Thursday News: Folwell's Folly

TOP ADMINISTRATOR FOR STATE HEALTH PLAN RESIGNS, LEAVING HUGE EXPERIENCE GAP: Mona Moon, who has been the executive administrator in charge of day-to-day operations for the N.C. State Health Plan for the last four years, has abruptly resigned. “It’s a loss to the State Health Plan,” said John Hammond, a former member of the health plan’s board of trustees and a professor emeritus at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine. “She knew the ins and outs of the healthcare system.” Folwell recently has overseen the hiring of two officials with no previous experience in health insurance or health care into director-level positions at the health plan. He has said that he hired people with “integrity, ability and passion” who could implement changes that are needed.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article152352622.html

Wednesday News: NC SNAP recipients in deep trouble

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TRUMP BUDGET COMPOUNDS NC SENATE'S CUTS TO FOOD STAMPS: North Carolina food stamp users, already at risk of having their eligibility limited, found Tuesday that the Trump administration agrees with the cutbacks. President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2018 budget, unveiled Tuesday, has $190 billion in cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which serves more than 40 million Americans. Some conservative Republicans expressed concern about the cuts. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., said, “What bothers me is that too many times some who don’t have as much as the average citizen, who’s looking out for them?” “Many people do need it,” Jones said of SNAP recipients. “If you’re talking about saving money, where’s the money going? Is it going to pay for tax cuts? That’s not fair, if it’s true.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article152219127.html

Tuesday News: Lock him up

FLYNN LIED ABOUT FOREIGN RELATIONSHIPS WHEN SEEKING SECURITY CLEARANCE: Former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn appears to have lied to federal investigators last year about who paid for his 2015 trip to Moscow during a Defense Department inquiry into the renewal of his top-secret security clearance, a leading Capitol Hill Democrat said Monday. Flynn has been implicated on several grounds, including that he lied in denying that he had discussed the U.S. sanctions against Russia during post-election phone calls and that he may have violated a federal law by failing to promptly register as a foreign agent last fall because his consulting firm had accepted more than $500,000 from a Dutch company with ties to Turkey.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article152018577.html

The NC GOP's intentional deception exposed by Supreme Court

Getting your lies tangled up will eventually bite you in the ass:

The State’s contrary story—that politics alone drove decisionmaking—came into the trial mostly through Hofeller’s testimony. Hofeller explained that Rucho and Lewis instructed him, first and
foremost, to make the map as a whole “more favorable to Republican candidates.”

The District Court, however, disbelieved Hofeller’s asserted indifference to the new district’s racial composition. The court recalled Hofeller’s contrary deposition testimony—his statement (repeated in only slightly different words in his expert report) that Rucho and Lewis “decided” to shift African-American voters into District 12 “in order to” ensure preclearance under §5. See 159 F. Supp. 3d, at 619–620; App. 558. And the court explained that even at trial, Hofeller had given testimony that undermined his “blame it on politics” claim.

Before you ask, I don't know. I've only read part of this decision, which upholds the lower court decision, so it appears the maps will need to be redrawn. Or the already re-drawn maps will now be used. Better minds than mine (easily found) need to be mined for an assessment. I'll try to follow-up with more info, but just to be clear: This decision only affects Congressional Districts, not Legislative. Districts 1 and 12, to be exact, but that also means surrounding Districts will be changed as well. Progress.

The legacy of Cherie Berry: Employers stealing from workers

And of course it's the bottom rung getting shafted the worst:

This report looks specifically at employers’ failure to pay the minimum wage to their employees at in the 10 most populous states, including North Carolina, and reveals the magnitude of the impact of wage theft on the low income workers who are least able to withstand it.

Workers in the food and drink industry suffer the highest rates of minimum wage violations, followed by agricultural workers (some of whom are not covered by minimum wage laws), leisure and hospitality, and retail workers. Unsurprisingly, women, young people, people of color, non-citizens, workers with lower levels of education, unmarried, workers, and workers without the protection of a union contract are disproportionately affected, though that is primarily because they are also more likely to be low wage workers.

For some reason, this reminds me of those cat videos, where the feline is perched on a counter top, steadily knocking items off onto the floor in contempt. Berry is that cat, knocking off various groups of workers whom she judges not worthy of her care or consideration. But this national report comes as no surprise to those who have been following her dereliction of duty for so many years:

Monday News: Unraveling the safety net

TRUMP'S BUDGET WILL SLASH MEDICAID AND OTHER FUNDING FOR THE POOR: For Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care to low-income Americans, Trump's budget plan would follow through on a bill passed by House Republicans to cut more than $800 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could cut off Medicaid benefits for about 10 million people over the next decade. The White House also will call for giving states more flexibility to impose work requirements for people in different kinds of anti-poverty programs, people familiar with the budget plan said, potentially leading to a flood of changes in states led by conservative governors.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article151860397.html

Five arrested in Alamance County during face-off at pro-Confederacy rally

Welcome to life in Trumpistan:

Shouting members of activist groups traded verbal jabs Saturday in Graham’s Court Square, though physical altercations only took place between a few protesters and law enforcement. The event, Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County’s Confederate Memorial Day observance, along with the Triangle Industrial Workers of the World’s counter-demonstration, began with arrests of three IWW protestors.

Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson said some ACTBAC members arrived with muskets, as they had been encouraged by the organization’s leadership to bring, and some IWW protestors had knives. Demonstrators on both sides were instructed to take their weapons back to their vehicles. None appeared to have been brandished the rest of the day.

It was inevitable that this crop of rednecks would eventually be confronted by the more radical elements of the Left, and I am glad there is pushback of a more vocal level. But this escalation greatly increases the likelihood that violence will occur at one of these events, something I will not condone. I understand frustration is high, and people are being hurt by the backwards slide into Conservatism. But physical violence (always) changes the dynamic in situations like this, by attracting violent people like moths to a flame. But that flame won't burn out, it will just grow bigger. Here's more:

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

BUDGET AMENDMENT AIMED TO PUT BLACK SENATORS IN THEIR PLACE: Angered at some legislators’ efforts to amend their budget dictates, Sen. Brent Jackson, a hog farmer from Sampson County, and the Senate leadership shifted hundreds of thousands of dollars away from schools in poor areas of the state to non-education programs in areas largely represented by Republicans. It was a spiteful act aimed to put Democrats, particularly African-American senators, in their place. It strips $316,600 from early college high schools in Northampton and Washington counties and prohibits using state funds to support a summer science, math and technology program in the area. This action will, according to state Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, shut the program down. There is no shading of the truth here. This astonishing act of unvarnished racism is more reminiscent of 1917 North Carolina than 2017! It was about punishing those uppity black legislators in the Senate because they stood up and opposed the Senate leadership’s budget.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-budget-amendment-aimed-to-put-black-senators-in-their-place/16710250/

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