Sunday News: So they can blame it on Trump


JUDGE ISSUES 2-WEEK HALT TO MEDICAID EXPANSION EFFORT (AP) -- A federal judge late Saturday temporarily blocked the U.S. government from quickly approving any proposal by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper designed to expand Medicaid coverage to potentially hundreds of thousands of uninsured people through President Barack Obama's signature health care law. The order for now lasts two weeks, which could defer the matter to regulators in the administration of Donald Trump, who backs the Republican-led Congress in wanting to repeal the health care overhaul that provides the expansion offer.

In pursuit of fairness and transparency, let the Carolina Journal in

Because it's not about them, it's about us:

The conservative Carolina Journal, which is published by the John Locke Foundation, says that its reporters have been banned from covering the new governor’s news conferences. The publication was not able to cover the governor’s Dec. 15 news conference, and the report says email requests for notice and access to other events went unanswered.

Cooper spokesman Ford Porter told the (Raleigh) News & Observer on Thursday that no one is being frozen out of news conferences or events, and if any reporter has been denied access, it was an “oversight.”

No doubt the truth is somewhere in-between, because the controversy of exclusion is a juicier story than witnessing department heads being introduced. That being said, favoring or disfavoring individual media outlets or their reporters is already a huge problem in this country, and we have a chance in this administration to show how it should be done. If Art Pope's people choose to write a skewed story, let's make sure it wasn't due to a lack of information or exposure.

Saturday News: Shaming Bill Cook

OFFICIALS SLAM COOK FOR WIND PROJECT SHUTDOWN EFFORT (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- Pasquotank County officials said Friday they will oppose state lawmakers' efforts to shut down Amazon Wind Farm US East. Several of them also accused state Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, of acting against his district's interests by joining those efforts. One said Cook is “no longer my senator,” while another said the senator owes the region an apology for being part of the effort to shut down the wind project. Dixon described the letter as an “underhanded sneak attack” driven by opposition to renewable energies, noting Cook's background in the utility sector. He said the wind farm went through years of thorough study and the military signed off on it.

Koch Brothers on campus: HBCUs in the cross-hairs


These aren't the opportunities you're looking for, move along:

The concept for the efforts the Koch gift will fund is in place, but many of the details have yet to be established. Broadly, the $25.6 million will go toward original research, creating three campus research centers and funding research efforts. It will also go toward scholarships and fellowships for students in education, sociology, economics and criminal justice. It will also support on-campus programming, funding speakers like educators and entrepreneurs. And it will pay for research and polling, helping Gallup create an opportunity index and survey fragile communities, which are defined as those where residents face barriers to economic advancement and which exhibit high crime rates, low-quality education options and limited mobility.

Attempts by the Koch Brothers to infiltrate universities and expand their free-market ideology has been spotty at best. Where they have succeeded, these entities have been under harsh scrutiny by faculty groups (rightly) concerned about interference and the reputation of the school itself. But Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been (for the most part) also historically underfunded, which presents a prime opportunity for the oil-drenched billionaires to poke their noses in. But not everybody is gung-ho for this "partnership" to proceed:

Friday News: An overwhelming imperative

NC GOVERNOR RENEWS MEDICAID EXPANSION DEBATE (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- For new patients, the wait has been as much as two or three months to get an appointment at the Community Care Clinic in Franklin. The clinic doesn’t provide acute care. For someone who needs to see a doctor right away, “we have to send them to the ER,” said Dr. Edwin Morris, a clinic volunteer. Most patients at the Community Care Clinic, which gets funded through donations and grants, would qualify for Medicaid if the state had opted to expand the program, according to Morris, who has spoken out in favor of Medicaid expansion. By some estimates as many as half a million North Carolina residents would qualify for Medicaid coverage if the program expanded — mostly people who are uninsured put off seeing a doctor, relying instead on hospital emergency rooms or clinics like the one in Franklin.

NC's clean energy sector is spearheading recovery

And we can't afford to let the GOP derail its growth:

North Carolina has almost 1,000 clean energy firms that employ 34,294 full-time equivalent jobs. This represents an estimated 31% increase in employment from the previous year. Additional jobs continue being added to the industry, and the rate of growth has more than doubled since 2015.

North Carolinians are benefiting from clean energy in the form of lower electric bills, healthier communities and expanded local tax bases, as job opportunities continue surfacing across the industry's diverse supply chain.

There's been a lot of brainstorming by Democrats on how to refine messaging, especially in the area of economic opportunity. Well, here you go. Not only is promoting clean energy in the best interests of maintaining our health and well-being, and something we should push even if there wasn't an economic benefit, the clean energy sector has the potential to bring much-needed revenues to nearly all 100 counties. Quoting myself from an Op-Ed in late 2015:

Thursday News: Burr's warped agenda


HILL REPUBLICANS DEMAND PROBE OF MEDIA LEAKS ON TRUMP (Politico) -- Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) suggested during a hearing Tuesday that his panel was also looking into media leaks as part of its larger probe into Russia’s role in the presidential election. Some Republicans appear to be taking cues from Trump, who has called for leak investigations and at a news conference Wednesday compared the behavior of U.S. intelligence agencies to Nazi Germany.

Wednesday News: And so it begins

LAWMAKERS PREPARED FOR LONG SESSION, NEW GOVERNOR (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Even before the N.C. General Assembly convenes, its relationship is already off to a rocky start with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. The Republican-controlled General Assembly passed several laws during a special session last month stripping the new governor of some of his powers. Cooper responded by filing a lawsuit challenging one of those laws that would prevent Democrats from assuming majorities on local elections boards as well as the state board, which would be merged with the State Ethics Commission.


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