scharrison's blog

Just what we need, another Berger sizzling on the political grill

Rockingham Vice Commissioner Berger (ugh) wants to join Guilford in attacking the News & Record:

During Monday’s regular meeting, the Board of Commissioners approved a resolution requesting the North Carolina General Assembly to allow the publication of legal notices on the county-maintained website.

The resolution reads as a “response to technological advances” and cites the 2016 FCC Broadband Progress Report, which says 95 percent of Rockingham County residents have broadband coverage, as a reason for the change. It also takes aim at the “less than 4,000” subscription rate for local publication RockinghamNow, as well as the 5,900 total subscribed to Greensboro News & Record’s Rockingham section.

Sorry about the picture, but I just wanted to make sure you didn't overlook my comments about the existence of a 3rd f**king Berger on the loose.

NC Republicans jump the shark on judicial elections

Trying to slash their terms to two years:

Chairmen of the House and Senate rules committees released a proposal Tuesday that would reduce terms for trial and appeals court judges to two years. District Court judges currently serve four-year terms, while Superior Court and Court of Appeals judges and Supreme Court justices get eight-year terms.

Under the proposal, voters would decide in May whether to reduce the terms and put all incumbents up for re-election the following November. Legislative support for the bill is unclear, and a news release announcing the bill suggests it could be designed to spite Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

These guys are simply out of control. Probably 95% of North Carolinians would prefer to see less politics influencing the judiciary, but forcing these judges to run every two years will put them on a constant campaign footing, just like Congress and the Legislature. They're literally turning into gameshow hosts with their behavior, circulating rumors of taking away judicial elections completely, and then opening the curtains with flair proclaiming, "Even more elections! Elections all the time! Whee!" Dog help us.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Happening this morning:

We're almost done with the 6th year of Republican rule in the General Assembly, and the progress they've made in destroying democracy is enough to take your breath away.

Monday Numbers: The devastation of Trump's attack on ACA subsidies

No matter how you slice it, this is incredibly bad for most Americans:

25—percentage increase projected by the Congressional Budget Office in health premiums for medium-cost plans on the ACA health exchanges when cost-sharing subsidies under the heath care law are eliminated.

200 billion—amount in dollars of the increase in the federal budget deficit over the next 10 years the CBO projects when cost-sharing subsidies under the Affordable Care Act are ended.

1 million—number of Americans the CBO projects will lose coverage when cost-sharing subsidies under the Affordable Care Act end because of no insurance carriers in their markets.

For every action there's a reaction, and sometimes that reaction is much greater than the action, and not just "equal and opposite." The domino effect from pulling even one of the critical elements out of the ACA could be catastrophic, and you can look to NC's refusal to expand Medicaid as proof if you need it.

Dale Folwell jumps on the anti-Obamacare bandwagon

Because of course he did:

The HIT is an Obamacare tax on health insurance premiums designed to help offset the cost of the tax credits for ACA exchange enrollees. Recognizing the negative impact the tax was having across the nation, Congress worked across the aisle in late 2015 to pass a bipartisan one-year moratorium on the tax for 2017, saving the health care system $21.4 billion.

Republicans were expected to tackle the HIT through the repeal of the ACA. The House-approved measure to repeal and replace the failing law and the two main Senate bills all included provisions to end this irresponsible tax. But, unfortunately, congressional lawmakers weren’t able to pass the legislation.

At its core this is a GOP "divide and conquer" tactic. Without the HIT, the funding for subsidies will disappear, immediately followed by the subsidies themselves. And millions of Americans will no longer be able to afford plans offered through the ACA Marketplace. As far as Folwell's grossly inaccurate claim about the ACA being a "failing law," it's actually he and other Republicans who are making it fail. And they will be responsible for the deaths of thousands of North Carolinians in the long run, so before any of you braniacs at SEANC decide to pat him on the back for this, step back and look at the bigger picture.

Meadows attempts to spread his disease to Democrats

meadowsteaparty.jpg

And they need to run like scalded dogs:

In a bid to help shape and build support for the tax package, the North Carolina Republican has been reaching across the aisle to a handful of moderate Democrats, he told The Hill in an interview. The outreach includes Rep. John Delaney (Md.), who has said he's running for president in 2020, and Rep. John Garamendi, the former California insurance commissioner and lieutenant governor.

Meadows's top ally, former Freedom Caucus chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), has taken part in many of those informal, bipartisan discussions. A number of skeptical, moderate Republicans could peel off from the GOP tax-reform bill, so Meadows and Jordan are looking to make up for those losses with Democratic votes.

Oh, hell no. If those Democrats truly are interested in coming up with some bi-partisan approach that will give them some leverage on this issue, they need to deal with a genuine moderate Republican (if they can find one) and not a Tea-Party megalomaniac like Mark Meadows. Seriously, this dude would shut down government and throw us into another deep recession if he thought it would give him half a point in the polls and an extra five minutes in front of a camera. And while this idea might look good on paper:

History schmistory: John Grisham gets permission to remove Chapel Hill cottages

Apparently some houses don't deserve to be painted:

The cottages are located on four separate lots behind the home at 704 E. Franklin St. that Grisham and his wife Renee bought last year. The four lots were purchased earlier this year, county records show. The Grishams want to replace the cottages with landscaping where their property backs up to the Battle Park forest.

The commission approved Grisham’s plan Tuesday after two hours of debate but also voted to delay demolition by 365 days, the maximum time allowed under state law. Grisham, the commission and Preservation Chapel Hill are looking for someone to move the cottages to a new location.

At least one of the "morals" of this story: If a community really wants to preserve historical areas and structures, that community needs to take them off the market. And keep them off the market. That requires not only an investment up front, but the commitment to maintain them. I've seen what can happen if you don't (as I'm sure many of you have). In my town, about half of the "points of interest" in our historic walking tour are places that no longer exist, that have been replaced by newer (commercial mostly) structures. As far as Grisham's "right" to develop his own property, it should be noted this is not his primary residence:

Wilmington resident files potential class-action lawsuit over GenX

Sometimes waiting for official actions is not enough:

Filed in Federal District Court in Wilmington on behalf of city resident Brent Nix, the suit seeks health monitoring for illnesses that may be caused by GenX and similar contaminants released into the Cape Fear River from Chemours’s plant 160 km upriver in Fayetteville, N.C. In addition, it seeks compensation for lost property value on behalf of Nix and as many as 100,000 additional plaintiffs should the court certify the case as a class-action suit.

According to the suit, “defendants have negligently and otherwise acted to cause toxic chemicals to be released from the Fayetteville Works Site, which then traveled to and contaminated and damaged the properties and household water supplies of plaintiff and class members, and exposed them to toxic chemicals.”

Go get 'em, Brent. These corporate polluters have been playing (and mostly winning) the game of profits outpacing the legal costs of bad behavior for way too long, and civil court may be the only way to force them into a "Come to Jesus" moment to change their ways.

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