Tuesday News: Race to the bottom continues

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SENATE TENTATIVELY APPROVES ACHIEVEMENT SCHOOL DISTRICTS (WRAL-TV) -- The state would turn over up to five low performing schools to charter operators under a plan that tentatively passed the state Senate Monday night.
http://www.wral.com/senate-tentatively-approves-achievement-school-districts/15811884/

ACHIEVEMENT SCHOOL DISTRICT PROPOSAL GETS INITIAL SENATE OK (AP) -- A new, charter-operated pilot program for struggling traditional elementary schools is now making its way through the Senate after passing the House earlier this month.
http://www.greensboro.com/news/north_carolina_ap/achievement-school-district-proposal-gets-initial-s...

And this week's Buffoon Award goes to Jimmy Dixon

Because protecting children from lead poisoning is such a laughing matter:

Schools and child care centers would be required to test their drinking water for lead under a bill moving forward in the N.C. House. House Majority Leader Mike Hager, a Rutherfordton Republican, sponsored the bill that could be on the House floor for a vote sometime this week.

Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a Duplin County Republican, cautioned against “sensationalizing” the issue of lead in water, and he said anyone who did so “needs a real good spanking and be sent to time out.”

Yeah, somebody needs to check Jimmy Dixon's drinking water, because plainly his little gray cells have shriveled up and died. Sheesh.

Refuting industry propaganda on seismic testing for oil & gas

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Who needs science when you can bluff your way to profits:

There has been no observation of direct physical injury or death to free-ranging fish caused by seismic survey activity, and there is no conclusive evidence showing long-term or permanent displacement of fish.

Seismic and other geophysical surveys are the first critical step to better understanding the nation’s resource potential and there is not one single verifiable instance of sound from these surveys harming marine life populations. We cannot afford to put the nation’s energy security and independence at risk by limiting access to safe affordable domestic energy because of the baseless accusations of environmental activists. The economic and energy future of the United States is far too important to cater to the short-sighted agenda of a few.

Bolding mine. Of course the drilling part comes after the seismic surveys, I just couldn't let that "safe affordable domestic energy" BS leak into the discussion without pointing out the fallacy. The Deepwater Horizon spill alone cost billions in cleanup and lost revenues, not to mention actual lives. Combine that with the countless other spills and leaks, and the words "safe" and "affordable" should be excluded from any reference to offshore drilling. Back to the seismic testing and sea life issues:

Monday News: Jamming for justice

N.C. MUSICIANS PUSH BACK AGAINST AGAINST HB2 AT CONCERT (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Thirty bands took the stage at the Millennium Center in downtown Winston-Salem on Sunday to redeem what they believe is the state’s tattered reputation in the aftermath of the passage of HB2. The show, dubbed Stand Against HB2, drew performers from the Triad and Triangle, and it was the second in a series of concerts opposing House Bill 2 (HB2), which was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly in March.
http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/n-c-musicians-push-back-against-bathroom-bill-with-stand/articl...

GOP attack on teachers crosses the line

Your First Amendment rights mean nothing to the tyrants:

The majority of the crimes listed in the bill make perfect sense if the goal is – as it should be – to keep our students safe.

But the inclusion of Article 36A, which includes the act of remaining “at the scene of ... disorderly conduct by an assemblage of three or more persons, following a command to disperse,” departs from that sincere desire to protect our children. It means that individuals who have been arrested for protesting the lack of textbooks and toilet paper in North Carolina schools could be denied teaching careers, and those already teaching could potentially have their licenses revoked due to such an arrest.

Again, the stifling of school teachers is a signature trait of authoritarian/totalitarian regimes, and the fact Republicans would so casually include something like this in Legislation proves they simply do not grasp the basic concepts of democracy.

Must read: Gene Nichols' comprehensive indictment of GOP governing

Ten charges that encompass hundreds of bad acts:

1. Tragically refused to expand Medicaid. Merely to show disdain for President Obama, they’ve denied health care to a half million poor Tar Heels though the federal government would pay almost all the fare. Hospitals have closed, tens of thousands of jobs have been lost, over $30 billion in federal funds are surrendered and a thousand or more of us die each year as a result of one of the most cruel and indefensible decisions in N.C. history.

Please read the entire article. It is extensive, but these things must not be ignored or forgotten. While #1 above is easily the biggest life-and-death failure on the GOP's part, it's just the tip of the iceberg:

Sunday News: And the "Hypocrite Of The Year" award goes to...

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GOP SENATOR: OBAMA PAYS 'LIP SERVICE' TO DANGERS OF ISLAMIC STATE (Washington Examiner) – Sen. Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, warned Saturday that the Obama administration isn't doing nearly enough to protect Americans at home from the rising threat of Islamic State terrorism. "The administration has paid lip service to the threat and has taken small steps in some areas and not in others, but it has not directed the full capabilities of this great nation against this problem," Burr, R-N.C., said in the Republican National Committee's weekly address.
http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/gop-senator-obama-pays-lip-service-to-dangers-of-isis/article/2594880

More local shenanigans via NC Senate Republicans

Wesley Meredith is out of control:

Last September, the state House squelched controversial legislation that would have yanked about $5.5 million of hotel tax money away from the Cumberland County Tourism Development Authority and given it to the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners. Late this week, in the waning days of the 2016 session of the General Assembly, the hotel tax legislation came back to life in the state Senate, much to the surprise and consternation of some officials in Cumberland County.

Now Meredith is trying again to pass the legislation. He refused to discuss the bill late Friday. "I don't have any comment," he said.

Well, there you go. Apparently what Meredith does in his capacity as a public official is nobody's business but his own.

Saturday News: Cooper won, McCrory zero

GOV RACE STARTS WITH A FLURRY (Charlotte Observer column) – If Pat McCrory hasn’t fully realized what a heavyweight bout he is in, he does now after Roy Cooper delivered a series of hooks and uppercuts in the first round of their championship fight in Charlotte Friday. No N.C. governor has ever run for a second term and lost, but McCrory could be the first.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/taylor-batten/article85879162.html

MCCRORY, COOPER ON ATTACK IN FIRST DEBATE (WRAL-TV) -- Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper gave a glimpse Friday of the charges and counter-charges North Carolina residents can expect to hear over the next four-plus months as the men battle to win the gubernatorial race in the November election.
http://www.wral.com/mccrory-cooper-on-attack-in-first-debate/15803632/

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