Art Pope spins until he gets dizzy

The defacto Governor caught with his ideological pants down:

In several interviews this month, Pope said he did not think the Rural Center grant had any effect on the lease terms – and he suggested his company did not know about the Rural Center’s aid as the deal came together. “There was no knowledge and no involvement of how the work was done on that (shopping) center owned by the developer and where his source of funding came from,” Pope said.

As I've mentioned before, in many cases, rural development projects simply won't happen in the absence of government grants, and this one is no different. There's nothing wrong with that, but there is something wrong with a man who would take advantage from that and then lie about it to save his much-lauded Libertarian reputation:

I hate to say I told you so

A few years ago, the publisher at the N&O chafed under my criticism about the newspaper's cozy relationship with Art Pope's Multimillion Dollar Opinion Manufacturing Machine. Not only are Civitas and John Locke "experts" frequently cited as sources in news stories, the insider connections between Pope's empire and the N&O run deep. To my way of thinking, the newspaper seems to have bent over backwards to avoid taking Pope to task. Until yesterday.

Liberals have made a cottage industry out of depicting Art Pope as a rich, evil wizard who casts a spell of right-wing ideology over the legislative process. Those who don’t know him might be surprised that he’s pleasant, extremely knowledgeable about state government and doesn’t have horns.

Obama's Watergate My Great Aunt's Fanny

This Liberal’s Beef right now has got to be the abject stupidity and short-term memory failure of anyone who thinks that Benghazi-gate, IRS-gate and AP-gate, even if stacked on top of one another and then super-sized, come close to the original “gate”; the Big Kahuna; the Mother Lode of “gates”; the “gate” of course being the obligatory suffix ever since the biggest “gate” of them all: Watergate.

No matter how much the media may blather on and on about them, none of these scandals has the mass, the cultural, political and social ponderosity of Watergate. These are all skirmishes in an age of “gotcha” polarization. All of these even added together is like comparing recent cruise ship snafus to the sinking of the Titanic.

BofA facing lawsuit for incentivizing foreclosures

You won't find this on any of those nifty little brochures:

Theresa Terrelonge, another former employee, said loan officers were given restaurant gift cards and $25 cash awards for denying loan applications. The incentives moved workers to reject applicants improperly, Terrelonge said May 15 in a statement. “I witnessed employees and managers change and falsify information in the systems of record, and remove documents from homeowners’ files to make the account appear ineligible for a loan modification,” said Terrelonge, a loan servicing representative. This allowed managers to meet quotas for closed cases, she said.

Bank of America instructed employees to delay applications and mislead customers “as part of a deliberate practice of stringing homeowners along,” lawyers said June 7 in a filing.

I doubt these defrauded homeowners will get any sympathy from the GOP. If they couldn't afford the house, they shouldn't have signed the papers. And besides, let the market fix this. If the bank treats people badly, they can go somewhere else! Unfortunately, it doesn't matter who you get your initial mortgage from; the way they sell these loans back and forth to each other, you don't know who's going to be holding your note. Which is a perfect example of how an average person would fare in a totally free market. Like a leaf on the wind.

Restore the NC Teaching Fellows Program

I believe the Senate Leadership is in error concerning the decision to eliminate the NC Teaching Fellows Program. Both my daughter and her husband were 2003 Teaching Fellows. They fit the requirements of being the "best and the brightest" and are dedicated educators to this day.

My daughter was recruited and accepted to many colleges, including an elite Ivy. In the end, she chose to accept the Teaching Fellows scholarship at UNC-Chapel Hill. My son-in-law, second runner-up for the prestigious Park Scholarship, chose to accept the Teaching Fellows at NC State. Both of them attended college with the assistance of the Teaching Fellows Program.

In my view, the Teaching Fellows Program needs additional funding. While we were - and are - immensely grateful for the scholarship, it does not come close to being "a free ride." My daughter still had to take a student loan. Given that teachers are woefully underpaid, she will be paying this back for years to come.

Daily dose: Perfect storm edition

The tax "plans" for DAG McCrory and the Tillisberger appear to be converging to create a storm of epic proportions, one that will swamp our ship of state, throwing thousands of steerage passengers overboard. Meanwhile, the ultra-rich have reserved seating in the lifeboats.

And, of course, it's all about Pat. As governor, HE has to make sure the numbers ad up to allow HIM to operate the government. What a friggin' freakshow.

Looking back on the education cuts

Back in April of 2011 I posted this:

"I thought folks might be interested to know how much we are spending on supplies for next year. I've been teaching for nearly 25 years so I've seen a lot but I've never seen a supply order allotment this small. Each year we are given a set amount we can spend and a supply list to pick items from. The county then orders our supplies and they are waiting for us when we return in August. I'm talking about pens, pencils, paper, paper clips, crayons, markers, pencil sharpeners, file folders, construction paper, rulers, index card and the like. I think when I started teaching we had around $120-140 to spend. This year we had $50 to spend. I got some red and black pens, a few #2's, some sticky notes, and a couple of dozen rulers and it was gone!

As a county we rank in the bottom 15% of the 115 lea's in local per pupil spending and as a state we rank 46th in the nation in per pupil spending. I haven't had a raise in three years and my advanced degree and board certification pay is being threatened. My school is already overcrowded and class sizes are set to increase even more next year. I don't have any money to chip in for what we don't have without hurting my own family."

Two years later we aren't getting any supply allotment at all. Teachers just go to the secretary and ask if there is any ___________ in the supply room. I didn't have a tape dispenser all year. There just weren't any left. I did get some paper clips though! I'll go to Wal Mart before school starts and load up on paper, pencils, pens, and composition books. When the electric pencil sharpener I bought this year breaks ( they don't last long when 100 or so 13 year olds are using it every day ), I'll head back to Staples.


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