No doubt sensing that their attacks on public education – and public school teachers in particular – might backfire on Election Day, Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders grudgingly started flirting with pay hikes for some teachers. But now they seem to be backing up and denying the real cause of their retreat.
But here’s the rub on teacher pay. Thanks to the fact that the Republican giveaway will cost the state about $2.4 billion over five years in lost revenue – personal income tax withholdings are behind forecasts by $221 million – there’s not going to be enough money for an across-the-board teacher pay increase. The entire scenario is brought to you by inexperienced legislative leaders driven by something akin to the tea party ideology of little or no government and few if any taxes. They took a leap without calculating distance and speed and looking at what might be at the bottom.
And now McCrory is saying the raises will happen in 2015, in an effort to get the Republicans past that whole pesky election nonsense unscathed. If we let them get away with it, all it will do is reinforce the value of lying to the people, and 2015 will be even more of a kabuki theatre.
On Sunday, though, the official Twitter account of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory tweeted with pride that the patches on the green jackets were made in the Tar Heel State – and made double-bogey in the process.
“Great to see the patches on the infamous green jackets at @The_Masters are made in Weaverville, NC!” McCrory’s account tweeted.
But the green jackets aren’t exactly infamous – infamous, according to Merriam-Webster, means, “having a reputation of the worst kind; notoriously evil.”
This was not a typo. Apparently whoever wrote this Tweet was under the impression that "infamous" meant "really famous," something a 3rd grader might get confused, if he or she had been avoiding homework.
Duke Energy is now talking publicly about coal ash, but the conversations with Charlotte City Council revolved around the issue of how to remove it from the River Bend Power Plant. The City and Duke are exploring the possibility of moving the coal ash by truck from Gaston County to land near Charlotte Douglas International.
State Senator Jeff Tarte of Mecklenburg County was also part of the tour, and he wants to learn more about the idea. "What we really want to do is reuse the material not have it stock piled and put into landfills, " Tarte said. Governor McCrory said, "It's going somewhere, and wherever it goes we've got to do it in a safe environmentally and most affordable way we can. I'm open to any solution."
Fixed. But this doesn't prove McCrory isn't crazy. ;)
A voice from the crowd told the governor that job availability is a major concern in this area. McCrory responded by addressing the challenges that he and the state legislature have faced in the arduous budgeting process.
“We decided not to extend unemployment, because small businesses owed the federal government $2.6 billion,” he said. “Myself and the legislature decided to tear up the credit card that we owed the federal government. We weren’t going to keep increasing the debt.”
Okay, grammar first: when determining which pronoun to use, mentally remove the other subjects you're joining and see if it fits. You wouldn't say, "Myself decided to tear up the credit card..." Proper form would be, "The Legislature and I decided..." or simply, "We decided..." But McCrory's egotistical drive to put himself first makes this difficult.
Now for the content: the voice from the crowd didn't complain about jobs that weren't being filled, the voice complained about the lack of jobs available. But all McCrory heard was "jobs" and went off on a spiel about cutting unemployment. And as far as this argument is concerned:
The session at the federal courthouse in Raleigh comes as environmental groups amp up pressure on regulators and lawmakers to force Duke to clean up the leaky, unlined ash pits polluting North Carolina's waterways. Prosecutors have issued at least 23 grand jury subpoenas to Duke executives and state officials.
The subpoenas seek records from Duke, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the state Utilities Commission. They include reams of documents, including emails, memos and reports, related to the Feb. 2 spill into the Dan River and the state's oversight of the company's nearly three dozen other coal ash dumps spread out at 14 current and retired power plants.
Not to be dramatic, but: there will be blood. Grand juries have pretty broad subpoena powers, and while they might occasionally stray off into crazyville, it's virtually impossible to subvert their process from the outside. Or so we can hope.
It has been over a month since the Duke Energy coal ash spill and we are still finding new leaks. The cost of cleaning up this ecological disaster will be in the millions and North Carolina taxpayers should not have to shoulder the burden.
McCrory, who worked at Duke for nearly 30 years until 2008, said financial decisions on the cleanup are best left to the state Utilities Commission, which sets electric rates and can agree to let Duke pass along one-time costs to customers.
“I think it's inappropriate to have politics involved in this process,” McCrory said after a Council of State meeting. “You've got to have this process work out free of politics, especially … as we try to get the facts exactly about what has happened and what the potential solutions are to this very serious issue.”
Duke Energy spent more than 1.1 million dollars to get McCrory elected. Politics have been involved long before the Deputy Assistant Governor was worn in.
Gov. Pat McCrory says his staff will consider making changes to a new law that offers raises to top teachers who give up tenure rights.
“I think it’s an example of passing a policy without clearly understanding the execution,” McCrory said.
McCrory says his staff will review the impact of the law between now and the short session in May. “I share some of the concerns expressed based on the implementation of the rule. The intent of the rule is very good -- the implementation process needs to be more clarified,” he said.
No, the intent of the rule is the root of the problem, not the implementation. The intent is to tear down the ranks of experienced teachers so they can be replaced by less-expensive and less-experienced rookies. And with those new teachers continuously worried about their short-term contracts, they're less likely to complain about having no new books or other needed materials. It's a policy of destruction, plain and simple, and it needs to be reversed.
But one environmental group warns that damage to marine life from seismic air guns probing for pockets of oil and gas would mean bigger losses for commercial and recreational fisheries, tourism and coastal recreation.
“Seismic airgun testing isn’t simply a method of surveying a coastal area for its energy potential,” Oceana said in a statement after the review was issued. “The blasts from seismic airguns are 100,000 times more intense than a jet plane engine and are emitted every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, for weeks and months at a time. “It’s disruptive, destructive, and directly threatens the survival of marine creatures like dolphins, whales, and turtles.”
It's doubtful these issues will raise concerns amongst the "drill baby drill" crowd, who have seldom acknowledged their responsibility for safeguarding the lesser creatures in the food chain. But the rest of us should be very concerned.
Cozy. Environmental advocates and government watchdogs used the word frequently last week to describe the relationship between Duke Energy and Gov. Pat McCrory.
The company gave $748,000 directly to his campaigns in 2008 and 2012, critics noted. Duke employees donated another $410,000.
Margaret goes on to explain that Duke Energy has given lots of money to both parties, but the utility's support of other individual candidates pales in comparison to what it has provided for McCrory in the past. But what may be even more important in determining how the McCrory administration will handle the coal ash crisis is Pat's future campaign needs. The 2016 Gubernatorial race is going to be expensive, and (in McCrory's mind anyway) the more it costs Duke to fix the coal ash mess, the less he will get. And that is the heart and soul of a conflict of interest.
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