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McCrory puts NC workers' safety at risk

Stacking the deck against worker's compensation claims:

This summer, a small note in the General Assembly's final budget bill reclassified the Industrial Commission's 22 deputy commissioners, turning them from career civil servants into at-will employees who will either be reappointed or let go. The lives and careers of these administrative law judges were placed directly into the hands of the commission's chair, a young McCrory appointee named Andrew T. Heath. The first group of deputy commissioners will be let go on Feb. 15, 2015, and have already begun to be replaced by more pro-business-minded Republicans.

"There's an effort being made on a state level to get conservative and pro-business people appointed to commissions and for the commissions to be an advocate for reduction of benefits," says Steve Embry, a veteran workers' comp lawyer and president of the Workplace Injury Law and Advocacy Group.

A safe workplace doesn't just magically appear, there are certain outside influences that drive it. OSHA wields a pretty heavy statutory stick, but the agency simply doesn't have the resources to monitor more than a small percent of workplaces each year. Insurance companies, however, are a totally different overseeing animal. And the more worker's compensation claims your company forces them to pay out, the more involved the insurance company gets in your operation. As such, if a tainted Commission rejects many/most workplace injury claims, nothing will change to reduce those injuries. The system isn't perfect, but with a useless Secretary and Board of Labor, and a mere 3% labor union membership rate, it's all workers have left. Or did have, anyway

Daily Dose: Haters gonna hate

I made the mistake this morning of reading comments on Tim Cook's coming out news in the New York Times. While there were plenty of positive comments, most seemed motivated by a combination of disdain, dismissal, or even hatred. It hurt my soul.

This is the thing that worries me most about North Carolina today: Thom Tillis' divide-and-conquer mindset has gone mainstream. From Amendment One to Medicaid to the gutting of environmental protections, Republican policy seems to start with ridiculing and then demonizing vast sectors of our population. If you are a young woman whose success in life hinges on being able to terminate a pregnancy, you are a murderer. If you are a gay man in a 30 year relationship and want to marry, you are a pervert. If you are a poor person working three jobs with no benefits and no hope, you are a taker. If you are a black man, you are a criminal.

There will always be extremes to contend with in each of these areas. Some people are perverts. Fraud does exist in our welfare system. Some black men are criminals. But most people are not perverts. Most poor people don't try to game the system. And most black men are not criminals. The extremes are, by definition, not the norm. They are a gross and destructive stereotype being perpetuated by conservative Republicans to further the economic agenda of concentrating wealth among the elite. The only other explanation I can think of is even more frightening: they are devoid of empathy and wallowing in hate.

Two-thirds of the General Assembly earn a failing grade on the environment

Two-thirds of the General Assembly Earn a Failing Grade on the Environment
Legislators take the state backwards on environmental initiatives

Raleigh, NC- Today, Environment North Carolina released its 2014 legislative scorecard, and the results don’t bode well for our state’s environment.

“From fast-tracking fracking to failed action on coal ash, legislators showed their true colors this session, and it’s clear that their priority is not protecting North Carolina’s air, water or open spaces,” said Dave Rogers, Field Director with Environment North Carolina.

The GOP's privatization of DOT costly for schools

Boom for the paving industry is a bust for struggling local education funders:

The budget bill provision mandates that the DOT outsource more of its pavement preservation work over the next four years. At least 80 percent of the department’s pavement preservation budget must be going to the private paving industry by 2018, Herron reported.

Darrell Walker, assistant superintendent of operations for the local school district, told the Journal that the district was mainly using the DOT crew to chip seal student parking lots. The average price from the DOT has been about $5.25 per square yard, he said, and he estimates that the private-sector move will cost the district about $12 per square yard.

No doubt Republicans in the General Assembly will pat themselves on the back for "saving taxpayer's money" at the state level, while ignoring the fact it's being horribly wasted at the local level, thanks to them. And they'll have all the supporting misinformation they need from idiots like this:

Daily Dose: Tillis is toast edition

EARLY VOTING (through Oct. 28) – TOTAL-546,965; Democrats 48%, Republicans 32%; Others 20%

Over Half-A-Million Accepted In-Person Early Ballots (Old North State Politics) -- Tuesday's voting brought in nearly 118,000 in-person accepted early ballots to push the total early in-person accepted votes to nearly 550,000 so far (546,995 to be exact). Of all early ballots submitted, and that includes both in-person and mail-in, 583,864 have been accepted as votes, with ballots from registered Democrats at 281,313, registered Republicans at 184,161, registered Unaffiliated voters at 117,510, and registered Libertarians at 880.
http://nc-politics.blogspot.com/2014/10/over-half-million-accepted-in-person.html

Early vote update: N.C. Democrats are banking a lot of votes (Washington Post) -- Our semi-regular look at the state of early voting across the country.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/10/29/early-vote-update-north-carolina-democrats...

CAMPAIGN 2014
Hagan maintains lead, 45%-41%, in final stretch of Senate campaign (Elon Poll) -- Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan holds a steady lead over her Republican challenger with Election Day just days away, according to the latest Elon University Poll. Hagan has solidified a 45-41 margin against Rep. Thom Tillis, the speaker of North Carolina's House of Representatives, since the Elon University Poll found the same numbers in early September. Another 6 percent of likely voters plan to support another candidate, while 7 percent remain undecided. Hagan's strongest support is among women and those likely voters under 30, and she maintains an edge among true independents. The live-caller, dual frame (landline and cell phone) survey of 687 likely voters was conducted Oct. 21-25, 2014, and has a margin of error of 3.74 percentage points.
http://www.elon.edu/docs/e-web/elonpoll/10_30_14_ElonPollExecSummary.pdf

Voting machine swiches Hagan vote to Tillis

And it's unknown how many other votes it may have changed:

The problem occurred at the Craft Recreation Center in Greensboro Wednesday morning. A voter intended to vote for Kay Hagan. But before he pressed the vote button, it switched to Thom Tillis. He tried again, and the same thing happened.

The voter then alerted poll workers. Guilford Elections Director Charles Collicutt says they re-calibrated the machine and now it is reporting as is should be. The error with the Craft Rec Center machine is the only one known to have the problem this cycle. He says there’s no way to know for sure how many times such an error has occurred.

There's one way they can check: Check all the votes for that particular machine, and if a voter chose mostly Democrats in other races but also voted for Thom Tillis, there's a good chance that Tillis vote was incorrect. Especially after what happened with the Pat McCrory fiasco, I doubt there's many crossover Dems voting for Thommy Boy.

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