NCGA

The Results Are In.

The results are in.
A survey of school superintendents from around the state is now available. It remains to be seen what conclusions our NC policymakers will draw from these statistics.

Of the most significant issues facing our schools today, the respondents to the survey overwhelming agreed that teacher pay, insufficient school funding and teacher morale were at the top of the list of issues facing NC schools.

A closer look at NC DHHS' systemic voter suppression

This level of incompetence and non-compliance doesn't occur without some driving force:

North Carolina’s violations of Section 7 of the NVRA are demonstrated by multiple sources of information, including data reported by the NCSBE as well as the state Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS program forms, interviews conducted at North Carolina Department of Social Services (“DSS”) and Public Health (“WIC”) offices (collectively “DHHS offices”); and review of third-party contractor processes. Together, the sources of information reveal that DHHS is systematically failing to provide the voter registration services mandated by Section 7 the NVRA.

Moms put Harris Teeter on notice about open carry in their stores

Fresh from my in-box:

ASHEVILLE, NC – Asheville-area members of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America will visit the Harris Teeter store at 136 Merrimon Avenue in Asheville on May 9th at 10 a.m. to return their loyalty cards and deliver signatures of North Carolina residents asking Harris Teeter to change their firearm policy to prohibit the open carry of firearms along with a collection of receipts from stores with better gun policies. Harris Teeter currently allows the open carry of firearms in its stores, putting the safety and security of its customers and employees at risk.

Profiles in idiocy: Why do I have two garbage cans?

Dana Bumgardner wins this week's Cletus award:

"I live in a city that has recycling - what they call a recycling system," Bumgardner said. "We have to have two garbage cans. I really don’t have room for two garbage cans and don’t want two garbage cans. But when I set it on the side of the road, they don’t pick it up and take it with them. They just empty it and put it back."

And before you ask, yes, he really did say that. I've got one word for you, Dana: Bisphenol A. Okay, that's arguably two words. The thing is, when you microwave your Hungry Man meals, that BPA has a tendency to transfer from the plastic over to your genetically-modified fried chicken and laboratory-concocted mashed potatoes, disrupting hormones, and in your case apparently destroying what few active brain cells you have. If you don't recycle that plastic tray it will be put into the ground, where it will continue to leach away BPA, eventually making the microorganisms who try to convert it into useful nutrients just as stupid as you are. You don't want that to happen, do you? I didn't think so.

Setting the record straight on NC's unemployment debt

Kudos to the N&O editorial staff for telling it like it is:

North Carolinians can be forgiven if they don’t applaud the payoff of the state’s unemployment insurance debt a year early, which the governor and the self-satisfied architects of the GOP agenda in the legislature celebrated Tuesday with big smiles on their faces and disgracefully over-the-top rhetoric by McCrory. Said he, “It took visionary leadership, it took courage and it took fortitude to make it happen.”

That’s insulting and ridiculous. Courage? Whose courage? The people who needed courage here were the ones victimized by Republican policies cutting their benefits for their families. Fortitude? The fortitude came from those whose hills got a little steeper thanks to the Republicans.

Coal Ash Wednesday: 93% of tested wells contaminated

And Duke Energy still refuses to take responsibility:

The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Tuesday that 152 wells tested near Duke's dumps failed to meet state groundwater standards. That represents more than 93 percent of the 163 wells for which tests have been completed so far.

So far, Duke is providing bottled water to "about half a dozen" of the residents, but the company indicated that number is expected to rise. The company maintains the groundwater contamination is all naturally occurring.

What is that? 4% of the people with contaminated wells are getting some bottles of water? That number had better rise, and with the quickness, or Duke Energy's public relations nightmare will get a lot worse.

The "Broken Promises" tour is back on the road

And the GOP propaganda machine is running in overdrive trying to catch it:

A coalition of progressive groups Monday began rolling a billboard around North Carolina urging Gov. Pat McCrory to veto a bill that would extend the waiting period for an abortion.

“We find this to be medically unnecessary, we find this to be bad medicine, we find this to be bad law and bad for the people of North Carolina,” said Shoshannah Sayers, interim executive director of NARAL Pro Choice North Carolina. She spoke in front of a rolling billboard that features McCrory and his 2008 response when asked what further restrictions on abortion he would sign. “None,” McCrory replied.

Here are this week's stops on the tour, hat-tip to NC Policy Watch's Clayton Henkel for compiling the list:
Greensboro, NC: Old Guilford Co. Courthouse (301 W. Market Street), Wednesday, May 6th at 12:30 PM
Greenville, NC: Pitt Co. Courthouse (100 W. Third Street), Thursday, May 7th at 12:30 PM
New Bern, NC: Craven Co. Government Building (406 Craven Street), Thursday, May 7th at 4:00 PM
Wilmington, NC: Wilmington City Hall (102 N 3rd St), Friday, May 8th at 11:00 AM

Argumentum ad Temperantiam brings REPS to its knees

Also known as "middle ground" or "appeal to moderation" logical fallacies:

When a similar bill filed this session was voted down in committee, Hager added the substance of the bill as an amendment to Regulatory Reform Act of 2015. Hager’s amendment capped the requirement at 6 percent and set it to expire altogether in 2018.

After push back from supporters of renewable energy, a compromise amendment approved late Wednesday caps the rate permanently at 6 percent and repeals an 80 percent property-tax break that solar farms and facilities now receive. “It saves REPS but freezes it,” said Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford), who fought to establish the standards in 2007.

I would never dream of questioning or advising Pricey on legislative matters or environmental issues. That being said, it's my understanding that Hager's amendment (which, as a bill, couldn't make it out of Committee) was withdrawn when this "compromise" amendment was accepted. Meaning an amendment with a questionable chance of passing on the floor served as a "lever" to swing votes for this other, less damaging amendment. Here's a question for lawmakers: If either of these amendments were put forward by themselves, where no comparisons or compromises were involved, would either have passed?

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