Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 10:09am

Mandating a failing system:

The state budget that Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law earlier this month includes a provision requiring the State Board of Education to authorize two online charter schools to serve K-12 students by next fall.

In drafting the budget provision for the virtual charter schools, lawmakers ignored many of the education board's recommendations. For example, lawmakers allowed the online schools to receive both state and local funding for students, while regular charter schools receive only state money. State law also lets the online schools enroll more students and have more students drop out than educators wanted.

Bolding mine. When your pet project (K12 Inc) has so many shortcomings and faults it can't meet even the minimum standards of being authorized, what do you do? You either lower the standards or you force the authorizing body to acquiesce via government fiat. Adding to the ever-growing list of behaviors exhibited by our General Assembly that closely resemble that of Third-World tyrants.

BlueNC @
Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 8:23am

For Tar Heel time, set your clock back 100 years (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- For many years, North Carolina was known as the Rip Van Winkle state because it was so backward. Stingy public officials and business tycoons wanted low wages and low taxes so there was little investment in civic needs. Roads and other public facilities were ignored while education of the state’s youth was minimal. The state was governed by the whims of a plutocracy of landed aristocrats, then tobacco barons, monopoly industrialists and eventually bankers and insurance executives. They had little use for an educated workforce or civic infrastructure. Too often they viewed things through a racist or misogynistic prism. The constitution of 1898, established after the political coup in Wilmington, effectively suppressed African-American voting.

What you should read to get ready for the fall elections (Washington Post) -- Labor Day is almost here, which means the 2014 midterms are only slightly more than two months away. Unfortunately, political consultants have not found a way to make summer not precede fall, so it is likely that you and many of your fellow voters haven't paid much attention to politics or polls since the solstice. Fortunately for you, many reporters and election aficionados have. Here are a few of their recommendations; some are on specific races, some tackle the big picture, some are on the midterms, some are on American politics writ large, some are long, some short -- all are quite good. The New Racism: This is how the civil rights movement ends -- The New Republic: I'd recommend Jason Zengerle's recent cover story in The New Republic: "The New Racism: This is how the civil rights movement ends." In it, Jason details how a generation of African American lawmakers in the South feel as though they're watching the political progress they took years to build vanish practically overnight. It's a rich, historical narrative that describes a hugely important shift in American politics. And it's a compelling read.

Daily dose
James @
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 4:52pm

Friday, August 29, 2014 - 2:07pm

"Percentages by themselves, Holian warns, can be a bit misleading..."

Fact Check: Does Hagan vote with Obama 95 percent of time?

WHERE THEY COME FROM: The percentages in question come from rankings published by Congressional Quarterly, a magazine popular among political junkies. The raw data from the rankings are behind a paywall but have been referenced frequently by political journalists.

This isn't a measure of all votes cast in the Senate. Rather, CQ starts keeps track of any bill on which the president has taken a public position. According to CQ, Obama has taken a position on 37 percent of all Senate votes if you count nominations, about 17 percent if you include only legislation.

Friday, August 29, 2014 - 11:06am

So this:

Constitutional amendment providing that a person accused of any criminal offense for which the State is not seeking a sentence of death in superior court may, in writing or on the record in court and with the consent of the trial judge, waive the person's right to a trial by jury.

... will be on the ballot statewide in November.

Why is it on the ballot? And who is it meant to help or harm? Where can I go to educate myself on this issue?

Friday, August 29, 2014 - 11:00am

Which is becoming a habit with mainstream media:

A top executive at a North Carolina paving company has pleaded guilty in federal court in what prosecutors say was an $87 million scheme involving government-funded road construction projects.

Carl Andrew Boggs III pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of Transportation and money laundering. The 50-year-old from Waxhaw is president and part owner of Boggs Paving, Inc. He now faces up to 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

And not one word about Boggs hosting a campaign fundraiser for Gubernatorial candidate McCrory, during the time Boggs was ripping off the Federal government, no less. If this had been Bev Perdue or Mike Easley, the press would be all over this connection like flies on dog poop. Infuriating.

James @
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 8:52am

Film crew leaves and Charlotte's out $40 million (Fayetteville Observer) -- The first reviews are in and they're bad: The audience walked out. The sequels may be worse. Somebody needs to rewrite the script. Fast.

N.C. official rebuts environmentalists' coal-ash claims (Greensboro News & Record) -- The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources fired back Thursday at claims by environmentalists that it has failed to enforce clean-water laws in regard to Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. In an 11-page letter, Deputy DENR Secretary Donald van der Vaart said essentially that recent claims the agency hasn’t been enforcing the federal Clean Water Act properly are all wet. “This administration has undertaken enforcement actions to address long-ignored environmental problems associated with coal ash ponds,” van der Vaart wrote. “These problems ranging from unauthorized discharges to groundwater contamination have been well known and documented for decades. “Yet virtually no initiative was undertaken by any non-governmental organization or governmental agency to address these problems until quite recently,” the deputy secretary said, contending that stepped-up enforcement only began with the onset of Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration.

Environmental advocates to file new ash suits (Charlotte Observer) -- North Carolina’s environmental agency said Thursday it won’t file further coal ash lawsuits against Duke Energy, as advocacy groups prepared to sue the utility next week.

Daily dose
James @
Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 5:33pm

Watch this.

Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 3:48pm

A detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups — including one backed by Karl Rove — paints a dismal picture for Republicans, concluding female voters view the party as “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion” and “stuck in the past.”

Women are “barely receptive” to Republicans’ policies, and the party does “especially poorly” with women in the Northeast and Midwest, according to an internal Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report obtained by POLITICO. It was presented to a small number of senior aides this month on Capitol Hill, according to multiple sources...

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