Wall Street is betting you and I will pay for coal ash cleanup

And Duke Energy shareholders are already reaping the benefits:

The aforementioned state legislation imposed a moratorium on Duke from seeking any sort of rate increase related to the clean-up through mid-January this year. But last week, the ratings agency Fitch upgraded Duke’s credit rating, in part reflecting the “significant, albeit manageable” coal-ash clean-up costs, as well as its expectation that the costs incurred will be recoverable from ratepayers.

Clearly, the market believes Duke will recover costs via ratepayers. The stock hit a high at the end of January, before the general correction in utilities sparked a selloff.

Once again we're entering the "tail wagging the dog" territory, where the stock market determines business behavior instead of the other way around, like it's supposed to. The same thing happened leading up to the mortgage crisis, and you see where that got us. Due to the NC Utilities Commission's bent responsibility to ensure utilities remain "profitable," Duke Energy can legally argue that not allowing them to recover costs from ratepayers will bring down their stock values, thus hurting their overall profits. The fact that Duke's stock price was artificially inflated in anticipation of the NCUC's ruling will not even be mentioned, unless the public representative or somebody like NCWARN brings it up. That's no way to do the people's business.

Daily dose: The GOP's glaring whiteness edition

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Nichol delivers fiery speech to Rowan Democrats (Salisbury Post) -- Speaking to a crowded room of Democrats, University of North Carolina Law Professor Gene Nichol on Thursday issued harsh criticisms of state government and the Republican-controlled General Assembly. The Republican caucuses in the General Assembly don’t include a single black member, Nichol said. Likewise, he said McCrory’s administration is majority white. “Some might say that’s impolite to mention — accurate but impolite,” Nichol said. “It’s apparently OK to govern as a white people party, but it’s just not OK to notice it.”
http://www.salisburypost.com/2015/06/27/political-notebook-nichol-delivers-fiery-speech-to-rowan-dem...

Franklin Graham: God's gonna get ya

It didn't take long for the bigots to get up on their soapboxes. In the lead, of course, was Franklin Graham:

North Carolina-based evangelist Franklin Graham was among the first conservative Christian leaders to react to Friday’s Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

It's no surprise that Graham blasted the Supreme Court, and warned about what they've wrought.

If this man was black, he'd be dead now

White privilege just doesn't seem to cover it:

A white Rocky Mount man on probation for aiming his shotgun at black children has been flying dozens of Confederate flags over his compound-like home in the predominantly black Arrington Avenue neighborhood for years.

West was charged in 2010 with assault with a deadly weapon. He was accused of firing a gun during a fight in the street then pointing the weapon at responding police officers. West backed into his fenced yard as more police officers arrived and surrounded the house. After a tense standoff, West surrendered to authorities, according to archived news reports. He eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of discharging a firearm within the city limits.

Bolding mine. If he had been black, they would have gunned him down without blinking an eye. Even if they hadn't, there's no way they would have reduced the charges after arresting him. He's threatened children with a deadly weapon, but kept both his freedom and his guns. And this comment is very telling:

Report: Solar energy benefits vastly outweigh costs

Households and businesses with solar panels deliver greater benefits than they receive through programs like net metering, a report said today, countering increasing complaints from utilities that solar homeowners don’t pay their fair share.

“While some utilities claim they’re subsidizing solar panel owners, our report shows the opposite is likely true,” said Dave Rogers, Environment North Carolina State Director. “If anything, utilities should be paying people who go solar more, not less.”

Daily dose: McCrory allergic to NC Policy Watch edition

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Reporter for advocacy group barred from meeting (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The office of Gov. Pat McCrory prevented a writer for an advocacy group from attending a meeting Thursday of the N.C. Business Committee for Education, a nonprofit that is housed in the governor’s office. It is the second time in recent weeks that the administration prevented a reporter for N.C. Policy Watch from attending an event listed on the governor’s public schedule that was described as being for “credentialed” press only.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article25...

The Power of Symbols

Symbols evoke emotions. They have a power to evoke images and send messages to our subconscious. They tell us what is important. Think of the crucifix, the Star of David, the swastika. Or the confederate flag. When presented with a symbol often enough, the repetition can influence our actions. Presented repeatedly to a group it becomes part of the collective unconscious, influencing a whole society.

A church burns in North Carolina

No one with any sense has any illusions that racism is on the wane. In fact, the burning of a Black church in Charlotte over the past 24 hours shows that that hate is very much alive and well here in North Carolina. While we can celebrate rebel flags being removed from public squares, despicable cowards once again remind us that we have light years to go.

The fallacy of cutting teacher assistants in K-3

Sliding back into mediocrity:

It is instructive to understand how teacher assistants came about in the first place. The position was first created and funded by the state as part of the 1975 Primary Reading Program. The goal of the program was to improve literacy among children in early grades. My mother was among the first group of teacher assistants hired in the state.

Significantly improved student achievement scores followed. It makes sense – adding another instructor immediately cut the ratio of student-to-educator in half, which gave more time for individualized attention to struggling students.

That student-to-educator ratio is the key, not only to better learning outcomes, but to basic issues dealing with health and safety, too. For the last couple of hours, I've been perusing child-to-caregiver ratios from various states for the licensing of day cares, and the ratio for children aged 6-12 varies between 1:15 and 1:19 or so. When you increase the ratio beyond these levels, significant safety issues emerge, even with children in the upper age range. If you don't believe that, volunteer as a chaperone on a school field trip for 2nd or 3rd graders. I dare you.

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