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Tuesday News: Happy accident edition

THOMAS MILLS: 'ACCIDENTAL CANDIDATE' BECAUSE 8TH DISTRICT DESERVES CHOICE (Richmond Daily Journal column) -- I’m an accidental candidate for Congress. I didn’t plan on running in North Carolina’s 8th District, but when I realized nobody would file, seven minutes before the deadline I threw my name in the hat. I believe that people deserve a choice in elections and that politicians should be held accountable for their actions.
https://yourdailyjournal.com/opinion/columns/20944/an-accidental-candidate-because-8th-district-vote...

Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation feeding the homeless

Seeking solutions to difficult problems:

The Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation is working with the Raleigh-Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness and local group, Clark’s Promise, to host the Fresh Food Challenge. The initiative is seeking ideas from community groups and individuals on how to get fruits and vegetables to the homeless and others who can’t afford it. The winner will receive $25,000 to work the plan.

“This is the best example of work I know Jamie would have done,” Nation Hahn, co-founder and board president of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, said of the Fresh Food Challenge.

I've been following their work to develop urban vegetable gardens, something that can transform the lives (and neighborhoods) of inner-city folks. But this project has the potential to get a lot of healthy foods into the hands that really need it. Needless to say, it's a worthy cause that could use your support.

Monday News: The dream lives on edition

MLK SPEAKER CHALLENGES UNIVERSITIES TO DO BETTER (Durham Herald-Sun) -- Shaun Harper, a racial equity scholar who spoke at Duke University’s Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration, said that universities ought to do better with racial equity before there can be justice in the world
http://www.heraldsun.com/news/mlk-speaker-challenges-universities-to-do-better/article_86c9381a-bd7c...

THOUSANDS TURN OUT TO CELEBRATE KING’S LESSONS AT PARADE (Charlotte Observer) -- For 29 of her 58 years, Delores Reid-Smith has spent her birthday celebrating the birthday and lessons of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article55085830.html

NC Legislative staffer, or Chamber lobbyist?

Blurring the lines of ethics and accountability:

The General Assembly’s top economist told legislators the state has collected $120 million more than projected for the first six months, or through Dec. 31. Barry Boardman wrote Friday that’s 1.2 percent above the revenue target of roughly $10 billion. He says that means revenue is “essentially on track.”

Boardman’s report says moderate economic growth is expected in the state and wage growth is helping personal income tax collections exceeded projections. Sales taxes are below their target.

When this story first caught my eye (or nose, if you will), I detected a whiff of corporate influence, and decided to do a little digging. While Boardman has been working for the General Assembly going on ten years now, he has also recently become involved with the NC Chamber of Commerce:

Misplaced priorities in NC GOP's education spending

Cutting their way to systemic failure:

The benefit of last year’s economic recovery to our public schoolchildren was nowhere near what it could have been. Changes to the state’s tax code “shrunk the pie” and left significantly less money available. How much less? Reductions in corporate income taxes alone reduced available resources by $450 million this year and $700 million next year. Even modest changes would have made it possible to fund many of the worthy education priorities that were instead left on the cutting-room floor.

Had a prolonged discussion yesterday with a young, professional Wake County father, and when NC's amazing population growth came up (we added a million residents in less than ten years), that led to a discussion about education spending, investments in infrastructure, etc. This guy was pretty sharp, yet when I brought up the possibility of a Taxpayer Bill Of Rights being passed (or put on a ballot), he had no idea what I was talking about:

Sunday News: And idiots shall lead them

"DUCK DYNASTY" CAST MEMBERS, RALEIGH BISHOP AT ANTI-ABORTION EVENTS (AP) — Television personalities and religious leaders are joining young North Carolina Roman Catholics and other opponents of abortion with weekend observances promoting the sanctity of life.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/duck-dynasty-cast-members-raleigh-bishop-life-events-3114147

CATHOLIC YOUTH RALLY TO OPPOSE ABORTION (Raleigh News & Observer) -- For teenagers Blaise Waters and Maya Reagan, the question of a woman’s legal right to abort her pregnancy has been settled their entire lives. But on Saturday, they joined more than 1,000 other youth in downtown Raleigh to show their disapproval of a decision by the nation’s highest court nearly 43 years ago.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article55086095.html

McDonnell ruling could affect McCrory's legal fate

Birds of a feather do time together:

The Supreme Court indicated its interest in the case last fall by giving McDonnell, 61, a reprieve from reporting to prison while it considered whether to hear his appeal.

After the Supreme Court’s announcement Friday, McDonnell issued a statement thanking the court for accepting the case. “I am innocent of these crimes and ask the court to reverse these convictions. I maintain my profound confidence in God’s grace to sustain me and my family, and thank my friends and supporters across the country for their faithfulness over these past three years,” he said.

Pretty sure God had a few things to say about Mammon, moneychangers, and of course those thirty pieces of silver. But let's not go there. McDonnell's lawyers are approaching his defense from a few different angles, but most of it revolves around "everybody does it" reasoning. And McCrory is not just sitting in the sidelines watching. The Republican Governors Public Policy Committee, of which our Governor is an influential member, filed this amicus brief in defense of McDonnell:

Saturday News: The stupid, it burns

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SOLAR PANELS SUCKING UP FARMLAND, NC SENATOR SAYS (Raleigh News & Observer) -- N.C. Sen. Bill Cook, a Beaufort County Republican, says the state needs to tackle the growth of solar farms on agricultural fields because the land that’s used is “pretty well ruined” for future farming.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article54892455.html

While Obama ponders free community college, NC raises tuition rates

Maybe the President should have pondered higher tuition:

The State Board of Community Colleges Finance Committee discussed a local tuition surcharge proposal Thursday afternoon. That proposal would give colleges the option to charge an additional amount on top of the state's tuition rate, but not greater than 10 percent.

"Our colleges, many of which feel like they are struggling to meet those student needs, and feel like this would be another tool for them to consider to better meet the needs of their communities,” said Haygood.

Bolding mine. In what twisted reality is taking more money out of students' pockets meeting their "needs"? If anything, it's just the opposite, especially now that single food stamp recipients are required to find a job or classwork for 20 hours per week. As far as "needs of the communities," those extra tuition dollars would have been spent locally, which means this will actually put a burden on local economies. This is just one more chapter in the Republican bible of shifting costs down; down to the local level, and down to the people who are struggling to survive.

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