Monday News: Adding insult to injury

FLOODING IN NC MOUNTAINS SWEEPS TRASH INTO RIVERS: Recent heavy rain not only led to flooding across western North Carolina, it also sent garbage floating into rivers. WLOS-TV in Asheville reports trash and debris have been flowing along the French Broad River, and some has been caught by dams or trestles, creating large piles. Eric Bradford, director of operations for Asheville Greenworks, said about 75 percent of the debris starts out as litter on the roads. When heavy rain falls, the debris flows into a storm drain that feeds into a creek and then into the river. Bradford said the organization had already planned a big cleanup for Saturday, but it's now delayed until the flood waters recede. He said Asheville Greenworks will intensify efforts to recruit as many volunteers as are needed for the cleanup.
https://www.wral.com/flooding-in-north-carolina-leaves-garbage-in-rivers/17599104/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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IS NC IN THE HANDS OF DICTATORS? LATEST BUDGET PLOY SUGGESTS SO: North Carolina citizens should not be deceived. They need to be outraged. The leaders of the General Assembly are making a mockery of representative government. It is no understatement to say democracy is under attack in our state. Complaints over the decision to bypass open deliberations in the General Assembly on the new state budget aren’t some legislative playground squabble between Republicans and Democrats on Jones Street in Raleigh. It is a thumb-in-the-eye, a bully’s chest-bump and turned-up nose of disdain directed at each and everyone of the state’s voters and taxpayers by the tinhorn cabal of Senate Leader Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore and a couple of their lieutenants.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-is-n-c-in-the-hands-of-dictators-latest-budget-ploy-suggests-so/17587...

Justin Burr wants to track what films were shown in schools

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We'll have to be more careful with our Liberal Socialist Indoctrination Program (LSIP):

AN ACT TO REQUIRE LOCAL BOARDS OF EDUCATION TO REPORT MOVIES SHOWN IN SCHOOLS DURING INSTRUCTIONAL TIME.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: SECTION 1.(a) Each local board of education and each charter school shall report in writing to the Superintendent of Public Instruction by September 1, 2018, on each movie shown during instructional time at each school in the local school administrative unit or at each charter school during the 2017-2018 school year in the months of November, December, January, April, May, and June.

SECTION 2. There is appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Public Instruction the sum of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) in nonrecurring funds for the 2018-2019 fiscal year to provide for collection and summarization of data in accordance with this act.

If you're wondering about those dates, join the club. This bill was filed three days ago, but it seeks data from the previous school year. Data that was not (previously) required of teachers to compile. Yes, most of those teachers could probably tell you exactly what was taught on a specific day by perusing their schedules, and could probably tell you off the top of their heads what films were shown. But the timing of this tells me Justin Burr has a burr up his butt about something. Like, some irate evangelical parent told him about some evil film that was shown (Evolution!), and he's on a crusade to root out that evil. Whatever the case, get a life, dude. Are you upset you couldn't punish judges all across the state, so now you're going after teachers? I'll take that silence as a "yes."

Saturday News: Juggling judges

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WAKE AND MECKLENBURG WILL GET NEW JUDICIAL DISTRICT MAPS: Wake County District Court judges would be elected from six newly drawn districts, instead of countywide, under a plan introduced Friday at the statehouse. The county would also add two District Court judges, for a total of 21, as part of less ambitious plans to redraw judicial districts around the state than what Republican lawmakers have debated since last year. Without consensus on a statewide plan, or on proposals to appoint judges instead, legislators are pursuing less controversial changes in a number of counties. Wake County's changes are attached to Senate Bill 757, which would also redraw judicial districts in Mecklenburg County, often the prime example lawmakers give when talking up the need for change. The districts there have unbalanced populations and are likely unconstitutional, experts have said.
https://www.wral.com/wake-would-get-new-judges-districts-from-revamp-bill/17597502/

The re-segregation of NC schools just got a jump-start

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Four Mecklenburg towns will build their own lily-white charter schools:

Despite warnings that it could resegregate North Carolina schools, a bill that would allow Mecklenburg County towns to run their own charter schools moved closer to passage Thursday. The N.C. Senate tentatively approved House Bill 514 after a sometimes heated debate over the local and statewide implications of the measure.

Supporters said the bill would give suburban parents options and ensure that towns frustrated by a lack of CMS facilities and resources can provide their own in the form of town-run charter schools. The bill, which originally affected only Matthews, was expanded to include Cornelius, Huntersville and Mint Hill.

Republican leaders in the NCGA are transparently hypocritical. When towns or cities try to develop policies or programs that are progressive in nature, that lift up those in the community in most need of lifting, the heavy hand of authority reaches down from Raleigh and strangles those efforts. But when towns want to do something horrifically regressive, like separating the races and creating "havens" for the students of affluent white residents, those same Republican leaders are giddy at the prospect. And apparently they're hoping other towns across the state get on board with this new (yet very old) segregation approach:

Friday News: NC can't afford Trumpism

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NC PORK AND TOBACCO FARMERS CAUGHT UP IN TRUMP'S TRADE WARS: North Carolina pork producers and tobacco farmers could feel a big hit from the back-and-forth trade threats being issued by the United States and trading partners across the globe, including Mexico, Canada, China and the European Union. The Trump administration announced this week that it would implement tariffs on aluminum and steel products from Mexico, Canada and the EU on Friday. Also this week, Trump renewed his threat to place tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese products. Those nations announced retaliatory measures Thursday, including threats to levy tariffs on tobacco and pork products. The state's pork producers export 25 percent of their product, said Andy Curliss, CEO of the North Carolina Pork Council. Mexico and Canada account for half of those exports. Curliss said in an email that it's hard to know the impact of the trade sparring at this moment.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article212285639.html

City of Charlotte to build low-income housing adjacent to light rail

But their definition of "'low-income" seems to be evolving:

Charlotte plans to use the 2.31 acres to build the low-income apartments on its own, or with a nonprofit company. But the new plan calls for all of the 80 apartments to be for people earning 80 percent of the area median income. That's about $43,000 for a family of four.

But the switch from very low-income housing to so-called workforce housing raises questions about whether the apartments are needed. Two consultants have told the city that Charlotte has a surplus of housing for people earning about 80 percent of area median income, and the city's biggest need is for apartments serving the city's poorest residents, who earn minimum wage or less.

Don't know all the ins and outs of this deal, but in the initial purchase (by the City) and sale back to the private sector, $4 million in taxpayer dollars was lost. And considering the City Council just had dozens of genuinely poor citizens drum up the courage to walk into the chamber and ask (desperately) for help with affordable housing, this decision seems to be about as tone-deaf as you could get. About the only citizen who appears to be "winning" in this deal-making is the developer himself:

Thursday News: Petty tyrants

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DALLAS WOODHOUSE BULLIES SEN. DON DAVIS INTO VOTING FOR BUDGET: The vote, the first of two the Senate will take on the budget, was 36-14. Sen. Don Davis, D-Pitt, was the lone Democrat to cross the aisle to vote for a plan crafted by Republicans in a process that allowed no amendments once leadership signed off on budget changes drafted almost entirely behind closed doors. Davis occupies what may be the only competitive Senate district held by a Democrat, making this a tougher vote for him than most. North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse called Davis out by name ahead of the vote, and Republicans were already plotting campaign commercials on social media during the debate, ticking off the state employee and teacher raises Democrats would be voting against.
https://www.wral.com/nc-senate-backs-budget-36-14/17592715/

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