Court halts yet another Tillisberger law

A Superior Court judge has issued an injunction against the teacher bonus blackmail law that required teachers to give up their tenure status to qualify for tepid bonus pay (that only one-fourth of teachers could get anyway).

A Guilford County judge on Wednesday halted a requirement that North Carolina school districts offer a quarter of their teachers multi-year contracts as an enticement for them to give up their so-called "career status" protections.

It's unlikely that this will end up being limited just to Guilford County.

Durham Public Schools last month joined a lawsuit filed by the Guilford County school district, and more than a quarter of the 115 school districts statewide have expressed opposition to contract requirement.

#4Pizzas and the Wake County Budget

Hi all,

Thanks to BlueNC for continuing to keep the spotlight on state and national issues. But I have a local one for you to think about.

You may know that I am running for Wake County Commission. I hope you've had a chance to see my first ad in my campaign. The theme is "Four Pizzas." You can see the ad below, and more details at 4Pizzas.org. If you like what you see, and you support paying Wake County's teachers a fair salary closer to the national average, please urge your commissioner to support the School Board's budget request.

Do-nothing Burr inadvertently exposes danger of not expanding Medicaid

Getting his rhetorical wires crossed:

"Today our biggest challenge is to keep delivery points in place," said Burr, noting that four community hospitals in Georgia had closed and rural N.C. hospitals in Pungo and Wilson were facing operating deficits. While lamenting the challenges hospitals face, he also re-emphasized his support for the state's decision to not expand eligibility for Medicaid, the government program designed to pay for care for the poor and disabled.

Several legislators challenged him on the seemingly discordant stances, given that North Carolina's hospitals had lobbied for the expansion as a vehicle for new revenue to offset the cuts in reimbursements under the Affordable Care Act.

The bottom line is, Republicans knew well ahead of time that not expanding Medicaid would cause huge problems for patients and providers, problems they counted on to derail the Affordable Care Act. And as far as Burr pointing to problems in Georgia:

Coal Ash Wednesday: $10 billion in bad management from Duke Energy

And they'll be reaching into your wallet to fix their mistakes:

The largest U.S. utility owner told a North Carolina legislative commission that if it were required to excavate and relocate all its ash in the state and convert to an all-dry handling system, costs would reach $7 billion to $10 billion and take as long as three decades.

“The costs of cleaning up the waste from fuel from coal should be a ratepayer cost and not a shareholder cost,” said Kit Konolige, an analyst with BGC Partners LP in New York. “The traditional regulatory compact, the cost of fuel and cost of cleanup of fuel, should be passed through ratepayers. It really shouldn’t come out of shareholders pockets except to the extent that the company has done something wrong.”

The company has done something wrong, or the toxic mess wouldn't be leaking out of every coal ash pond in the state. Regardless of the Federal/State laws governing coal ash disposal, both the ratepayers and the shareholders have a certain expectation that Duke will stay on top of the science and take steps to avoid contaminating the ground and surface waters. That expectation was not remotely met, so the cost of cleanup needs to be borne by those who directly profited from Duke Energy's mismanagement, the owners. They "shared" in the profits, now they need to "share" in the cleanup.

Freakshow

The Republican US Senate debate last night should have been required viewing for all North Carolinians. With the possible exception of Heather Grant, bless her heart, who actually seemed to be thinking for herself once in a while, the debate was an orgy of hate.

In one corner stood Greg Brannon, an unapologetic con-man of the Rand Paul persuasion, whose well-publicized affair with Glenn Beck shows just how extreme he really is.

In another corner stood Thom Tillis, the self-described architect of North Carolina's "conservative revolution."

Meanwhile, Mark Harris, who was chosen by god to run in this race, watched from the sidelines with Heather Grant, both continuously out-flanked by two of the most arrogant and hateful men you can imagine.

For Tillis, the answer to every question was the same. "It's really very simple," he said on many occasions. "All you have to do is rid of Obamacare, cut taxes on the rich, put more brown people in jail, keep all those women and their vaginas under control. It's really very simple."

For Brannon, everything was constitutional. Article whatever section three. The British are coming. Put on your tinfoil hats.

I hope you'll take time to look at the debate for yourself. Perhaps you'll reach the same conclusion the Greensboro News-Record reached.

The hour-long debate, held at Davidson College and televised by Time Warner Cable, showed the candidates share similar stances. They oppose abortion, the Affordable Care Act, Common Core education standards, government overreach and amnesty for undocumented immigrants. They believe some federal departments — from Education and Energy to the Internal Revenue Service — could be abolished. They don’t believe that climate change is real.

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Republican US Senate debate: Pass the popcorn!

Join us later for play-by-play coverage of the Great Republican Senate Seat Auction, happening tonight here in North Carolina. For those who are TV impaired, you can live-stream the fun at the Charlotte Observer. The N&O has some tips on what to watch for, but you can save yourself a lot of reading and watch for one big thing: lies, lies, and more lies.

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Open thread

Your tax dollars hard at work in a charter school that recruits out-of-state basketball players to build a sports franchise. Sickening.

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Tuesday Twitter roundup

We'll begin with some election year hyperbole:

A trend that was brought about by the devastating deregulation of the financial industry by free-market nut-jobs like yourself. By the way, Kay's last name only has five letters and "e" isn't one of them. It ain't hard to keep up with.

McCrory gets most campaign money of any sitting governor from Duke Energy

The News and Observer highlights a new report out from the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

From 2000-2012, McCrory got $16,000 from Duke Energy's political action committee and $82,000 from it's executives - a total of $98,000. The next closest on the list, Indiana's Mike Pence, received $13,000. Duke Energy gave a total of $128,000 to just six sitting governors. (Sam Brownback in Kansas only received $500.)

The full report is here.

Now, what would really be interesting is to look at the number of former Duke employees working in different state governments. How do you think the McCrory administration compares on that count?

Duke Energy coal ash? You're soaking in it, Pat.

Dallas Woodhouse forms his own propaganda machine

Seeking to cash in on the river of right-wing money flowing into NC:

Dallas Woodhouse, the sometimes fiery former director of the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, is launching a political nonprofit organization to bolster the conservative tide in North Carolina.
Woodhouse will announce on Monday that he has formed Carolina Rising to support free market, education and government reform policies.

“Right now North Carolina is witness to an astounding set of economic trends,” Woodhouse said in statement that will be issued Monday. “Our unemployment rate is falling faster than any other state, and our business competitiveness ranking is skyrocketing. At Carolina Rising, our goal is simple: Make sure those trends continue and North Carolina’s economy continues to grow.” Woodhouse said the organization will counter attempts by “proponents of big government” and the “increasingly radical political agenda of the liberal left.”

Pot, meet kettle. Seriously dude, your "free market, education and government reform policies" are the epitome of radical, using unproven theories and rhetorical devices to tear down and reconstruct the fabric of our public policy. And it's not working. In fact, people like you are having to bend the truth backwards in your efforts to claim success. But go right ahead, I look forward to exposing your stupidity.

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