Tuesday Twitter roundup

The GOP underfunding of government services is taking a toll:

And sometimes people pay the ultimate price for that negligence:

Never again: Lessons need to be learned from Hurricane Matthew

Residents in Lumberton are still suffering from this disaster:

The southern part of Lumberton was one of the hardest hit areas by the Oct. 8 storm, primarily due to widespread flooding from an engorged Lumber River. Dozens of people were stranded and needed to be rescued, while hundreds were forced from their homes. Five shelters were opened for more than 1,800 people. In the days following the hurricane, many residents were trapped because water had flooded major roads in the city cutting them off.

With no electricity, there was virtually no gasoline, water or food for sale. Bottled water and military MREs were distributed to residents from 10 of the county’s 28 fire stations. The city’s water treatment plant flooded, shutting down public water for about two weeks. About a week after the hurricane, officials attributed three deaths in Robeson County to Hurricane Matthew.

Although McCrory started making noises in late October about a Special Session to allocate funds for the disaster, it didn't happen until mid-December. And Republicans promptly added two more sessions to take away power from Governor-elect Roy Cooper after they had dealt with those pesky relief funds. And just to give you an idea how venal and opportunistic they are, here's Tim Moore's announcement on the bill:

Monday News: Mapmakers take heat

PUBLIC SPEAKERS OVERWHELMINGLY SUPPORT REDISTRICTING REFORM: “There is a rumor that red maps have been drawn already,” said Janis Ramquist, a Raleigh resident who told lawmakers she had known some of them for four decades and was saddened “that so many people distrust you and believe the worst in you.” James Wood, a 19-year-old Raleigh resident, shook his finger at the legislators as he criticized their protracted effort in the courts, and the millions of dollars spent on legal fees, fighting maps that did not pass constitutional muster. As his voice rose, Wood told the lawmakers that he thought with a piece of paper and a pencil that he could “draw districts pretty fairly.” “We are done with your pettiness and in the not so distant future when we are up there running the show, things are going to be different,” Wood said.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article165547262.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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VOTERS MUST HOLD LEGISLATORS ACCOUNTABLE ON REDISTRICTING: Legislative leaders have given little assurance that they intend to create fair and balanced or even lawful legislative districts. The committees’ leaders will cry crocodile tears, complaining that overbearing judges have imposed a tight deadline that will allow only limited public participation. House and Senate Redistricting Chairmen Rep. David Lewis, R-Harnett and Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, already are blaming the judges, who frankly have been far too tolerant of legislative procrastination and secrecy. “While we had originally planned to set aside additional time to receive comments from North Carolinians and hold a statewide public hearing on criteria across the state, we have said all along that we will comply with the federal court’s order. Moving forward with this process over the next week will help us comply with the court’s deadline,” Lewis and Hise said in an announcement late Wednesday afternoon. Please! The court order is no excuse to limit or diminish public participation. This is 2017, not 1817. It is an automobile parking lot under the Legislative Building, not stables. Those are computers and smartphones on the desks, not parchment, inkwells and quills.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-voters-must-hold-legislators-accountable-on-redistricting/16858773/

The flaws of pay-for-performance in teacher salaries

Coming soon to the Chapel Hill/Carrboro school system:

The State Board of Education on Thursday approved a plan to provide up to $10.2 million over the next three years to six school systems to test their alternative models for paying teachers. The districts are planning to use different options, such as paying teachers more based on whether they take advanced leadership positions or have good student test results.

Lawmakers who ordered the state board to establish the pilot program are looking to see whether the district models can be applied statewide. “This is an opportunity for teachers to advance in their career while still working with students in the classroom,” said Bryan Hassel, co-director of Public Impact, a Chapel Hill-based education firm that is working with two of the districts in the pilot program.

As in any occupation, professional development should be rewarded. Advanced degrees, newly acquired skills, targeted certifications, these things represent efforts to improve one's capabilities and should not be overlooked or taken for granted. But this whole idea of imagining a subset of teachers who are a "cut above" the rest, and should be elevated to role models for the vast majority of their colleagues who are "substandard," is really nothing more than a backhand slap to the profession itself. And in an environment where nearly everybody can agree that testing as a tool for educating has gotten out of control, to throw extra money at teachers if their students score higher completely ignores all the new research that shows economic status is the main determining factor in student performance. A good analogy would be if you went to a grocery store parking lot and said, "These four rows of cars will race each other." And then be surprised when the Porsche wins. A few observations from Mark Jewell:

Saturday News: Theatre of the absurd

GUN NUTS FROM GRNC PUT ON A COSTUME PARTY AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY: A group of gun rights activists – some of them dressed in rhinoceros costumes – held a rally outside the legislature Thursday calling on N.C. Senate Republicans to pass legislation loosening gun permit requirements. They vowed to fight Republicans who don't support the bill in the 2018 election. Grass Roots North Carolina held the event to introduce a new mascot called Squish the Magic RINO, a reference to the acronym “Republican in name only.” Shortly after he was introduced, Squish – a group member wearing a rubber rhinoceros face mask – was unmasked when General Assembly police officers told him it’s illegal to wear a mask on state government property.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article16...

Josh Stein lays off 45 at AG's office, still not enough

GOP budget cuts are recklessly endangering the administration of justice in NC:

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced on Thursday that he has eliminated 45 positions in the state Department of Justice after the state budget adopted earlier this summer included a surprise $10 million budget cut.

“What I’m telling you today is, we can’t do the last third,” said Stein, a Democrat in his first term. “The last third will put too much damage, too much risk on the public’s safety. For that reason, we are repeating our call to the General Assembly: ‘Please, protect the people of North Carolina, and find a way to fill this gap.’ ”

What you're seeing right now might be the true danger of gerrymandering, lawmaking that actually imperils the safety of the citizenry. Under a more competitive districting situation, such reckless behavior could be corrected in the voting booth. But when your power is guaranteed by crooked maps, you don't really care what the voters think.

Friday News: Indictments coming?

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MUELLER EMPANELS GRAND JURY TO ASSIST IN TRUMP/RUSSIA PROBE: Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in his probe into whether President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, according to the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. Grand juries can be the first step in a criminal trial and are generally reserved for serious felonies, but the impaneling of a grand jury does not mean someone is being charged with a crime. Grand juries do have subpoena power for witnesses and records before they have chosen whether to indict the involved party. Trump has denied his campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, referring to Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article165294112.html

Add judges to that list of GOP cuts to legal professionals

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Our entire system of justice is being put at risk:

According to the latest lists released by the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), there are now only 10 active emergency superior court judges and 25 emergency district court judges. Prior to the July 1 effective date of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, there were 42 emergency superior court judges and 72 emergency district court judges. The new list reflects an overall reduction of 69.2%.

According to emails obtained by NC Policy Watch, the cuts were causing concerns in the court system even days after the budget was passed.

I'm sure they were. In any given month, NC's Superior and District Courts handle over 15,000 cases. And they've been doing so under an ever-shrinking budget since Republicans took over the General Assembly. Understand, these are both civil and criminal cases, and some of the latter deal with violent criminals. When you refuse to fund the system properly, the number of violent criminals who plea bargain their case down increases, and the number of victims who never get their day in court increases also. Making this a public safety issue, put in the irresponsible hands of unqualified politicians and their lackeys:

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