The dubious need for economic "recruiting" organizations

Pouring money into a corrupt black hole:

The former CEO of the Triad’s regional economic recruitment organization has been arrested and charged with four felonies and could face a lengthy prison sentence. David Powell, 51, allegedly took a total of $240,000 that belonged to his former employer and spent it on himself.

Understandably, the board, which consists of area captains of industry, was impressed by Powell’s resume and local roots. A Winston-Salem native, he had been vice president of NetJets, an Ohio company that rents and sells part ownerships of corporate jets. He also had a strong background in economic development. Aviation industry experience, hometown ties, management cred ... Powell had seemed a perfect fit.

He "seemed a perfect fit" because he came from a Warren Buffet-owned company which dealt exclusively with customers from the 1% class. But the only thing that really guarantees is that he had developed a "taste" for the finer things in life, and the affluenza affliction that told him it was his right to take those things if he so desired. Luckily, it appears there were very few taxpayer dollars involved by the time he was hired, but it could have just as easily been the opposite. A greater lesson to be learned: Allowing "captains of industry," however local they may be, manage large fund balances used to incentivize the recruitment of new industries to the region, is simply foolish. Will they help potential competitors? Doubtful. Will they funnel money to people they are already connected with in some way? If they can get away with it. Will allowing a corrupt CEO manage that operation aid in those efforts? Oh yeah.

Thursday News: Temporary reprieve edition


STATE HEALTH PLAN WILL PUT OFF DISCUSSION OF CONTROVERSIAL CHANGES (WRAL-TV) -- Trustees of the health plan for teachers and state employees will put off discussion of controversial changes. Those changes would have included eliminating a popular health plan used by 280,000 workers.

VOTE ON STATE HEALTH PLAN DELAYED AMID PROTESTS (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Controversial proposals to phase out one of three state employee health plans and eliminate insurance coverage for workers’ spouses will not be resolved this week.

Bigotry in Char-O's op-ed pages

Stirring the prejudicial pot:

Argument four is the most troubling. Our society is increasingly moving from common sense accommodation of differences to a push for radical acceptance and approval of lifestyles that the vast majority of people do not condone.

It is not hateful to say a male should use a designated male bathroom because he is male, any more than it is hateful to say a horse is a horse. This is science. It is fact.

Often when linking to an article we encourage readers to click through and read the whole thing. In this case, I recommend you don't. If the Charlotte Observer ranks their content on how many "hits" they draw in, it could encourage more of this offensive and small-minded tripe. I don't give a shit if she (or anybody else) "condones" the lifestyle of other citizens, and I don't care if the pain and distress of discrimination only touches a small percentage of the overall population. Arguments like those are resulting in the slaughter of innocents in other countries, and have no place in our society.

Wednesday News: Criminal negligence remembered


2-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF DAN RIVER COAL ASH SPILL (TWCN-TV) -- Two years ago on Tuesday, Duke Energy announced that tens of thousands of tons of coal ash had spilled into the Dan River.

N.C. COAL ASH SPILL CLEAN UP CONTINUES 2 YEARS LATER (WNCN-TV) -- It’s been two years since North Carolina faced one of the biggest environmental disasters in our state’s history.

Wake County Commissioners tackle pay inequality for women

Hopefully other county governments are watching:

Members of the Wake County Board of Commissioners on Monday said they want to find a way that the government and community can help ensure that women achieve the same academic and professional success as their male counterparts. Their comments came after hearing a report that the income gap in Wake County is worse than the national average.

Wake women on average earn 69 percent of what men make, according to Jackie Terry Hughes, an attorney who helped author the report presented to commissioners. Nationally, women earn 79 percent of what men make.

Just a historical note: The Equal Rights Amendment was originally crafted back in 1923, but it finally made its way out of Congress in 1972. It fell just three states short of ratification (35 ratified, needed 38), and of course North Carolina was one of the holdouts. Opponents who didn't want people to see their misogynistic underwear have always claimed the ERA was not necessary, that society would solve the problem by itself without Constitutional force. But here we are in 2016, and the pay gap is still there, forcing women to struggle when their male counterparts don't have to. Or don't have to struggle as desperately. And if they dare to have children outside of the patriarchal formula, their struggles are made epic:

Tuesday News: Ominous portends for 2016

LAYOFF HEAVY NEW YEAR IN N.C. (Triangle Business Journal) -- It’s been a pink-slip-heavy New Year in North Carolina, as layoffs reported to the state thus far in 2016 potentially impact more than double the combined January totals from 2014 and 2015. Eleven companies have reported mass layoffs to the state, impacting up to 2,749 workers.

STATE TO END FOOD ASSISTANCE WAIVERS TO UNEMPLOYED (Sanford Herald) -- Hundreds of people in Lee County and thousands more across the state face losing food stamp benefits later this year after the state legislature voted to remove waivers for certain unemployed individuals.

Next on the GOP's chopping block: Health care for state employees

Your family members need not apply:

State employees could lose access to a popular health insurance option and see costs for other options rise under changes the North Carolina State Health Plan board of trustees is due to vote on Friday.

Executives who run the health plan, which covers state workers, teachers and retirees, have also recommended that the board consider eliminating coverage for spouses, likely sending most of them to shop for coverage on Affordable Care Act exchanges.

The wording in the Budget that forced this horrible idea should be considered a precursor of a Taxpayer's Bill Of Rights (TABOR) if that poison pill is ever put before the voters. And I have little confidence the voters would be able to see past the hype and pseudo-patriotic language to understand how damaging it would be.

Duke Energy-funded "advisory board" recommends they not spend billions relocating coal ash

How can you afford advisory boards if you spend all that money?

An advisory board created by Duke Energy says all of the company’s coal ash ponds in North Carolina can safely be capped in place.

When asked by the Charlotte Business Journal about possible criticism that the Advisory Board is “bought and paid for” by Duke Energy, Daniels said: “All these reports have been submitted, signed and sealed by professional engineers and scientists… They are professionals, and that matters more than who they are working for.”

The first thing that popped into my head reading that declaration of professionalism was the Bush quote "Tribal sovereignty means that; it's sovereign. I mean, you're a -- you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity." Just because you're a professional it doesn't mean you're not prone to bias or withholding information that could be damaging to your clients. Lawyers are professionals too, and "who they are working for" is a consideration that eclipses all others, including the truth.


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