NCGA

Tuesday Twitter roundup

When your political ad helps your opponent more than you:

Not sure Tillis has a non-ugly side, but he'd better find it soon or suffer the same consequences as Liddy Dole did with her "devil-worship" fiasco. Closely related:

Union.

Report shows gaping holes in NC's skilled labor pool

But it doesn't come as a surprise to some of us:

State officials at the Department of Commerce’s Labor and Economic Analysis Division compiled the survey after hearing similar stories from companies across the state. The problem is across the board — in small towns and large.

When the business was strong, so were training programs for machine technicians. Not anymore. “We’re not having trouble hearing from people who have been in the textile industry,” Durham said. “It’s more the higher-skilled technicians. These are just not turning up. We have people wanting those jobs, but they’re just not experienced.”

What a lot of these young managers don't understand: even back in the textile "boom" years, many of those machines were being fixed either by their operators or jack-leg mechanics, not highly-skilled technicians. In the absence of a union influence, job descriptions and requirements were (are) hazy at best, and the cheapest alternative was usually sought. But while we may not have exactly what an employer is looking for on an application, that doesn't mean the jobs can't be filled. It just means the employers need to do their own apprenticeships and promote from within.

GOP crams online charter schools down NC's throat

Mandating a failing system:

The state budget that Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law earlier this month includes a provision requiring the State Board of Education to authorize two online charter schools to serve K-12 students by next fall.

In drafting the budget provision for the virtual charter schools, lawmakers ignored many of the education board's recommendations. For example, lawmakers allowed the online schools to receive both state and local funding for students, while regular charter schools receive only state money. State law also lets the online schools enroll more students and have more students drop out than educators wanted.

Bolding mine. When your pet project (K12 Inc) has so many shortcomings and faults it can't meet even the minimum standards of being authorized, what do you do? You either lower the standards or you force the authorizing body to acquiesce via government fiat. Adding to the ever-growing list of behaviors exhibited by our General Assembly that closely resemble that of Third-World tyrants.

The NC GOP's extremist legislation leads to a litany of lawsuits

And it may be the people's only defense against an overreaching government:

Since Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2011, the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, redrawn legislative and congressional district voting maps, a law requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls, a law requiring a doctor to narrate an ultrasound before providing an abortion, a law creating a "Choose Life" license plate and a budget provision eliminating the tenure rights of veteran teachers all have led to lawsuits against the state.

Michael Gerhardt, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law and director of the Center for Law and Government at the University of North Carolina School of Law, said he doesn't find the raft of lawsuits unusual. "When you have a legislature that was fairly aggressive like this one was to try and change a lot of areas of life in North Carolina, then you can expect some push-back," Gerhardt said.

Republicans are outraged that the courts became involved in these issues, but they should have thought about that when they decided to attack certain groups of citizens. Prejudice and misogynistic leanings have no place in the halls of government, and the products of those twisted beliefs should be challenged.

Coal Ash Wednesday: I'll see your fine and raise you a rate

Disciplinary action or election-year posturing?

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a notice of violation to Duke over the ongoing contamination at the L.V. Sutton Electric Plant in New Hanover County. The site includes a pair of unlined dumps estimated to hold 2.6 million tons of ash.

The state says monitoring wells near Duke's dumps at Sutton showed readings exceeding state groundwater standards for boron, thallium, selenium, iron, manganese and other chemicals. Thallium was used for decades as the active ingredient in rat poison until it was banned because it is so highly toxic.

Make no mistake, Duke Energy should be fined for allowing toxic chemicals to leak from their coal ash impoundments. But considering they will soon be pursuing (and likely be granted) rate increases from the NCUC, whatever fines they do pay for this will be easily recouped from the people. And efforts by DENR to conceal or edit test results calls the timing of this action into question:

One voice

What is it about my vote that the NCGA doesn’t like? Most of you already know me at least by my activity on BlueNC. My name is Brian. I am a new transfer student at UNC-Pembroke. I am majoring in Political Science and the first few days of classes have started to open up my mind and make me think about that one question, what is it about my vote that the NCGA doesn’t like? That is a rhetorical question. I know what it is. I do not vote the way the “majority” wants me to vote, I am a member of a demographic that historically doesn’t vote the way the “majority” wants me to.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The harsh reality of the GOP's failure to properly fund public education:

And no math formula can make it right:

Public forum on fracking in Rockingham County this evening

And the voices of dissent are growing:

The N.C. Mining and Energy Commission is seeking input from the public on proposed rules for oil and gas development. The meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Aug. 25 at Rockingham County High School in Wentworth.

Also on Monday, opponents to fracking are organizing a Frack Free NC rally at 4:15 p.m. in front of Rockingham County High School.

So far, opponents have outnumbered pro-frackers by a sizeable margin, but that hasn't stopped media from giving them equal time. Which is exactly what FreedomWorks is counting on.

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