GOP wrecking ball swings at teachers, again

Why should we care about your health after you've retired?

In a meeting Wednesday where House lawmakers discussed key differences between the two chambers’ 2015-17 budget proposals, Rep. Gary Pendleton (R-Raleigh) said he was all for eliminating retiree medical benefits for future teachers and state employees.

“That’s something that should have been done a long time ago,” said Pendleton after legislative staff outlined the differences between salaries and benefits in the House and Senate budgets.

Pardon my French, but va te faire foutre, you miserable excuse for a human being. Is that what they get for dedicating their life to nurturing and painstakingly preparing our children to go out in the world and succeed? A self-righteous brush-off by an investment manager who panders to wealthy, multi-generational families trying to dodge taxes? Well aren't we just lucky as hell to have you.

VIVA trial update: The fault-riddled Interstate Crosscheck system debated

Defense parades more broken memes:

In May 2014 the elections watchdog group Democracy North Carolina issued a press release saying it had found four North Carolina legislators whose first name, last name, date of birth matched voters registered in other states.

Plaintiff's attorney Daniel Donovan asked Strach if she thought the four lawmakers were committing fraud. "I'd have to investigate," she said.

Nice dodge there, Kim. But it doesn't change the fact that Interstate Crosscheck is just another voter suppression scheme cooked up by Republicans:

Daily dose: Ode to Henry Frye edition

A Dream Undone (New York Times) -- In 2008, for the first time, black turnout was nearly equal to white turnout, and Barack Obama was elected the nation’s first black president. Since then, however, the legal trend has abruptly reversed. In 2010, Republicans flipped control of 11 state legislatures and, raising the specter of voter fraud, began undoing much of the work of former N.C. legislator and state supreme court justice Henry Frye and subsequent generations of state legislators. They rolled back early voting, eliminated same-day registration, disqualified ballots filed outside home precincts and created new demands for photo ID at polling places. A new state voting law , the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University Law School, calls one of the “most restrictive since the Jim Crow era.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/29/magazine/voting-rights-act-dream-undone.html?_r=0

More Charter School Woes

From the Smoky Mountain News today: problems with the startup of Shining Rock Academy in Haywood County.

The school is scheduled to open in a couple of weeks. There were problems getting permits and construction started on time for land just north of the Waynesville city limits. As a result, the school is leasing space from the Lake Junaluska Assembly so they can begin operations. During the earlier land purchase, apparently the school's governing board failed to comply with the state's open meetings law, according to reporting in the SMN.

Coal Ash Wednesday: DENR to permit massive discharges from Sutton Plant

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It's not a "leak" if they let you spill it:

A public hearing on a discharge permit related to Duke Energy’s planned coal-ash cleanup has been moved to Aug. 6, a day later than originally scheduled.

Duke Energy is excavating and reburying 7.2 million tons of coal ash on the plant site to comply with a state law requiring the utility to close and clean up its coal-ash ponds throughout North Carolina. The Sutton plant was among the first on the list for cleanup because it has been actively leaking toxic substances into the groundwater and the Cape Fear River.

I'm not naïve, I realize the impoundments need to be "de-watered" before they can be dug up and hauled away. But just because the river is right there handy doesn't mean polluting it is the only way to go. They wouldn't be allowed to do that if it were a Superfund site, and considering the toxins involved, the only difference is in the name. Here's part of the NPDES Permit:

An accurate history of North Carolina's Confederate monuments

The North Carolina General Assembly passed and Deputy Assistant Governor P. McCrory signed legislation aimed at preserving Confederate monuments from corrective action. They offered ahistorical rationalizations for their actions, which Duke University professor Timothy Tyson concisely corrected.

Daily dose: Corporate puppet serves his masters edition

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McCrory: Budget surplus enough to trigger cuts to corporate taxes (Triangle Business Journal) -- The final numbers are in, and it appears the corporate tax rate is going down. Gov. Pat McCrory’s office reported Tuesday that final figures for the fiscal year that ended June 30 show the state has a $445 million revenue surplus. That’s enough to trigger automatic cuts to the corporate tax rate under the tax reform package adopted in 2013, McCrory says.
http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2015/07/28/north-carolina-budget-surplus-fiscal-year-2014-1...

VIVA trial update: "Expert" unfamiliar with VRA

Context is important:

In his cross-examination, Plaintiff's attorney Dale Ho pointed out that eight states — Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — do not have pre-registration of 16-and-17-year-olds, same-day registration or early voting and prohibit counting out-of-precinct ballots. Ho asked Trende if he considered these eight states to be in the mainstream of U.S. voting laws. Trende said yes.

Ho then asked Trende if he realized all eight states had been placed under some form of federal election supervision before the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act.
Trende said he didn't know that.

He should have known that. North Carolina isn't the only state that Republicans have targeted for voter suppression, we're part of a pattern. And that pattern was designed to be self-perpetuating: "Look at what these other states have done; we're just trying to conform." Chances are Trende actually did know, but chose to play possum. Hopefully the judge can see past this ploy, but he is a Dubya appointee, so...

Majority Back Bencher

This week Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) filed a motion to remove House Speaker John Boehner. This appears to be payback for Boehner's removing Meadows from a subcommittee chairmanship earlier this year. Meadows is also largely credited (or blamed) for the 2013 government shutdown. In the disastrous wake of that move, Meadows has vehemently denied any credit.

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