrowers through the March COVID-19 relief law.

That means Black farmers who have lost 90 percent of their land in the last century, in large part because of USDA policies, may receive compensation. The administration says equity is overdue and this is just the beginning. But many white farmers and banks have objections.

‘If racism is a lie, how has it been sustained, institutionalized and structured in America?’

Racial equity is front and center for the Biden administration. That said, how does the nation begin to dismantle centuries of ingrained policies?

Mary C. Curtis talks to award-winning social change agent Dr. Gail C. Christopher in this episode. Christopher has some compelling ideas and is working with Congress to try to change policies that enable racism and inequity to flourish, and transform a belief system that values some lives over others.

Actress Alicia Cole Becomes Patient Advocate After Surviving Flesh-Eating Disease, Near Fatal Infections

COVID-19 ‘s disproportionate impact on communities of color has forced the nation to confront how systemic racism has shaped both health and health care in this country.

In this four-part discussion series, host Mary C. Curtis will talk to advocates and experts about how structural and institutional racism has impacted the health care system and about what can be done to change it.

The series is brought to you by WFAE, Everyday Health, the health information giant; and ClearHealthCosts, an organization that creates transparency about medical costs.

In the second discussion Curtis talks to actress Alicia Cole who developed flesh-eating disease, sepsis and three life-threatening antibiotic-resistant infections after a minor surgery in 2006. The racial bias Cole said she encountered during her treatment prompted her to become a patient safety advocate. While still bedridden and recovering from six additional surgeries, Cole used a talk-to-type program to blog about her experience and call improvements in the health care system. She co-sponsored and lobbied successfully for passage of two California patient protection laws. Cole works with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others.

Tech Entrepreneur Netia McCray Discusses Surviving COVID-19

COVID-19 ‘s disproportionate impact on communities of color has forced the nation to confront how systemic racism has shaped both health and health care in this country.

In this four-part discussion series, host Mary C. Curtis will talk to advocates and experts about how structural and institutional racism has impacted the health care system and about what can be done to change it.

The series is brought to you by WFAE, Everyday Health, the health information giant; and ClearHealthCosts, an organization that creates transparency about medical costs.

In the first discussion Curtis and Netia McCray discuss McCray’s battle with COVID-19 and her difficulty getting a correct diagnosis and proper treatment even as she struggled to breathe and even passed out. Feeling hopeless after multiple visits to the doctor and hospital, McCray asked her partner to help put her affairs in order because she was convinced she would die.

The Heat: Trump, Biden final debate

US President Trump and democratic challenger Joe Biden are back on the campaign trail, hoping to gain momentum from their last debate. The two men debated each other on a number of issues in Nashville, Tennessee – challenging each other’s views on COVID-19, immigration and racial disparities in the United States.

CGTN’s White House Correspondent Nathan King reports.

Joining the discussion:

  • Mary C. Curtis is a columnist for Roll Call and the host of the “Equal Time” podcast.
  • Joel Rubin is a Democratic strategist and President of Washington Strategy Group.
  • Amy Holmes is a writer for HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” and a political columnist.
  • Eric Bolling is a political commentator and Host of “America This Week.”

‘Republicans often racialize poverty. Democrats often run from poverty’

MacArthur “genius” grantee, founder of Repairers of the Breach, and organizer of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, Rev. William J Barber II has made eradicating poverty his life’s work. He sits down with host Mary C. Curtis for a candid and surprising conversation.

What’s in a name? Identity, pride and love. Ask Kamala Harris

Every person’s name is special. It demands respect.

I learned how seriously I felt about that at a pre-coronavirus conference, when a speaker who fancied himself Don Rickles but came off more like the rude uncle at a holiday party, prefaced his remarks with a self-styled roast. It supposedly poked “fun” at the attendees, including, apparently, those he barely knew. (And frankly, except for an occasional greeting at conferences past, I did not know this man from a can of paint.)