New UNC environmental "collaboratory" may violate state law

That's not the way we bake these particular cakes:

“One of the problems is that the UNC code requires these things to come from the faculty up,” he said. “There’s a whole process of planning and approval that has to be followed, and that planning and approval is very detailed.”

Leonard has heard mutterings about the possibility of faculty members bringing a lawsuit over the collaboratory’s creation. The premise of the suit would be that state law does not allow the Legislature to make appropriations for individual campuses. Regardless of whether a suit is brought, issues that need to be addressed are who came up with the idea for the collaboratory and whether any system rules or state laws were violated, Leonard said.

They should file a suit, before this thing becomes a (potentially costly) reality. If nothing else, said legal proceedings will establish a public record, a definition of processes and goals. That way, if (when?) this Center starts leaning in an industry-friendly direction, and promotes pseudo-science to help Republicans water-down our environmental regulations even more, we can point back to their broken promises.

McHenry shows his ignorance on payday loans

Telling a story, in more ways than one:

McHenry told a story about growing up and seeing his father loan one of his landscape company employees $20 on a Thursday to make it to Friday's paycheck and how that helped.

"I'm worried about somebody who has a car that breaks down, who has a refrigerator break down and they have two kids at home who need to eat, and they need to make it to Friday to get their paycheck," McHenry said. He said people living on the edges need a regulated way to make it to their next paycheck. Those against payday lending don't know what it feels like to live from paycheck to paycheck, he added.

On the contrary, many of those leading the opposition to payday lending have first-hand experience with these loan sharks:

Subsidizing bigotry: Voucher-receiving Christian schools ban LGBT students

And Skip Stam thinks it's just fine:

The Bible Baptist handbook states: “The school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a current student. This includes, but is not limited to, living in, condoning or supporting any form of sexual immorality (or) practicing or promoting a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity.”

N.C. Rep. Paul Stam, a Republican from Apex who sponsored the voucher program in the state legislature, said the program does not discriminate. “Parents choose where to send children. And parents are free to choose whatever school they want within the hundreds of possibilities,” he said.

While it's very likely Stam does understand the program allows for discrimination, he chooses to pursue the fallacy argumentum ad temperantiam (argument to moderation), in which the statistics are brought into play: More schools don't discriminate than those who do, so it's not a problem. The truth is somewhere in-between. It's actually a clever position (if we allow him to maintain it), because discrimination would have to rise to 50+% for him to admit there's a problem. Needless to say, we can't see the ass-end of him soon enough.

Charter pirates to be led by Dan Forest


What could possibly go wrong?

Regardless of the warnings, the N.C. legislature mandated the State Board of Education to start the process that will seize five of the state’s lowest performing public schools and put their management under a newly-formed Achievement School District.

The Achievement Schools superintendent, who will be picked by a committee headed and selected by the lieutenant governor, will have a $400,000 start-up budget, significant authority and autonomy in choosing the five schools and designating the specific school operators – though the state board must ultimately approve the choices.

So, Lieutenant Dan gets to select the committee he will then lead, and they will select the Superintendent. Why even have a committee? If somebody disagrees with Forest, won't he be able to simply "select" their replacement? For all their talk about "government accountability," Republicans have a habit of doing the exact opposite.

Right-wing DC "think tank" attacks corporate HB2 opponents

Invading shareholder meetings to spread their bigoted viewpoints:

Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, said in an interview Thursday that he also intends to attend shareholder meetings of other companies – both within and outside of North Carolina – that signed an amicus brief in support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s opposition to the law.

“The largest takeaway of why we’re doing this is that the public narrative about H.B. 2 has really been wrongly focused, in our opinion,” Danhof said. “All you hear about is North Carolina and bathrooms, North Carolina and bathrooms. It’s about a much bigger issue than that.”

Frankly, if Trump can kick people out of his (public) rallies using whatever criteria moves him at the moment, I don't see why this jackass is allowed to speak during meetings with shareholders. And by the way, his comments above are watered down for mainstream media consumption. Here's what he really thinks:

Unfit to lead: Trump NC campaign manager gun-wielding nut-job

And that is not a hyperbolic headline:

“All of a sudden, Vincent saw Phillip pull a gun out from his side of the Jeep,” the suit says. “It was a .45 caliber pistol. It was loaded… Phillip then moved the gun toward Vincent. He pointed it at, and then placed the barrel on, Vincent’s left knee cap…

The suit alleges that Bordini learned of “at least four other” people on whom Phillip pulled a gun. He said he alerted Trump campaign staffers, including Lewandowski and Stuart Jolly, Trump’s national field director.

And they did nothing. Until (presumably) Bordini filed a lawsuit. Crazy just doesn't cover it.

Tim Moore is the master of pork barrel politics

It's good to have friends in high places:

On June 27, state lawmakers were in the throes of hashing out the 2016-17 budget, when tucked on page 182, a new line item appeared, as if by magic: a $1.5 million grant for water and sewer upgrades and dam repair at John H. Moss Reservoir in Cleveland County.

It’s clear from the minutes that the money could benefit the lake — if indeed, that’s how the funds are spent — but it also could increase the home values of several people closely connected to Moore’s campaign. According to Moore’s campaign finance reports from 2014 to 2016, Donna Mabry, Moore’s treasurer, and Misty Greene, a campaign volunteer, live on Moss Lake. Contributors James Testa ($1,500) Robert Arey ($700), William Shipley ($300) and Ellis Monroe ($200) also live there. Dennis Bailey ($250), works for ReMax realty, which sells homes in Cleveland County, including several on the lake.

The only thing missing from this tawdry tale is Moore getting "a really good deal" on a lakehouse some time in the near future. We'll be watching.

Scientific exodus: Dr. Megan Davies resigns over McCrory admin falsehoods

The difference between a public servant and a political hack:

In her resignation letter, shared with several members of the press Wednesday afternoon, Davies said an editorial issued earlier in the week signed by top agency officials "presents a false narrative" that pins a decision to alert well owners near coal ash ponds of elevated levels of toxic elements solely on Ken Rudo, a state toxicologist in Davies' division.

"Upon reading the open editorial yesterday evening, I can only conclude that the Department's leadership is fully aware that this document misinforms the public," Davies wrote. "I cannot work for a Department and an Administration that deliberately misleads the public."

Thanks, Doc. Taking a stand like this requires a level of intestinal fortitude (guts) that is unfortunately a rare commodity these days.

NCGA funds new environmental "Center" at UNC-CH

And its objectivity is already in question:

With $7 million in potential startup funds and $6 million in funding over the next four years, the project represents one of the state’s largest recent investments in environmental science. Although it didn’t make headlines during the legislative session, the size of the investment and UNC-Chapel Hill’s new role in developing state natural resource and environmental policy have drawn a lot of interest.

Tedder, who worked on water quality programs at what is now the Department of Environmental Quality, said the center could prove to be a positive development as long as researchers are able to maintain their independence. “I hope they don’t have to work under something where there’s a controlled message,” he said.

This Center already has two strikes against it, as far as I'm concerned. First, it won't be under an academic umbrella, it will be part of the "business and finance" structure of the University. And God only knows what types of private-sector partnerships would be deemed "beneficial" under that rubric. Second, the early front-runner for leadership of this new entity is the Bergermeister's very own Jeffrey Warren:


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