Friday News: Why we can't have nice things


CRITICS CHARGE AN ILL WIND BLOWS FROM RALEIGH (Coastal Review) -- Supporters say a bill passed last week by the state Senate will protect vital military air space from land-based wind farms, while opponents charge it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing and is intended to kill wind energy.

STIFLING RENEWABLES (Greensboro News & Record editorial) -- Some N.C. politicians say they oppose tax credits and subsidies because they don’t think the government should be picking winners and losers in private industry. But they are clearly doing just that in regard to the state’s energy future. Bills in the N.C. House and Senate would deliver a knockout punch for solar and wind power development in North Carolina.

Senate wants tens of millions more for private school vouchers

The exsanguination of public school funding increases:

In their version of the budget, Senate Republicans have a plan to grow a large reserve fund for the Opportunity Scholarship Program. The scholarships, or vouchers, are given to low-income parents so they can pay to send their children to private rather than public schools.

Senators plan to increase the amount of money set aside by $10 million annually, enough to accommodate 2,000 additional students each year. By 2028, the state would be setting aside $145 million. But advocates and critics are divided on whether there’s demand for such an expansion.

Even if the demand was there, and it isn't, funneling these levels of taxpayer dollars into private schools is a mistake. And spending public revenues on religious institutions increases that mistake tenfold. We (through our elected state and local governments) have no way to monitor or regulate how those dollars are spent, what quality of education is received, or whether these children are even safe from potential predators in their midst. And this anecdotal account does not impress me one iota:

Thursday News: No Bill, No Break

N.C. CONGRESSWOMAN TO NRA: ‘GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY’ (Charlotte Observer) -- Charlotte-area congresswoman told the National Rifle Association on Wednesday to “get the Hell out of the way” as lawmakers try to hash out a compromise on gun control legislation.

BUTTERFIELD AMONG DEMOCRATS STAGING SIT-IN (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield was among the nearly 200 Democrats who staged a sit-in Wednesday to force a House vote on gun control measures.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Real environmental justice, or just another delaying tactic?


We love the Federal government, we hate the Federal government, we love the Federal government:

At a public hearing earlier this year about the Dan River plans, several African-American residents argued against the proposal, saying it placed an unfair burden on the overall community. At the hearing, Assistant DEQ Secretary Tom Reeder pledged that the administration of Gov. Pat McCrory would complete an “environmental justice review of each Duke Energy coal ash landfill application” and seek approval from both EPA’s office of civil rights and the federal civil rights commission.

“The McCrory administration will go beyond federal and state requirements to protect minority communities from negative impacts when evaluating Duke Energy’s applications to store coal ash in a new landfill,” Reeder said at the time.

I will freely admit, I often try to ascribe nefarious motives when McCrory administration officials wax altruistic. Can't help it. When taken in context with other statements and behaviors, the odds they're genuinely concerned seem extremely low. Also, I just spent over an hour scouring DEQ's website searching for references to "environmental justice" and trying to track down the Division/department/agent(s) responsible for doing these reviews. Might as well have been looking for a four-leaf clover. I do welcome Federal oversight on this issue, because there are some serious questions about the appropriateness of this evaluation:

Wednesday News: Big-government bullying edition


FUNDING THREATENED FOR CITIES IGNORING STATE IMMIGRATION LAW (AP) -- North Carolina Republican lawmakers are attempting to rein in local governments with threats to deny school and roads funding if they do not comply with immigration laws passed last year.

SENATE BILL TO WITHHOLD FUNDS TO ’SANCTUARY CITIES’ MOVES FORWARD (WUNC-FM) -- North Carolina Republican leaders are fast-tracking a plan to withhold state funding for schools and highways from cities and counties that enact ordinances that are friendly to undocumented immigrants.

As usual, Burr's attacks on Deborah Ross are baseless

And an attempt to deflect from his own shortcomings:

Ross has championed efforts to protect women and children. In the General Assembly, she worked to keep sexual predators off of social media sites and helped make sure law enforcement had the tools it needed to track sex offenders. She passed domestic violence reforms and wrote several laws to help victims of sexual assault.

Burr, on the other hand, voted against reauthorization of the Violence Against Women’s Act, which would have provided federal dollars to help prevent violence against women, children and families.

Not only did he fail miserably in efforts to keep women safe from violence, he's also worked hard to keep their earnings well below male co-workers:

Tuesday News: Despised political hack undaunted


SPELLINGS REFLECTS ON FIRST 100 DAYS AS UNC PRESIDENT (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Margaret Spellings wrapped up her tour of the 17 UNC campuses recently, ending what has been an eventful first 100 days as UNC president.

UNC’S SPELLINGS REFLECTS ON FIRST 100 DAYS (TWCN-TV) -- UNC System President Margaret Spellings reached a milestone. She has passed her first 100 days on the job. Part of that time was spent touring the state's colleges and other institutions. "Well, I've learned that the people of North Carolina are charming," she said.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Scraping the bottom of the barrel:

And, she appears to be functionally illiterate: "...the right candidate they have been followed or rooted since announcement of the candidacy." :o That's actually painful to read...


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