Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

quillpen.jpg

DISGUISING VOTER SUPPRESSION BEHIND MASK OF VOTER ID: The problem is that Berger and Moore are disguising the truth. If they really cared about identification, they could easily write a bill that would pass constitutional muster. In reality, while the two TALK about voter ID, what they are DOING is voter suppression. The law the courts struck down was MORE about discouraging voting: reducing early and Sunday voting; eliminating same-day voter registration; ending pre-registration of teenagers; and disallowing out-of-precinct voting. All that comes on top of efforts to make it difficult for certain groups of voters, such as students, to vote by moving polling places from convenient locations, like student unions, to more remote locations on the fringes of college campuses.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-disguising-voter-suppression-behind-mask-of-voter-id/16724460/

Republican meddling with ACA causes spike in premiums

And GOP Congressmen should be hearing about this at town halls:

Blue Cross cited several reasons for its request. One is an increase in medical costs, including for doctors fees, hospital services and medicines, which the insurer cites every year it seeks rate increases. The company also blamed the increase on a higher tax on insurers next year.

But the biggest cause is the looming elimination of “cost sharing reductions” in the Republican alternative to the ACA. These reductions offer additional subsidies on deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs to lower-income people whose household incomes are between 100 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

At the core of the Affordable Care Act was a mutual understanding between government and citizens: You pay, we'll pay. While it's far from perfect, that cooperative effort has provided millions of families with the coverage they desperately needed, while greatly reducing the amount of unpaid medical bills. Until now. Republicans claimed they were trying to make health care more affordable to citizens, but that is not even on their radar. What they're really trying to do is get rid of one side of that agreement, the government's half. And they're doing it so they can force even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy. Whether you lose your insurance, or end up paying 3 times as much for lesser coverage, that doesn't really matter to them. YOYO, as my dad used to say. You're on your own.

Saturday News: Lock him up, too

KUSHNER REQUESTED USE OF RUSSIAN EMBASSY COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM FOR BACK CHANNEL: Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports. The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser. Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate - a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article152964829.html

Will Josh Stein continue his fight to keep state employee from having OAH hearing?

On May 18, 2017 Administrative Law Judge Julian Mann, III sent notice to me and NC Assistant AG Joseph Finarelli a 'Notice of Contested Case and Assignment'.

This was in response to my request to have a hearing to contest that I was improperly reclassified by Governor McCrory as 'managerial exempt' even though I managed no people, no programs, never met anyone from the McCrory administration, and, after I was fired, the McCrory administration did not ask me to turn over a single file or document.

Friday News: Bad cop, slightly less disgusting cop

bluenccup-1[1].jpg

SENATE FOOD STAMP AND EDUCATION PROGRAM CUTS LEFT OUT OF HOUSE BUDGET: Some of the cuts in the budget plan that has passed the N.C. Senate aren’t included in a partial budget released by the N.C. House Thursday – setting up negotiations between Republican leaders over the fate of food stamps, the Governor’s School and other programs. The House did not include a budget provision that changes eligibility requirements for the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP – commonly known as food stamps. The Senate’s proposal would have resulted in 133,000 people losing access to food stamps, including 51,000 children.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article152674624.html

The Tillis Toxicity

If this blog post sounds like an episode of Big Bang Theory, it should. BBT specializes in the ridiculous, featuring a hilarious mix of incompetence, dysfunction, and out-sized egos. One show was called The Anxiety Optimization, which could have been a commentary on the state of our nation.

But back to Tillis.

Duke Energy hampering investments in NC Solar farms

solarfarm.jpg

It's all about the duration of contracts:

One of the nation’s biggest solar developers is challenging Duke Energy’s purchases of solar energy in a case before the North Carolina Utilities Commission. The complaint by California-based Cypress Creek Renewables focuses on an arcane topic – the term of power-purchase contracts by Duke. But its outcome could affect the way the solar industry continues to grow in the nation’s second-largest solar state.

Cypress Creek approached Duke about power purchase agreements for six large solar farms, totaling 400 megawatts, before Duke had filed its competitive-bids proposal. But Duke offered only five-year contracts instead of the longer terms usual for big projects.

This article is dated (February), but a very recent piece in the paywall-protected Charlotte Business Journal reported that Solar farm connections are down some 75% due to this new approach by Duke Energy to manipulate Solar growth in NC. Cypress Creek is a Santa Monica-based company, and has been very successful in rounding up investment dollars for NC Solar farm projects. But that measly five year contract is a killer, seriously undermining the return on investment (ROI) formula that has been so successful here. Like always, being in control is at the top of Duke Energy's list of priorities:

Disabily Rights NC files lawsuit to push for home care

Breaking free from institutional roadblocks:

Advocates for people with disabilities are suing to force North Carolina officials to do more to keep thousands of people out of institutions. The lawsuit filed Wednesday by Disability Rights North Carolina says 10,000 people are waiting for services needed to let them live outside institutions.

The group says taxpayers now house disabled people in state-operated or privately run centers costing about $150,000 a year per resident, while providing needed services outside the institutions would be less than $60,000 per year.

Even if those cost numbers were around the break-even mark, "quality of life" issues alone should propel leaders to pursue the home care model. But to save the state $90,000 per-year per-person? That seems like a no-brainer, to me. Unless somebody's profiting from the institutional model and doesn't want that gravy train derailed. Wouldn't be the first time that factor was in play, especially when you take a step back and look at the for-profit prison formula plaguing our nation.

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed