Gene Nichol on the UNC athletics scandal

A public relations nightmare, or wet dream, depending on your perspective:

Over $5 million went to Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. The folks at Skadden, Arps got a couple million more. We paid $1.3 million to Bond, Schoeneck & King; another million to Baker, Tilly. Almost double that amount went to Edelman, a giant PR outfit, offering expertise on “corporate reputation management.” FleishmanHillard raked in almost $400,000. You’d think the Old Well had relocated to Madison Avenue.

High-dollar outside investigators were reportedly necessary because, after years of stonewalling and false assurance, no one would believe an analysis conducted by the administration.

This article will likely not endear Professor Nichol to the wig-wearing muckety mucks (they don't wear wigs here, that was an Oxford reference) administering UNC's flagship Universiity, but they should pay attention, nevertheless. You let your house get dirty, you clean it up yourself, so you can fully understand how the mess happened. And I have a feeling this particular mess was money-related in the first place:

Sunday News: The fruits of right-wing propaganda edition


OFFICIAL SAYS GUNMAN MADE 'NO MORE BABY PARTS' COMMENT (AP) — The man who police say staged a deadly shooting attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic that offers abortion services said "no more baby parts" after his arrest, a law enforcement official said Saturday.

ANTIABORTION SENTIMENT MAY BE MOTIVE FOR COLORADO SHOOTING (Wall Street Journal) -- After a bloody standoff at a Planned Parenthood clinic that left three people dead, the alleged suspect told authorities “no more baby parts.”

Growing list of coastal municipalities oppose offshore drilling


Swansboro joins in the dissenting opinion:

Commissioners voted 3-1 at the board’s Tuesday night meeting to adopt a resolution opposing offshore oil and gas development and drilling and related seismic blasting activities off the North Carolina coast.

Commissioner Jim Allen said he wasn’t comfortable taking a stand against an issue that state leaders are working on with the federal government. Gov. Pat McCrory serves as chairman of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition. “I don’t think we need to be putting up roadblocks in their way,” Allen said.

If that pro-drilling group were composed entirely of government officials, there *might* be a sliver of credibility in Jim Allen's concern. But those Governors have allowed themselves to become nothing more than oil & gas industry mouthpieces:

Saturday News: NC exports terrorism edition

N.C. MAN ARRESTED IN COLORADO SPRINGS SHOOTING SPREE (AP) –Law enforcement officials identified the gunman at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic shooting as Robert Lewis Dear of North Carolina. Dear was arrested following an hours-long standoff that killed three people – including a police officer -- and wounded nine others.

3 DEAD IN COLORADO SPRINGS SHOOTOUT AT PLANNED PARENTHOOD CENTER (New York Times) -- A gun battle erupted inside a Planned Parenthood center here on Friday when a man, identified as Robert Lewis Dear, 57, armed with an assault-style rifle opened fire and began shooting at officers as they rushed to the scene. The authorities reported that three people were killed, a police officer and two civilians, and nine were wounded before the suspect finally surrendered more than five hours after the first shots were fired.

Big surprise, Republican boondoggle doesn't work


Which guarantees an extension of the project:

“These preliminary results indicate that nutrient related water quality conditions did not significantly improve in areas of the lake where SolarBees were deployed,” said the report by the state Division of Water Quality, which was sent to the General Assembly on Oct. 1.

“We’ve made a significant investment that pales in comparison to the hundreds of millions of dollars that existing Jordan Lake rules would cost municipalities,” Gunn said. “I think, while we did not see movement yet, one summer is not long enough to see if there’s a positive trend. I certainly would have loved to see something more optimistic. But I remain optimistic.”

Yeah, you remain optimistic the Solar Bee distraction will give you a few more election cycles to rake in campaign contributions from your developer buddies and profit from your own real estate sales. We're supposed to believe you give a shit about municipalities in your District? Then why did you vote (twice) to take sales taxes away from Burlington, Graham, Elon, Gibsonville, etc., amounting to over $1.3 million per year? The only thing you care about is flipping properties while preserving your bottom line.

Friday News: David & Goliath edition


GREENSBORO CHURCH AT FOREFRONT OF SOLAR POWER DEBATE (Greensboro News & Record) -- A petition involving a Greensboro church has emerged as the last, best hope this year for advocates of solar power to ease the financial burden for building owners who want to tap the sun on a tight budget. The church and the NC Warn energy-advocacy group want the state Utilities Commission to bless their deal, in which the Durham-based nonprofit owns the equipment and is gradually selling it to the local church by charging for electricity generated each month by the rooftop panels. The arrangement pushes against the boundary of North Carolina laws that generally ban such so-called “third-party” sales where the seller, in effect, becomes a mini-utility.

Lee Roberts utilizes "fuzzy math" to justify prison contract

The trail of evidence gets slimier by the foot:

A study submitted to the General Assembly by top prison officials had concluded that private maintenance would result in “no significant savings” for taxpayers, but State Budget Director Lee Roberts criticized that study as flawed.

Roberts said his review was different from that conducted by the governor’s office: “They don’t have the time or the ability to review technical matters.” In December, Roberts said his budget office analysis showed the state would save $1 million a year. (Keith had said the annual savings were $413,000.)

When Art Pope "retired" as Budget Director for McCrory, it was generally accepted that his replacement would be less influential in the Governor's Cabinet. I'm not so sure anymore. Not trying to "excuse" McCrory from any wrongdoings in this fiasco, but he is definitely not a "mastermind" of anything. The new Budget Director (Roberts) and the prison maintenance contractor (Keith) have one possibly big thing in common: They are both deeply involved in the murky world of land/real estate investment and development. And those transactions dwarf the mere $12,000 in campaign contributions Graeme Keith gave to McCrory. Just food for thought, as you ponder which slice of pie you might be able to squeeze in on top of all the other stuff.

Thursday News: TOTUS freed edition

OBAMA PARDONS TURKEY, WHO’S ‘EARNED A SECOND CHANCE’ (Wall Street Journal) -- President Barack Obama "pardoned" the TOTUS — the Turkey of the United States -- in an annual White House Thanksgiving ceremony on Wednesday.

WHITE HOUSE TURKEY PARDON, THROUGH THE YEARS (Washington Post) -- The annual event might be one of the strangest White House holiday traditions.


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