GOP eliminates criticism

Today, the UNC Board Committee on Stopping Criticism of the GOP Legislature and Governor recommended that the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity be eliminated. Not a surprise, but an outrage nonetheless. After meeting for months, “The panel’s chairman, Jim Holmes, called the review a thorough and legitimate exercise that resulted in less than 1 percent of centers being recommended for closure.”

Gene Nichol responds to the asses on the UNC Board of Governors

I have been repeatedly informed, even officially, that my opinion pieces have “caused great ire and dismay” among state officials and that, unless I stopped publishing in The News & Observer, “external forces might combine in the months ahead” to force my dismissal. Today those threats are brought to fruition. The Board of Governors’ tedious, expensive and supremely dishonest review process yields the result it sought all along – closing the Poverty Center. This charade, and the censorship it triggers, demeans the board, the university, academic freedom and the Constitution. It’s also mildly ironic that the university now abolishes the center for the same work that led it to give me the Thomas Jefferson Award a year ago.

The Poverty Center runs on an annual budget of about $120,000. None comes from the state. Grant funding has been secured through 2016. These private dollars will now be returned. UNC will have fewer resources, not more. Two terrific young lawyers will lose their jobs. Student education, employment and publication opportunities will be constricted. Most importantly, North Carolina’s understanding of the challenges of poverty will be weakened. These are significant costs to pay for politicians’ thin skin.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/02/18/4565101_gene-nichols-response-to-recommendation.html?rh=1#sto...

Military drones in domestic airspace? Here it comes, North Carolina

NC is testing drones, preparing for the day that the FAA opens up the skies to commercial and government use. What are the military roots of NCs program, what military personnel and equipment are involved, and why the heck are they testing at Blackwater?

In the near future, you'll look up and say, "Is that a Predator flying over my house? How the hell did that happen?" At Scrutiny Hooligans: This Is How That Happened.

The pawn and her politics

The water system, zoning, the airport; and now the city council. I’ve always believed that local school boards were the most important, elective bodies in North Carolina. Children are the pawns of adults; sometimes overly zealous while attempting to push their agendas forward. Parents, with their highly charged emotions, are eager to examine school board candidates and current members under the microscope. The general functions of a school board are straightforward. Funding based on enrollment and growth; curriculum, testing and achievement.

Mr. Pittenger goes to Israel

And disparages his own President with idiotic historic references:

The Charlotte Republican accused the president of appeasement in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

“Benjamin Netanyahu is the Winston Churchill of our day, warning the world about Iran,” Pittenger said. “President Obama is the Neville Chamberlain of our day, in seemingly total denial of the enormous risk and … (how vulnerable) we are to their nuclear capabilities.”

This idiot has no business sitting in Congress, much less on any committees that have any national security implications. Obama hasn't "given" anything to Iran, and he's actually bullied the rest of the world into not doing business with the regime in Tehran. As opposed to the right wing's hero Ronald Reagan, who gave Iran very heavy weapons:

Coal Ash Wednesday: The $100 million bribe

When buying off a grand jury is simply the cost of doing business:

Duke Energy expects to pay $100 million to resolve a federal criminal grand jury investigation of its coal ash management, the company said in an earnings report Wednesday.

“The company expects a proposed agreement could be reached and filed in the next several days for consideration by the court,” Duke said in its earnings report. “If approved, the proposed agreement would resolve the ongoing grand jury investigation of the company’s coal ash basin management.”

I wasn't aware you could "settle" a criminal investigation, at least not openly and brazenly. Then again, this is Duke Energy we're talking about; they have their own set of rules "governing" their behavior, that usually hinge on sacred words and numbers like these:

Daily dose: More like him, please

Jeff Jackson’s wonderful, terrific, very good and definitely not bad day in the N.C. Senate (Charlotte Observer) -- Sen. Jeff Jackson had a busy day. He’s expanded Medicaid, restored university funding, approved nonpartisan redistricting, made investments in wind and solar energy, outlawed puppy mills and enacted broad-based economic development. And he may just be getting started. On a day when icy roads and a curtailed schedule kept most lawmakers home, Jackson, a Charlotte Democrat, showed up at his legislative office for a morning meeting. When his appointment failed to show, he went to work. “I thought I would fix the state,” he said in a phone interview.
http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2015/02/17/5520757/sen-jeff-jackson-has-senate-to.html

Message from George W. Bush to the NC Legislature

On their misguided approach to tax reform:

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all for coming. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to sign a bill that will help homeowners who are struggling with rising mortgage payments. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 will protect families from higher taxes when they refinance their homes. It will help hardworking Americans take steps to avoid foreclosure during a period of uncertainty in the housing market. I want to thank members of Congress for getting this bill passed. I appreciate it very much.

In recent months, our nation's housing market has faced serious strains. Home values have fallen in many parts of our country. At the same time, many homeowners with adjustable rate mortgages have seen their monthly payments increase faster than their ability to pay. And now some homeowners face the prospect of foreclosure. The bill I sign today will help this effort by ensuring that refinancing a mortgage does not result in a higher tax bill. Under current law, if the value of your house declines and your bank or lender forgives a portion of your mortgage, the tax code treats the amount forgiven as money that can be taxed. And of course, this makes a difficult situation even worse. When you're worried about making your payments, higher taxes are the last thing you need to worry about.

And higher taxes for struggling families is the last thing the GOP should be considering. Here's another glaring contradiction: Republicans in the General Assembly passed a law that NC environmental regulations for polluting industries can't be more stringent than Federal regulations, but taxing citizens more than the Federal government does is okay. The GOP leadership has run off the rails, and it's time for more rank-and-file Republicans to vote their conscience.

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