Thursday News: Pot calls kettle black edition


Tillman's take: 'Big disconnect in the House' (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, and Senate majority whip, wrote to his constituents with his views on the state budget impasse. “The NC House is divided on this issue,” he wrote. “When the leadership in the House wants one thing and the caucus wants another — how do you get a deal done? The longer we go without a budget the harder it is to fix the problem. “The House wants to spend too much money. We want to cut taxes, reduce spending and run government more efficiently. Hopefully one day we’ll come to an agreement and go home.”

Is privatization behind NC Senate's cuts to mental health?

I wouldn't bet against it:

Insko is also vice chairwoman of the House's appropriations committee for Health and Human Services. Her committee proposed allocating about $712 million for LMEs this year, a slight bump from the $705 million budgeted last year. The Senate, however, wants to cut LME spending to about $519 million, forcing the organizations to drain their reserves.

The co-chairmen of the chamber's appropriations committee for Health and Human Services—Sens. Louis Pate, Ralph Hise and Tommy Tucker—did not respond to the INDY's interview requests for this story. But when lawmakers rolled out funding cuts for community treatment options in 2013, Pate, a Mount Olive Republican, told the INDY that runaway Medicaid expenses were strangling the state budget. (Medicaid ran a $130 million surplus last year.)

Don't confuse them with real numbers, it might shatter their carefully crafted delusions of private for-profit supermen coming to the rescue. And one of the most active managed care organizations as far as lobbying and campaign donations is United For Health (United Health Care):

Wednesday News: Legislative paralysis version

Leadership lacking (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- Educators locally and statewide have by now scratched the L-word from their students’ civics vocabulary lists as their first week is well underway without decisive action from state legislators on spending levels for the new school year.

Price tag rising for extended legislative session (WRAL-TV) - -While the prolonged budget stalemate has idled lawmakers, the bill for their stay in Raleigh continues to rise.

Tuesday News: Pittenger redefines "integrity" edition


Pittenger declines, again, to disclose House ethics letter (Charlotte Observer) -- Rep. Robert Pittenger reiterated Monday that he won’t release a letter from the House Ethics Committee that he said approves of the sale of his longtime real estate company to his wife before taking a seat in Congress.

Pittenger: My former business acted with integrity (Charlotte Observer column) -- From U.S. Rep Robert Pittenger, in response to “Investors question Pittenger markups”

Duke Energy coal ash propaganda in the op-ed columns

Misleading people is much cheaper than environmental stewardship:

In response to your Aug. 18 editorial ("Why not recycle coal ash instead of burying it?"), we at Duke Energy agree that as much coal ash as possible should be recycled. State policy leaders also strongly support the option and outlined provisions in the N.C. Coal Ash Management Act to encourage recycling.

The structural fill projects at the mines in Lee and Chatham counties, for example, are a form of beneficial reuse for the ash stored in basins. By reclaiming those sites and safely placing coal ash in them with many layers of protective liners, we will help repurpose land that can be reused for future development.

Bolding mine. There is only going to be one "liner" in the classic sense of a man-made polymer, the rest are a couple of layers of various composites of clay. Calling those "liners" is like calling the leaves over your head a roof. And that single polymer liner won't be a continuous (as in unbroken) liner, it will be several pieces that need to be connected and sealed, hopefully properly. But even if that liner doesn't leak, the nasty leachate water from the coal ash isn't going to stay in the impoundment, it's going to be pumped out on a regular basis and disposed of:

Monday News: Roku to the rescue edition


GOP's big-money plan to save the Senate (Politico) -- To keep the Senate majority, Republicans plan to leverage what’s expected to be a huge money advantage, led by a hodge-podge of big-spending outside groups, to bloody Democratic challengers taking on a string of vulnerable GOP incumbents in pivotal swing states. This year, early spending has often come from obscure GOP-aligned groups. One Nation PAC, a group tied to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, has dropped six-figures into states like North Carolina and Pennsylvania to prop up Sens. Richard Burr and Pat Toomey, respectively.

Message traffic related to Tom Ross dismissal

"You have four hundred twenty seven messages waiting for your attention":

UNC alumna and parent, Maureen Anne Costello Dwyer, to board members, Jan. 26: “On our family’s behalf, I am writing to express our extreme concern and confusion regarding the UNC Board of Governor’s recent actions regarding UNC President Tom Ross. As supporters of UNC and taxpayers in NC, we feel we, and everyone else in this state, deserves to know more specifically the reasons for the Board’s decision. Given the extremely limited and evasive information provided by Mr. Fennebresque in the news conference, it is incredibly difficult not to conclude that it is due primarily to politics and party affiliations.”

UNC supporter Patrick Walters to Fennebresque, Feb. 20: “I’m concerned (as are many others) about the abrupt dismissal of Tom Ross. From all indications he was doing a great job. Can you please explain in plain, simple, and honest terms why he was dismissed? If it’s because of differences in political ideology, then please just tell us.”

While Fennebresque freely admits there were more messages opposing the firing of Tom Ross, it's evident that many well-heeled Conservatives view it as an opportunity to reshape the ideology of the UNC System:

Sunday News: Immoral minority edition


Pro Life Groups Protest at Planned Parenthood Clinics (TWCN-TV) -- The controversial issue of abortion was at the center of a number of protests held at Planned Parenthood clinics throughout the Carolinas on Saturday. Those events all part of a nationwide effort by pro life groups to end all federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Anti-abortion activists rally at Planned Parenthood in Raleigh (WRAL-TV) -- Anti-abortion activists are protesting outside Planned Parenthood clinics across the Carolinas.


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