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.

Friday News: Bond pro-con edition

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LOCAL COLLEGE LEADERS MAKE PITCH FOR CONNECT NC BOND (Greensboro News & Record) -- GTCC, N.C. A&T and UNCG will share $204.5 million if voters approve the bond plan.
http://www.greensboro.com/news/schools/local-college-leaders-make-pitch-for-connect-nc-bond/article_...

LIBERAL SAYS 'NO' TO STATE BOND ISSUE (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- I will vote “no” on the Connect NC bond issue in March. Do I support the higher education and state parks capital expenditures that the bond would fund? Most definitely. But I reject Gov. Pat McCrory’s “no tax increase” shell-game bond financing. If we support new expenditures for education and parks, we should create a clear revenue stream to pay for it: increase taxes.
http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/op-ed/article54762530.html

NC Bar needs to dismiss charges against Christine Mumma

We need more legal advocates like her, not fewer:

David and Bollinger said on several occasions that reports about the Sledge case published in March 2013 in The News & Observer left them fighting an image that they “had in innocent man languishing in prison.” David described the Sledge case as being part of a “soap-opera-like atmosphere” and he suggested that Mumma was behind that “by leaking details to the press.”

Mumma’s attorneys pointed out that though David contended “leaks to the media” were “very troubling,” he did not find any factual errors in the news report.

Guess what? You did have an innocent man languishing in prison. And if Mumma hadn't pushed as aggressively as she did, he would likely still be there. If any individuals need to be punished for misdeeds dealing with this case, it's the original investigation/prosecution team who railroaded Sledge into prison:

Thursday News: Defending the defenders edition

LAWSUIT CHALLENGES NC LAW AGAINST TELLING COMPANY SECRETS (AP) — Animal-rights, food-safety and other groups sued Wednesday to stop a new North Carolina law that helps employers punish people who get hired to steal company secrets or dig up dirt.
http://www.greensboro.com/news/north_carolina_ap/lawsuit-challenges-nc-law-against-telling-company-s...

GROUPS SEEK TO OVERTURN NC 'AG-GAG' LAW (WRAL-TV) -- A group of animal rights and consumer protection organizations filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday seeking to have a state law that allows employers to sue workers who conduct undercover investigations to expose questionable or illegal activity declared unconstitutional.
http://www.wral.com/groups-seek-to-overturn-nc-ag-gag-law/15231730/

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke Energy's new PR firm

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DEQ's "damage control" unit defends revised classifications:

State regulators say that a controversial early draft of classifications for Duke Energy’s (NYSE:DUK) coal-ash ponds in North Carolina was largely based on incomplete dam safety information and lacking key data about groundwater and soil conditions at the sites.

And the early draft leaned heavily on dam safety information that Rusher says was out of date. “Later, dam safety considerations were updated to include current and future structural repairs that would remove the threat that the dam presented to the environment and public safety,” he says. “Early versions of any draft documents during the development of the draft classifications are incomplete and are not inclusive of the most current data and information that was collectively considered.”

Bolding mine. These classifications are meant to describe the current condition of the dams, not some "forward-looking" statement for investors. A problem isn't fixed until it's fixed. And considering Duke Energy's history of negligence in dam safety, any promises they made to repair these dams is seriously in question:

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