How Dale Folwell responds to reports of State Health Plan overpayments

I trust you've seen DG Martin's piece on Dale Folwell.

http://www.journalnow.com/opinion/columnists/d-g-martin-treasurer-dale-folwell-s-quick-response/arti...

My local paper ran it front and center in the Letters to the Editor.

Reminded me of my letter to the Journal in 2016 about Folwell.

Tuesday News: Prepping for the 2020 "we own the maps" Election

REPUBLICANS PASS MASSIVE TAX CUT TO GO INTO EFFECT IN 2019: The final budget compromise announced by House and Senate leaders Monday would sharply cut personal and corporate income taxes – but the new rates won’t kick in until 2019. “Millions of middle class families will also keep more of their own earnings,” Senate leader Phil Berger said during a news conference Monday, adding that 99 percent of taxpayers will see a tax cut or pay no income taxes under the plan. House Speaker Tim Moore said the change in the standard deduction will mean 95,000 people will no longer owe income taxes. The 5.25 percent personal income tax rate will be “the lowest rate in the Southeast among states that tax earnings,” according to a news release from House Republicans.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article157061604.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

It's what you don't do that defines your budget:

Taking something that was already critically underfunded and slashing it more:

When is a clinic not a clinic? When it's an anti-abortion propaganda mill

Republicans should be ashamed of themselves:

Here in North Carolina, the news been similarly discouraging as lawmakers have mostly abandoned the idea of taking affirmative public action to promote women’s health. Remarkably, this is true despite the presence of data showing a number of poor health outcomes for the women of North Carolina as compared to other states. Unfortunately, one “women’s health” initiative the North Carolina General Assembly has managed to find money for is the anti-abortion ministry of so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs).

In 2015, despite making cuts to social safety net programs that many North Carolina women and children depend on, lawmakers managed to increase this funding to $300,000. And in this year’s budget, it appears they are appropriating $1.3 million in state general funds for CPCs, in addition to $400,000 in federal maternal health grant money.

Aside from being a coldly calculating attempt to undermine women's rights, it is also a patently irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars. These "centers" offer very little in the form of maternal health, and zero assistance in helping make child birth affordable, not to mention the costs of raising those children:

ZSR's Mo Green takes the pulse of North Carolina communities

And finds there is a lot of work to be done:

As the new executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation – an 80-year-old family foundation committed to improving the quality of life in North Carolina – Green set out in May 2016 on a statewide tour dubbed “Mo wants to know.” Seeking to learn where the state is hurting, where it’s doing well and what it needs to ease its pains and enhance its strengths, he spoke with hundreds of people, from one-on-one sessions with community leaders to community forums to private talks with people who poured out their stories of loss and hope. In all, he visited 19 counties from the coast to the mountains.

“We were trying to figure out what was going on in the state and how we could be responsive to that,” he said.

I'm pleased by this, but not surprised. ZSR has done great work over the years supporting research and organizations that help people, and now (more than ever) that help is needed. But the only way to solve some of these problems is in the ballot box:

Monday News: Right-wing terrorism

WHITE MAN DRIVES VAN INTO CROWD OUTSIDE LONDON MOSQUE: A white man plowed a van into a crowd of Muslim worshippers outside a north London mosque early Monday in an attack that police say they are investigating as a terrorist incident. Ten people were injured in the attack and police said another man died at the scene, though he was receiving first aid at the time and it wasn't clear if he died as a result of the attack or of something else. "We have a witness saying that the guy who did what he did, the driver of the van, said 'I did my bit,' which means he's not mentally ill," Kacimi said. "This person was conscious. He did what he did deliberately to hit and kill as many Muslims as possible, so he is a terrorist." British security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with official policy, said hate crimes directed at Muslims have increased nearly five-fold in the wake of several attacks in Britain.
http://www.newsobserver.com/latest-news/article156901629.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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STILL TIME TO FIX STATE BUDGET INTO ONE THAT HELPS ALL NORTH CAROLINIANS: Word is that the remaining differences – whatever they might be -- between the N.C. House of Representatives and Senate over the state budget are being worked out by the legislature’s top-most leaders. However, before they wrap things up, lawmakers still have the chance to correct their course on some misguided proposals remaining on the table as well as to incorporate some needs that have been ignored or forgotten. First, stop giving the state’s revenue to people who don’t need it. Continued cuts in the corporate income tax are unnecessary and jeopardize the ability of state government to meet the most basic needs of citizens. Reverse the foolish neglect of public education. Take care of those in need. Reject spiteful cuts to important education programs that help disadvantaged students in the eastern part of the state; Discard mean-spirited cuts to food stamps – that would throw 133,000 people – children and the elderly included – off the program while not saving the state a dime.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-still-time-to-fix-state-budget-into-one-that-helps-all-north-carolinia...

Magistrate ignores 2013 court finding with ban on Reverend Barber

Refusing to acknowledge dictates from judges is becoming a habit with Republicans:

The ban also applies to 31 other protesters arrested that day during a health-care sit-in after they refused to clear the hallways outside legislative leaders’ office. The ban was a condition of the protesters’ release from jail, set by Wake County magistrate Jeffrey L. Godwin as he charged them with second-degree trespassing. General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock said Friday that his agency didn’t ask the magistrate to set those conditions, but he said he plans to make the request for future arrests of protesters.

Geeta Kapur, an attorney for Barber and the NAACP, says the ban is unconstitutional. She points to the provision in the state constitution that says “the people have a right to assemble together ... to instruct their representatives, and to apply to the General Assembly for redress of grievances.” She pointed to a 2013 decision by a judge to throw out a similar ban on arrested protesters. Since then, most arrests at “Moral Monday” protest events have not included a ban on entering the Legislative Building as a condition of release.

The GOP is notorious for resurrecting bad ideas and questionable legal practices every few years or so, just to see if they will stick, and this ban is no different. And if another judge throws it out, they'll do it again next year or the year after. Precedent? We don't need no stinking precedent, we make this shit up as we go.

Saturday News: Grifters gonna grift

trumppalace.jpg

TRUMP EARNS TENS OF MILLIONS FROM HOTEL AND RESORT PROPERTIES: The Trump-branded hotel blocks from the White House has quickly generated almost $20 million of income for the Trump Organization while Mar-A-Lago, the private club used as a “Southern White House,” has seen profits climb nearly 25 percent — figures that are sure to fuel ethics advocates’ charges that Donald Trump is profiting off the presidency. One marquis property showing income gain is the Palm Beach resort called the Mar-A-Lago Club, which Trump calls his southern White House and it doubled its initiation fees to $200,000 in January, weeks before Trump took office. The disclosure form includes reported income of $37.2 million for the Florida resort, up sharply from $29.8 million in the prior year’s report.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article156701094.html

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