Tuesday Twitter roundup

The bill that refused to be killed:

It's a city, you nitwit. A city in which each voter can (currently) cast a vote for a majority of council seats. The only prosperity that would result from taking away most of those votes and gerrymandering the rest would go into the pockets of those play golf in the middle of the week, not to those who play "do I get to eat today." I realize those are the only people you care about, which is probably one big reason why there are only 19% registered Republicans in Greensboro.

Business Likes Renewable Energy

We have already heard that Apple, Facebook, Google and the American Biogas Council have advised NCGA NOT to do away with North Carolina's renewable energy requirements. The Republican majority in the House insisted on passing such legislation anyway.

Now, Triangle Business Journal is reporting, four more companies have added their names to this request:

The great big money machine of death

The report comes on the heels of the exoneration of Henry McCollum, North Carolina’s longest serving death row inmate. It exposes another facet of a capital punishment system that targets innocent people with the death penalty. Considering that only 40 people have been executed in North Carolina in the time period the report covers, more people have faced the death penalty and not been convicted of a crime than have been executed in North Carolina.”

NC's offshore drilling jobs: Propaganda or real projections?


I wouldn't put a down-payment on a new boat just yet:

The creation of new jobs – tens of thousands of them – would be one of the greatest economic gains to North Carolina from offshore drilling, proponents say. Critics of drilling charge that the rosy job numbers are based on a flawed economic study commissioned by the oil industry. Reaching even those lofty numbers, they note, will requires hundreds of drilling rigs and a significant buildup of infrastructure that now doesn’t exist.

Just a personal anecdote: The guy who lived across the street from me (here in NC) for about ten years was a roughneck who worked on offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. I think he was out there for three weeks straight and then a week off, and he came home every couple of months or so. He told me that was not uncommon; several of his coworkers lived in states not fronting the Gulf. Why is that important? Because many work from the assumption that out-of-state oil workers would be temporary, that once our own people got the proper training those jobs would be ours. It really doesn't work like that. And we also won't be paying less at the pump, as many groups like AFP try to imply:

NC women dying younger

Many women in North Carolina are dying younger than their mothers did. That’s a shocker considering that life expectancy in the U.S. is at an all time high. Americans live, on average, to almost 79. And a girl born today can expect to live to 81.

But that’s not the full story. For many women the story is bad and getting worse.

Comments on Charleston

I attended the prayer vigil for Charleston at St. Paul's AME Church on Friday. The highlight for me was Wanda Hunter's comments, especially since I have been thinking about the value/lack of value of "protest" - excerpt below:

We have only to look at the history of Emanuel AME Church that was founded in 1822 by Denmark Vesey who was known for planning a slave revolt, for rebelling against the ruling white class of his state and his nation that supported and condoned the kidnapping and enslavement of African people. For this he was convicted and he was hanged and the church was burned down. With a resilient spirit, even in the face of white terror, the people of Mother Emanuel rebuilt their church.

Daily dose: Training worker drones edition


Business Can Pay to Train Its Own Work Force (Chronicle of Higher Ed) -- This is how employment is supposed to work. Companies hire broadly educated workers, invest in appropriate training, and reap the profits of a specialized work force. Increasingly, however, employers have discovered a way to offload the nettlesome cost of worker training. The trick is to relabel it as education, then complain that your prospective employees aren’t getting the right kind. … Bemoaning the unpreparedness of undergraduates isn’t new. Today, however, those complaints are getting a more sympathetic hearing from the policy makers who govern public higher education. "We’ve got to adapt our education to what the marketplace needs," N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory said this year at a conference on innovation. "People are ready to get the work. Let’s teach them these skills as quick as possible."

VA being crunched by numbers

The true costs of multiple wars are piling up:

The number of veterans on waiting lists of one month or more is now 50 percent higher than it was during the height of last year’s problems, department officials say. The department is also facing a nearly $3 billion budget shortfall, which could affect care for many veterans.

Since the waiting-list scandal broke last year, the department has broadly expanded access to care. Its doctors and nurses have handled 2.7 million more appointments than in any previous year, while authorizing 900,000 additional patients to see outside physicians. In all, agency officials say, they have increased capacity by more than seven million patient visits per year — double what they originally thought they needed to fix shortcomings.

But it still wasn't enough, because politicians in Washington still haven't grasped the fact that 2 of the 3 longest wars in our country's history were fought in this (the 21st) century. Even asking the VA to "project" how much money they will need next year, the year after, etc., is an exercise in futility. And as long as Republicans play their budget-cutting game and push privatization schemes, the VA will continue to struggle to keep up with the demand:

Daily dose: Meadows defends bear poacher edition

Meadows hears bear poaching complaints (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Among the many allegations of inappropriate conduct by law officers in a controversial bear poaching sting, a U.S. congressman said he was most concerned that federal charges had been "stacked" against one defendant. Rep. Mark Meadows told more than 100 people at the Haywood County Courthouse Friday morning that he would expect to be looking into that matter arising out of Operation Something Bruin, a four-year undercover investigation.

Daily dose: (Bad) policymaking in the Budget edition

Senate budget bill repeals state Fair Housing Act, abolished Human Relations Commission (Fairhousing) -- The North Carolina State Senate’s proposed budget repeals the State Fair Housing Act and eliminates the North Carolina Human Relations Commission, the state body that currently has authority to investigate and enforce the law. The provisions, which are contained in the Senate’s 508-page budget bill, also calls for the repeal of a state statute prohibiting the interference with another person’s civil rights.


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