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Friday News: Partisan to the last drop

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BURR CLAIMS SENATE BILL WILL STRENGTHEN MEDICAID, BUT IT CONTAINS VICIOUS CUTS: Burr said the bill would strengthen North Carolina’s Medicaid program, even as critics focused on the deep cuts the Senate bill would make in the government health insurance program for poor, elderly and disabled people. The cuts to Medicaid are deeper even than the $834 billion proposed in the AHCA. “We were hoping it would be an improvement. We don’t see this as an improvement,” said Julie Henry, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Hospital Association. “We’re very disappointed in this version. The thing that is difficult for a lot of people to see — there are lots of things that are key buzzwords and phrases and repealing a lot of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act — is how much of a burden it pushes to the state.” North Carolina has roughly 2 million people on Medicaid, according to Henry, a figure in line with the national percentage of 20 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article15...

Website under construction

For the next day or two we'll be moving to a new server, so you may not see any new content posted, and you may experience some problems clicking stuff here and there. Also, there's a somewhat ugly yet comfortable sofa that won't fit with the decor of the new place, and we really don't want to leave it out by the road unless we have to. And no, it won't fit in that hybrid minivan, so you'll need to call your brother-in-law with the truck. Thanks ahead of time for your patience, and if you have any boxes, we could sure use them.

Thursday News: Political gamesmanship

REPUBLICANS GO AFTER AG JOSH STEIN WITH DEEP BUDGET CUTS: North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein was taken by surprise this week when lawmakers he used to work beside as a state senator cut $10 million from the state Department of Justice budget with very specific targets. “This move is as irresponsible as it is short-sighted,” Stein said in a statement released Tuesday, the day after legislative leaders released the $23.03 billion budget to the public. Stein said he was “deeply troubled” that the General Assembly directed his office to “eliminate the attorneys who work to prosecute criminals and keep them behind bars, who save taxpayers millions of dollars by defending against frivolous suits, who keep corporate bad actors in line, and who protect our clean air and water.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article157510939.html

As samples are collected for testing, chemical company decides to clean up GENX prior to discharge

And that timing is more than a little suspect:

Beginning tomorrow, the Chemours company will “capture, remove, and safely dispose of wastewater” that contains the byproduct GenX generated at its manufacturing plant in Fayetteville. The company announced late this afternoon that it would eliminate discharge containing GenX into the Cape Fear River, a drinking water supply. GenX has been detected in the Cape Fear near Wilmington; the chemical isn’t removed during traditional treatment at municipal plants.

The timing of the announcement is notable. The NC Department of Environmental Quality started sampling water in the Cape Fear and at the Chemours plant yesterday. The agency and will continue those tests through Thursday, and then resample at the same locations over the next three weeks. Also tomorrow the Cape Fear River Watch is hosting a community forum about GenX and the company.

Had a conversation recently with someone holding an MBA, in which I had to explain the difference between a chemical compound and a base element. Dude was waffling between Libertarianism and Bernie-ish "all politicians are owned by the corporations," and he said something about how we've known what these chemicals can do for close to 100 years, so when he reads about the EPA "still testing" something it's evidence of a payoff. Or something. There are literally thousands of new chemical compounds created every year, mostly by industry, and the bulk of their research is proprietary. Meaning, even if they did discover dangers to the environment or people associated with their new chemical, we probably won't know until that danger is detected by someone outside the company. Here's some background on GENX's predecessor, and the Du Pont spinoff Chemours:

Wednesday News: The way the ball bounces

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JON OSSOFF FALLS SHORT OF FLIPPING GEORGIA'S 6TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: Ossoff’s campaign had nothing if not an abundance of election-obsessed supporters, who helped him raise an unprecedented amount of money and assemble a small army of door-knocking volunteers. Many of them were political neophytes, men and women who once rarely voted but now served as precinct captains and social-media advocates. But Ossoff still lost in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District because his supporters, even when combined with politically moderate independents, couldn’t outnumber Republican partisans. “This is not the outcome many of us were hoping for,” Ossoff told supporters during his concession speech. “But this the beginning of something much bigger than us.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article157305869.html

How Dale Folwell responds to reports of State Health Plan overpayments

I trust you've seen DG Martin's piece on Dale Folwell.

http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/columnists/d-g-martin-treasurer-dale-folwell-s-quick-response/arti...

My local paper ran it front and center in the Letters to the Editor.

Reminded me of my letter to the Journal in 2016 about Folwell.

Tuesday News: Prepping for the 2020 "we own the maps" Election

REPUBLICANS PASS MASSIVE TAX CUT TO GO INTO EFFECT IN 2019: The final budget compromise announced by House and Senate leaders Monday would sharply cut personal and corporate income taxes – but the new rates won’t kick in until 2019. “Millions of middle class families will also keep more of their own earnings,” Senate leader Phil Berger said during a news conference Monday, adding that 99 percent of taxpayers will see a tax cut or pay no income taxes under the plan. House Speaker Tim Moore said the change in the standard deduction will mean 95,000 people will no longer owe income taxes. The 5.25 percent personal income tax rate will be “the lowest rate in the Southeast among states that tax earnings,” according to a news release from House Republicans.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article157061604.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

It's what you don't do that defines your budget:

Taking something that was already critically underfunded and slashing it more:

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