NC GOP

More proof that charters are resegregating NC classrooms

And more embarrassing national media exposure:

The most recent cautionary tale comes from North Carolina, where professors at Duke have traced a troubling trend of resegregation since the first charters opened in 1997. They contend that North Carolina’s charter schools have become a way for white parents to secede from the public school system, as they once did to escape racial integration orders.

“They appear pretty clearly to be a way for white students to get out of more racially integrated schools,” said economics professor Helen Ladd, one of the authors of the draft report released Monday.

The sad and frustrating thing is, Republicans in the General Assembly probably think that's a legitimate desire for white parents to have, and the government should actually help them to achieve it.

Tax filing deadline stress-relief thread

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With friends like this, citizens don't need enemies:

The more the Republicans in Raleigh talk about “tax reform,” the clearer it becomes that what they’re pushing isn’t reform at all.

What it amounts to is a haphazard, poorly planned, rather chaotic series of steps designed for one overriding purpose: to win favor with the corporations and wealthy individuals who bankroll legislators campaigns — while at the same time repeatedly undercutting poor and middle-class North Carolinians who can least afford it.

Yeah, if I was really concerned about easing your stress, I probably wouldn't have posted a picture of a lady pulling her hair out by the roots. Most of you are smart enough to have already taken care of this, but for those who haven't: What the hell were you thinking? You're almost out of time, for God's sake! ;)

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke plays "no power for military bases" card

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"You can't convict us of a crime, because the world will end if you do.":

If Duke Energy pleads guilty to federal criminal violations of the Clean Water Act, will the lights go out at Ft. Bragg, N.C.?. The nation’s largest electric utility raised that possibility in federal court Tuesday, suggesting that a federal law could prevent a guilty Duke Energy from supplying power to military bases and federal facilities in North Carolina.

The issue arose in court Tuesday when the judge referred to earlier motions filed by Duke regarding possible threat to electric power at federal facilities in the state.

They always have an angle, don't they? If Duke Energy put a fraction of the energy they expend to avoid responsibility into operating cleanly and safely, they wouldn't need to be in the courtroom to make this argument.

Faux Twitter accounts to be a Felony offense?

And you thought I was using hyperbole in describing NC's government as a third-world dictatorship:

AN ACT making impersonation of an actual person over the internet for certain unlawful purposes a class h felony.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: SECTION 1. Article 20 of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
"§ 14‑118.8. Online impersonation.
(a) The following definitions apply in this section:
(1) Credible impersonation. – If another person would reasonably believe, or did reasonably believe, that the defendant was or is the person who was impersonated.
(2) Electronic means. – Includes an electronic mail account, text or instant messaging account, or an account or profile on a social networking Internet Web site in another person's name.

(b) Any person who knowingly and without consent engages in a credible impersonation of another actual person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person is guilty of a Class H Felony. A violation of this subsection is punishable by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

Republicans have cooked up a lot of crazy in the last few years, but this one sets a new standard.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Good leadership means recognizing an opportunity for what it is:

And not what national political campaign advisors tell you that it is. Expanding Medicaid is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do as well.

Public hearings on Lee and Chatham coal ash dumps

The first is tonight and the second Thursday evening:

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources will hold two public hearings this week on a plan to allow Duke Energy to move up to 20 million tons of coal ash to two landfills in Lee and Chatham counties. The projects require multiple environmental permits. The hearings will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with sign-up for speakers beginning at 5 p.m.

▪ Monday, Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center, 1801 Nash St., Sanford.

▪ Thursday, Chatham County Historic Courthouse, 9 Hillsboro St., Pittsboro.

It appears there is some conflict within the environmental community over this plan:

Living and dying under Cherie Berry's watch

Sorry, but your death means nothing to us:

Goodson, an Orange County man who spent most of his life cutting and dragging massive logs off vast tracts of land, was missing from the 2013 tally. That March, Goodson died instantly when a log slipped from a machine his boss operated and struck him in the head. State inspectors quickly opened a case, but they stopped before getting very far.

Goodson’s arrangement with his boss, Danny Gentry of Gentry’s Logging, was informal, consisting of a handshake and a wad of cash paid irregularly. In the eyes of state investigators, Goodson wasn’t an employee. An investigator closed the case after determining that Goodson, as an independent contractor, wasn’t in the agency’s jurisdiction.

Just an aside: This type of employment is exactly what Civitas/JLF and other Libertarian groups think would be the best arrangement. No government oversight, no worker's compensation insurance, just a personal contract between worker and employer. And if you die on the job? That's just the free market providing a job opening for someone else. And filtering the reported deaths makes for some good (however fraudulent) PR:

Tarte and his merry band of vigilantes

Badges? We don't need no stinking badges:

“Politely, I take offense to that,” said Tarte, 58, a hunter who said he has gotten three concealed-carry permits in his lifetime. “That’s not the intent in any way shape or form. It’s not people going out looking to enforce law.”

Rather, Tarte said, it would be for people who find themselves in emergencies that law enforcement officers have yet to respond to. “We’ve got so much nonsense going on,” Tarte said. “We’ve got evil people. There’s no possible way police can respond to everything.”

You're right about the nonsense going on...

The search for Art Pope

The search committee to find the successor to UNC President Tom Ross has been announced. What characteristics were the Board of Governors seeking in search committee members? Perhaps knowledge of the university system, experience in recruiting top-level academics or knowledge about a presidential search process?

“You like to think that ideologies don’t matter because we’re all trying to find the very best leader for the university system, but in reality you do need a viewpoint of different ideologies in that process,” [Board of Governors vice chair Lou] Bissette said.

The GOP's bloodless coup of Wake County

The rise of the mapmakers:

Despite the fact that about 30,000 more voters chose Democrats than Republicans, the Republican candidates would have ended Election Day as the dominant party in Wake County government.

The law stacks up tens of thousands of Democratic voters in a few districts, guaranteeing huge margins but fewer victories. For example, a Democratic candidate could win 80 percent of the ballots in District 4, covering southeast Raleigh, Garner and Knightdale, or 72 percent of District 2, covering central Raleigh.

While Republicans have proven to be very clever at manipulating maps to gain majorities they don't really possess, their arrogance and patently un-democratic motives are becoming more and more transparent each time they do it. And more likely to come apart under the harsh scrutiny of judicial review. This is also another prime example of the folly behind "local" bills not requiring executive review. The Governor's mansion sits square in the middle of this particular crisis, and cutting him out of the loop is a sign of terminal hubris.

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