NCGA

Pat gets out the red pen

Guvnor McCraven, continuing his unsuccessful attempts to appear relevant, decided it was time to veto something again.

Gov. Pat McCrory has vetoed a bill tweaking the state's unemployment insurance law and the commission that makes final benefit decisions in appeals.

McCrory said in a statement Tuesday that he was unhappy with the legislature's changes to a three-member Board of Review, which he has the power to appoint.

As with his previous two vetoes from last session, Pouting Pat chose a relatively obscure bill that has broad support, and gave a really petty, nitpicking reason for vetoing it. Pat is upset because he appointed some of his cronies and now Tillisberger wants to boot those folks off the commission and have approval rights for future appointments.

Skip Stam's bigotry goes over the top -- again

During debate over an amendment to protect LGBT students in charter schools, North Carolina's bigot-in-chief Skip Stam decided he would embarrass himself, the general assembly and our state:

During debate, Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam (R-Wake) took objection to the addition of "sexual orientation" as a protected class for students, stating that "pedophila" and "masochism" are one of 30 sexual ” orientations” he claimed exist. Stam went on to circulate a misleading handout to fellow House members on "What is Sexual Orientation?"

Rep. Tricia Cotham tweeted a copy of Skip's horrible handout that claims 30 "sexual orientations" such as arousal by feces. No kidding

Berger tries (and fails) to justify his tenure blackmail scheme

Not much of a salesman, frankly:

Building on feedback from educators, the Senate proposal would repeal the law that automatically eliminates tenure in 2018 and instead offer teachers a choice. Teachers who decide to work on annual contracts would move to the new pay scale and receive the substantial salary increase. Those who decide they value tenure more would remain on the current pay schedule.

Now, some liberal special interests and columnists demagogue and diminish the opportunity for teachers to receive a generous 11 percent raise in exchange for signing an annual contract. But bear in mind that most North Carolinians - save for a few rare cases like professional athletes, celebrities and CEOs - work "at will" with no problem.

You really are one arrogant son of a bitch, aren't you? To be clear, the imbalance of power between employee and employer in NC is nothing to brag about. That most people can be terminated without cause, many kept from receiving a decent severance, and in some cases denied their rightful unemployment benefits, is shameful and hearkens back to the late 19th Century before the labor movement. In other words, a Republican paradise. And the longer we let Phil Berger run the show, the farther back in time we will travel.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This one deserves rescuing:

His history of race-based prejudicial behavior makes him one of the worst possible nominees for the job:

Concerns arise out of proposed sale of Jennette's Pier

Strictly business or political pay-back?

More than 10 years ago, with the pier at risk of being demolished and replaced by a hotel or luxury homes, the N.C. Aquarium Society, the nonprofit support arm of the state’s three aquariums, helped by Basnight’s considerable political muscle, bought the pier, the attached pier house and 5.12 acres of mostly oceanfront property for $4.2 million, tapping a $4.6 million grant from the trust fund.

It wasn’t long before Republican unhappiness with Jennette’s bubbled to the surface.

“Is owning a pier a core function of government or is that better left to the free market?” Becki Gray, vice president for outreach with the John Locke Foundation, a conservative policy group in Raleigh, wrote in the Oct. 29, 2010, edition of the foundation’s Carolina Journal Online. “Could those funds be spent better on education or public safety, or, better yet, returned to taxpayers? . . . The state shouldn’t be in the pier business.”

Because Basnight. Seriously, if anybody can point me in the direction of a Democrat-sponsored project the puppets at JLF or Civitas actually supported, I'll eat my hat. It doesn't matter if Jennette's Pier is raking in the cash for the state or if everybody who lives within 50 miles of the pier loves the place, it's got Marc Basnight's fingerprints all over it so its days are numbered.

Forward Together: Moral Monday spreads to Wisconsin

The enemy of my enemy is my friend:

The Reverend William Barber, the leading voice of the Forward Together coalition in North Carolina, found a very attentive audience when he spoke to more than 100 activists in Milwaukee last weekend. Rev. Barber, a key NAACP leader, forcefully underscored the clear common ground Wisconsin shares with North Carolina.

"North Carolina and Wisconsin have the most extremist governments in the nation," Barber declared. "In North Carolina, we have Governor Pat McCrory and Speaker Thom Tillis [now running for the US Senate], all funded by Art Pope," a wealthy local rightwing donor who works closely with the billionaire Koch brothers. The Kochs were also Walker's largest funders in his 2010 election.

Reverend Barber defines several key characteristics of the movement in this article, proving that it's not just "a mob" gathering to complain:

Decker's conflicts of interest abound

Playing musical chairs with private-sector corporate boards:

Family Dollar has been trying to fix its problems while remaining a stand-alone company --- shuffling its executive ranks, announcing plans to close 370 under-performing stores and laying off more than 100 workers at its Matthews headquarters. Family Dollar spokeswoman Kiley Rawlins declined to comment Friday on takeover speculation.

N.C. Secretary of Commerce Sharon Decker --- whose job includes attracting and retaining businesses --- is also a member of Family Dollar's board. That could put her in the potentially awkward situation of being asked to vote on a business deal that could result in North Carolina losing a major employer, if Family Dollar were to be sold.

"Awkward" is a relative term. Decker wasn't elected, she was appointed, and she would have to bounce on her head several times to achieve the level of awkwardness demonstrated by other appointees like Aldona Wos. But the sheer number of Family Dollar stores scattered around the state opens up a huge can of worms for the Commerce Secretary. Incentivizing distribution facilities? Or blocking such for Family Dollar competitors? And (of course) as a sitting Board member, she could profit a great deal under a buyout/merger, while thousands of North Carolinians are handed pink slips. Ergo, conflict.

In-depth primer on NC's Medicaid issues

You may want to bookmark this page:

Q: How do you apply for benefits? How are those benefits delivered?

People may apply online or in person through their county social service office. In addition, those who apply for Supplemental Security Income, a cash benefit issued through the Social Security Administration, are automatically applying for Medicaid as well.

For those who qualify, the system works much like health insurance. When a Medicaid patient seeks treatment, the system pays for the individual services provided to the patient.

I've spent several hours today trying to wrap my mind around what Republicans are trying to do with their various Medicaid reform schemes, and I feel like I know even less about it now than I did. Which gives you a pretty good idea of how much they know about it, too. Bottom line is: some 1.6 million North Carolinians rely on Medicaid to keep them alive, much less healthy. We screw this up, people die. A big hat-tip to Mark Binker for putting this together. He put some hours into it. Here's what the GOP is talking about doing:

Republican foolishness on education funding: lottery tickets and license plates

And the third part of the "3 L's" program is lemonade stands:

A proposed bill passed by a Senate Education Committee on Wednesday suggests collecting money for the fund through individual and business donations, tax refunds and special license plates.

Originally introduced by Republican Lt. Governor Dan Forest, the proposal presents a framework for an endowment and does not lay out the criteria for how the money is used. “It’s a creative response to tough economic times,” said Forest at an education committee meeting in May. He said that he expects the fund to “raise billions” over the years.

Right, because tough economic times are known for people donating vast sums of money for charitable causes and splurging on vanity license plates. Honestly, the idea machine of the NC GOP reminds me of the old Model T engine, constantly backfiring and making a lot of smoke for every twenty feet it travels.

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