Posmo's blog

NC kids getting smarter?

It seems that the state's top educators are mighty envious of Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.

Faced with less than stellar test results, the Department of Public Instruction, with the blessing of the state board of education, set out to dramatically improve the results -- not by actually improving the results, mind you, but rather by changing the scoring system.

Public school students’ standardized test performance took a giant leap this year, largely helped along by a new scoring scale that makes the tests easier to pass.

The statewide overall passing rate in all subjects was 56.3 percent, compared with last year’s passing rate of 44.7 percent.

Little Johnny can still do poorly on the test, but now Little Johnny will pass the test! This means that Little Johnny is poised for academic and life success, right?

Tillisberger: Ignore the law, let's barge ahead with vouchers

Judge Robert Hobgood was abundantly clear in his ruling on school vouchers: they're unconstitutional and the state is not allowed to disburse any voucher money.

Of course, Tillisberger didn't like that. And Tillisberger is used to getting their way. They're despotic and don't care much for the rule of law -- they just want to get their way.

So before the court's written ruling has even been issued, Tillisberger yanked the vouchers case away from North Carolina's attorney general, ignored the Court of Appeals and went directly to the NC Supreme Court demanding to disburse the illegal voucher money.

A three-judge appeals court panel rejected [the emergency] request [to disburse voucher funds] on Monday, saying it was premature to offer such a ruling without a written order from Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood.

The best justice money can buy

In case anyone remained under the illusion that judicial elections in NC were actually non-partisan, like they are officially billed to be, former NC Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake shatters that illusion.

In a firey [sic] plea for money, I. Beverly Lake, a former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, is rallying support for Bob Hunter in his campaign for a seat on the high court.

Lake, who reached mandatory retirement age in 2006, sent out a letter to Republican donors stating his case clearly:

“One justice can mean the difference between liberty and tyranny. … Since leaving the bench, I’ve watched liberal ‘activist judges’ rewrite the Constitution – and waited for one justice to stand up and say ‘No’ to the craziness going on in our courts.”

Unintended consequences of gerrymandering

Most people have now heard about the NC GOP mutiny against Thom Tillis in the failure of House bill 1224.

Why couldn't Tillis corral his Republican caucus? He rules through fear and intimidation, and it's rare that his party colleagues cross him.

Well, perhaps the very gerrymandering that put him in his position of power also cost him the ability to get what he wants when the stakes are high.

“[Tillis] is one of the most criticized speakers in modern times and, because of redistricting, does not hold the same degree of power over caucus members through controlling huge amounts of campaign money that people need for reelection,” [Meredith College political science expert David] McLennan said.

Fracking is an earth-shattering experience

After averaging 2 significant earthquakes per year for 30 years, Oklahoma's magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes shot up to 145 in less than half of this year. The jump in earthquakes coincides with (SURPRISE!) Oklahoma's beginning fracking operations.

Today Oklahoma experienced a 4.2 magnitude earthquake. That's significant. It would seem that perhaps fracking can produce big earthquakes, too, not just lots of small ones.

Although the powers that be in Oklahoma, and elsewhere, still won't admit that all the earthquakes are caused by fracking. Just a coincidence, you know.

Unprincipled birds of a feather: Romney to raise cash for Tillis

Thom Tillis, who will say and do anything to get elected and who has been caught saying terrible things when he thought he was talking only to tea party insiders, has found the perfect BFF to help him raise some campaign cash: a guy with a demonstrated record of saying and doing anything to get elected and who has been caught saying terrible things when he thought he was talking only to tea party insiders.

Mitt Romney is scheduled to attend a fundraiser Tuesday evening for U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis in Charlotte.

Romney’s visit is a high-profile boost for Tillis’ campaign. The Republican House speaker is struggling to raise money to keep pace with Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan as he continues to preside over a prolonged legislative session in which his own Republican caucus is pushing back on his priorities.

Anything for a dollar

Last month Dollar Tree offered to buy Family Dollar for eight and a half billion dollars. But now, Dollar General is also offering to buy Family Dollar, and they are offering close to ten billion dollars -- more than one billion dollars more for Family Dollar than Dollar Tree offered.

All three stores cater to customers who don't have many dollars, and with people like Nelson Dollar making poor people even poorer, the customers of Family Dollar, Dollar General and Dollar Tree find themselves with fewer and fewer dollars to spend. That's why Dollar General and Dollar Tree are trying to buy Family Dollar. Not enough dollars to go around.

Regardless of who pays the most dollars for Family Dollar, it is reported that the new combined company will be renamed Almighty Dollar.

Killing good, productive programs

While McDecker attempts to get her hands on a wad of taxpayer money to use to bribe corporations to come to NC, so that her boss Guvnor Pat can brag about bringing 11 new jobs to Charfayleighashington, existing programs that have proven to be effective economic engines and job creators have been killed by the Tillisberger.

First, they replaced NC's highly successful film industry tax credits with a lame grant program that has been panned by the film industry.

As of late July, the state film office reported, North Carolina has experienced $268 million in estimated direct spending by the industry and nearly 19,000 jobs.

Then they outright killed the historic preservation tax credit program.

NC GOP tries to become immune from judicial checks and balances

The NC GOP, stung by a series of judicial rulings that their unconstitutional laws are...er...unconstitutional, isn't about to put up with that.

When judges get in their way of passing unconstitutional laws, Tillisberger just passes a new unconstitutional law.

After passing laws imposing new conditions on abortions and elections, taking away teacher tenure and providing vouchers for private school tuition, Republican state legislators have seen those policies stymied in state and federal courtrooms.

So they have passed another law, this one making those kinds of lawsuits less likely to succeed when filed in state court. Beginning in September, all constitutional challenges to laws will be heard by three-judge trial court panels appointed by the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.

It's the wages, stupid

Gene Nichol nails it again.

Writing on chronic poverty in North Carolina, where it was recently revealed that four of the ten cities in all of American with the worst poverty increases are in (SURPRISE!) North Carolina.

Standard & Poor’s piled on last week, concluding that the gap between rich and poor in the U.S. has become so extreme it’s damaging the entire economy. S&P declared such intense disparity markedly hampers economic growth and has slowed our anemic recovery. And that’s Standard & Poor’s, not The Nation magazine. North Carolina has among the worst economic inequality rates in the country. Over the last three decades, the top 1 percent of Tar Heels saw their incomes grow by 98.4 percent, while the bottom 99 percent inched up only 9 percent.

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