Wednesday News: Big-government bullying edition

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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.
http://www.wral.com/funding-threatened-for-cities-ignoring-state-immigration-law/15796375/

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.
http://wunc.org/post/senate-bill-withhold-funds-sanctuary-cities-moves-forward#stream/1

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

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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.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article84925692.html

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.
http://www.twcnews.com/nc/triangle-sandhills/twc-news-in-action/2016/06/20/unc-system-president-talk...

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...

Privatized school construction and Legislative corruption

The Ethics Commission might as well not exist:

A group interested in local economic development called Robeson for Advancement is lobbying for the bill. The group’s manager is Aaron Thomas, president of the construction company Metcon. Patrick Ballantine, a former state senator and GOP gubernatorial candidate, is the group’s lobbyist. The bill’s main sponsor is state Sen. Wesley Meredith, a Fayetteville Republican. He owns a landscaping company that has won work as a Metcon subcontractor.

Meredith said he isn’t pushing the bill to benefit his company. “This is a way to build schools,” he said. Meredith said he would start moving the bill through Senate committees this week.

Oh. Well, in that case, as long as you promise you're not in it for the money, I guess we shouldn't worry about it. Now, replace "Wesley Meredith" with "Tony Rand" or "Marc Basnight," and imagine the Republican heads exploding after such a comment. Where's Don Carrington? Crickets. Where's the special 7-part series on government corruption from the News & Observer? You'll have to dig into the Archives for that, pre-2010. In the newly-revised GOP dictionary, "corruption" is now synonymous with "prosperity" and "opportunity."

Counting the local costs of the Connect NC Bond scam

Coming to a poor county near you:

Gov. Pat McCrory applauded local efforts in economic development throughout the years on Friday after he revealed SWELECT Energy Systems LLC will grace Halifax County. McCrory also said the State will soon invest in Halifax County, made possible through the recently passed Connect N.C. Bond Referendum.

“And one reason these bonds were so important is that we’re going to put $6.5 million into Halifax Community College, which is going to help train workers to fill these jobs at (the upcoming SWELECT Energy facility), and also, by the way, you have a great mountain park here, and the park system is so important we’re going to be putting $1.5 million in the Medoc Mountain Park right here,” the governor added.

I'm glad to see a Solar panel manufacturing facility come to NC, and this community desperately needs those 155 jobs. But the truth is, that $6.5 million may end up costing the local community more than it can stomach. There are some details in this forward-looking statement from HCC's President that are critical in understanding the potential pitfalls of this supposed windfall:

Monday News: Recovery or stagnation?

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ECONOMIC RECOVERY LEAVES MANY BEHIND IN NATION AND NC (Raleigh News & Observer) -- For all the talk of recovering, millions of middle-class Americans haven’t ever recovered from the monumental downturn that began in 2008. They may have jobs, but the jobs are for lower compensation. The lost ground hasn’t been made up, and the struggle is harder. Businesses have continued to trim their sails – pensions are in many cases a thing of the past – and education is more expensive for their children.
http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article84612707.html

Utility-scale Solar development faces new challenges in NC

Economical, structural, and of course ideological:

That means that Duke is now paying Strata only wholesale electricity rates – without the subsidy – for power generated by six Strata solar farms that went online this year. “There is zero rate impact for rate payers,” O’Hara said. “And Duke is locking in a price for 15 years.”

As global solar prices went into a free fall and panel efficiency improved, solar farms became cost-competitive with coal-burning power plants and combined-cycle natural gas plants, two of the cheapest sources for generating electricity. The cost inversion, from priciest to cheapest, hasn’t won over all critics of renewables, but it has shifted their focus to new concerns: that solar panels may be toxic, and that solar farms conflict with agriculture.

That's typical of the anti-renewable, climate-change-denying crowd: When your main argument fizzles, you have to scramble to create a new (misleading) approach. But in their zest to find such, they also reveal their hypocrisy. Environmentalists have been pushing for decades for public officials to recognize the added costs associated with fossil fuel use, from ecological to human health issues, but that has fallen on deaf ears. And now that their "It's too costly!" argument no longer works, they want to create dangers from clean power production? Oh, hell no. As to the economics: Those of us who understood the true goals of Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards knew (or hoped) that prices would fall, and with that decline would come a decline in the demand from investors, who would see their profit margins shrink. This wasn't merely part of the plan, it was the plan. And it's working better than we'd imagined. That being said, it appears Duke Energy is doing what all monopolies do, leverage their competition out of the market:

Sunday News: Buyer's remorse edition

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TRUMP NEVER WILL BE READY TO BE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- We realize there are probably more politically correct words to describe Donald Trump, but in the interest of telling it like it is, here are a few that capture the essence of the presumptive Republican nominee for president: narcissistic, greedy, childish, petty, clownish, dishonest, racist, bigoted. We could go on.
http://www.dailyadvance.com/Opinion/2016/06/19/Trump-never-will-be-ready-to-be-commander-in-chief.html

REPUBLICANS SHOULD TRY TO BLOCK DONALD TRUMP (Charlotte Observer) -- There are new efforts to deny Trump the GOP nomination at next month’s convention;
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article84472747.html

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