Daily dose

Monday News: Vindictive Budgeting

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REPUBLICAN SENATORS PUNISH DEMOCRATS BY STRIPPING EDUCATION FUNDING FROM THEIR DISTRICTS: Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram’s rural district in northeastern North Carolina took the biggest hit from the amendment. It strips $316,646 from two early college high schools in Northampton and Washington counties, and it specifically bans state funding from supporting a summer science, math and technology program called Eastern North Carolina STEM. The funding level for the program didn’t change, but seven counties represented by Smith-Ingram and fellow Democratic Sen. Angela Bryant were removed. Instead, the program will only apply to several counties represented by Republican senators.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article150397682.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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SENATE'S LOW EXPECTATIONS BUDGET FAILS STATE'S NEEDS: North Carolina teachers have more ground to make up than the Senate proposes. Why the limited increases? Once again, the Senate starts with a tax decrease and works up from there. What schools need doesn’t matter. Reducing taxes fixes everything. Gov. Roy Cooper’s modest budget plan should have been the Senate’s bottom line for teacher pay. Instead, at EVERY LEVEL, the Senate under cuts Cooper’s plans to improve compensation for teachers. The Senate offers NO increase in the starting salaries for teachers. And, adding insult to injury, offers no boost for the most experienced teachers. There is a term for withholding raises from long term employees – “harvesting the workforce.” Organizations use it to force out experienced employees to replace them with lower salaried employees. Who wants to work for an organization like that?
http://www.wral.com/editorial-senate-s-low-expectations-budget-fails-state-s-needs/16696768/

Saturday News: Job opening: Special Prosecutor

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BURR SAYS HE HAS MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO THAN INVESTIGATE RUSSIA: “It’s safe to say that, with the events of the last week, it’s reminded me of the importance of what I do. It’s also reminded me that, with the hearing yesterday on global threats, that I can’t just focus my efforts on an investigation and Russia’s involvement in our elections, because the world is a very unstable place as it relates to security.” Most of Burr’s remarks focused on global security, and his comments on Comey notwithstanding, he ended with praise for the president, whom he has supported from early on. “I really worried as this year started with such a split of the American people, could we do big things?” Burr said. “I’m convinced today after hearing the president — who’s only focused on big things — we have no choice. We’re destined right now to do big things.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article150311807.html

Friday News: "Nothing good happens after midnight at the NCGA"

SENATE REPUBLICANS RAILROAD BUDGET THROUGH IN WEE HOURS OF THE MORNING: Senators held an initial 34-15 vote Thursday evening, then returned at 12:05 a.m. Friday to take a final vote, because the chamber’s rules require that the two mandatory votes to pass the bill can’t be taken on the same day. The Senate GOP has referred to the plan as a “billion-dollar middle-class tax cut,” but Democrats note that it would reduce revenue by hundreds of millions of dollars. “We cannot meet our core responsibilities as a state if we continue to give away money to corporations and those at the top,” said Sen. Mike Woodard, a Durham Democrat. As Democrats continued to file amendments, Republicans apparently grew frustrated and called for a break until 2:30 a.m. Some senators took naps, while others held an impromptu dance party in the halls of the Legislative Building. Jackson’s amended passed 34-13 and the Senate then took its final budget vote shortly after 3 a.m. Friday.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article150077897.html

Thursday News: Burr is no Sam Ervin, Rob

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CHRISTENSEN WRITES ANOTHER SPORTS STORY ABOUT POLITICS: But he has rarely sought the limelight – infrequently appearing on the Sunday talk shows and preferring to quietly tour local businesses rather than holding news conferences back home. As a result, Burr – while politically successful – has never achieved the fame or devoted following of such Tar Heel senators as Jesse Helms, Elizabeth Dole, John Edwards or Terry Sanford. But Burr is now on the biggest stage of his career. As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Burr has been thrust into the middle of the investigation of Russian meddling in the last presidential election and whether Russia tried to help Donald Trump win the presidency. As veteran political consultant Walter de Vries of Wrightsville Beach has recently noted, that has placed Burr in a position – similar to the late Sen. Sam Ervin – “to achieve historical greatness in the way he runs his committee’s investigation.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/rob-christensen/article1...

Wednesday News: Trump fires FBI Director investigating him

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SENATOR MARK WARNER CALLS FOR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR IN TRUMP/RUSSIA PROBE: Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was one of many to call the firing proof that a special prosecutor was needed to oversee the Russian meddling investigation. He called Comey’s dismissal “shocking” and “deeply troubling.” Warner said a pattern appears to be developing in the Trump administration. “The administration insists there’s no ‘there there,’ yet President Trump has so far fired the acting attorney general, nearly every U.S. attorney, and now the director of the FBI,” he said in a statement. “In addition, this president’s choice for attorney general has been forced to recuse himself, and the national security adviser has resigned, as a result of undisclosed contacts with Russian officials . . . It is vital that our ongoing investigation is completed in a credible and bipartisan way.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article149608594.html

Tuesday News: All hail Sally Yates

FORMER ACTING AG TESTIFIES ABOUT WARNINGS SHE GAVE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ABOUT FLYNN/RUSSIA TIES: "We felt like it was critical that we get this information to the White House, in part because the vice president was unknowingly making false statements to the public and because we believed that Gen. Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians," Yates said. "To state the obvious," she added later, "you don't want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians." Trump shouldered into the conversation in the morning, tweeting that it was the Obama administration, not he, that had given Lt. Gen. Flynn "the highest security clearance" when he worked at the Pentagon. Trump made no mention of the fact that Flynn had been fired from his high position by the Obama administration in 2014.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article149217479.html

Monday News: The Primary that wouldn't die

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DEMOCRATS STILL BITTERLY AT ODDS MORE THAN A YEAR AFTER SANDERS V. CLINTON: In a sign of a party deeply divided over everything except all-out opposition to Trump, Democrats in recent weeks have engaged in one fight after the next that shows just how raw the wounds of the 2016 battle between moderates and progressives remain. "The debates and issues are real -- Women's rights are fundamental human rights and not secondary concerns, and Wall Street's grip on elected officials has rigged the economy against workers," said Josh Orton, a progressive strategist. "But the closer any debate gets to touching the tribal primary divisions, the more likely it will become an unwinnable, never-ending comment section argument battling over false equivalencies."
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article149164769.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NEW HEALTH CARE BILL SICKENS FAR MORE THAN IT CURES: President Donald Trump and the Republicans who rule the U.S. House of Representatives may be crowing about passage of their prized health-care bill that repeals and replaces Obamacare. But back home in the states they represent, few are celebrating. The unfortunate reality for the nation is that this bill is more likely to be a booby prize. It is particularly astonishing and disheartening that nearly every member of the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a bill that they knew almost nothing about. The Congressional Budget Office hasn’t even had time to “score” the bill to determine its impact, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the partisan zealots. Their blind desire to simply check repeal and replacement of Obamacare off the to-do-list for the president is no excuse for the haste and long list of important, but unanswered questions, left on the table.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-new-health-care-bill-sickens-far-more-than-it-cures/16683454/

Saturday News: Cheese with that whine?

OUTSPOKEN BIGOT WITHDRAWS FROM ARMY SECRETARY NOMINATION AFTER CRITICISM: President Donald Trump’s second attempt to nominate an Army secretary failed on Friday when his pick, Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green, withdrew from consideration amid increasingly fierce backlash to his controversial comments about the LGBT community, Muslims and evolution. “It is with deep regret today I am withdrawing my nomination to be the secretary of the Army,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, due to false and misleading attacks against me, this nomination has become a distraction.” Green was a stark contrast to the person he would have been replacing, President Barack Obama’s appointee Eric Fanning, who was the first openly gay Army secretary.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article148941829.html

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