NC GOP

More whining from Wos on Legislative oversight

And more high-dollar outside contracts:

Davis and DHHS Sec. Aldona Wos told lawmakers they have hired a consultant to help streamline the agency and help make budget forecasts more reliable. "We've got here another single-bid $3 million contract," Tucker said, expressing frustration that a large agency with thousands of staffers could not have found workers to do such a review.

Wos said that DHHS' staff has shrunk and didn't have the ability to both handle day-to-day tasks as well as plan for the future. "This was an example of success. if this was able to be done by the employees of DHHS over the past 14 years, it would have done," Wos said. She added, "We would love to be at our desk working but we are here to provide you with the information you requested."

Shorter version: "It's not my fault, it's your fault." Apparently Republicans in the NCGA don't understand how job evaluations amongst the 1% really work: you fuck up, you move up, and the more money you lose in mismanaging your organization, the bigger your bonus and golden parachute. I shouldn't have to explain these things.

The NC GOP's empty promise on teacher raises

At least snake-oil salesmen put a bottle of something in your hand after their spiel:

No doubt sensing that their attacks on public education – and public school teachers in particular – might backfire on Election Day, Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders grudgingly started flirting with pay hikes for some teachers. But now they seem to be backing up and denying the real cause of their retreat.

But here’s the rub on teacher pay. Thanks to the fact that the Republican giveaway will cost the state about $2.4 billion over five years in lost revenue – personal income tax withholdings are behind forecasts by $221 million – there’s not going to be enough money for an across-the-board teacher pay increase. The entire scenario is brought to you by inexperienced legislative leaders driven by something akin to the tea party ideology of little or no government and few if any taxes. They took a leap without calculating distance and speed and looking at what might be at the bottom.

And now McCrory is saying the raises will happen in 2015, in an effort to get the Republicans past that whole pesky election nonsense unscathed. If we let them get away with it, all it will do is reinforce the value of lying to the people, and 2015 will be even more of a kabuki theatre.

GOP redistribution of wealth in Watauga County

As always, J.W. is on top of the story:

Commissioners Nathan Miller, David Blust, and Perry Yates trotted out their lists of past beefs with Boone, their grievances, their grudges going back decades in some cases, but they readily admitted that their self-righteous spite sprang mainly from the on-going feud Mr. Yates's daddy-in-law Phil Templeton has with anybody and everybody who won't let him do precisely as he wishes as a millionaire land developer.

Last night, Mayor Ball asked Commission Chair Nathan Miller if he thought it was fair that Boone raise 60% of the revenue and get 12% of it in return. You could see the ire rise in Miller. It's plenty fair, he replied with noticeable venom.

Another factor which must have played a role in this decision: Boone had the audacity to elect a dynamic and outspoken YDNC leader as Mayor. Local Republicans might not fear the influence of local Democrats too much, but they do fear what Andy Ball represents; smart, young, Progressive Democrats, who have the vision to see what the future could be, and the intelligence and drive to explain it to others. The only way to fight it is to stack the deck against the new Mayor, and hope his popularity collapses. And if the people of Boone have to suffer as a consequence, it's their own fault for wanting progress.

More illiteracy evident in DAG McCrory administration

The assault on the English language continues unabated:

On Sunday, though, the official Twitter account of North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory tweeted with pride that the patches on the green jackets were made in the Tar Heel State – and made double-bogey in the process.

“Great to see the patches on the infamous green jackets at @The_Masters are made in Weaverville, NC!” McCrory’s account tweeted.

But the green jackets aren’t exactly infamous – infamous, according to Merriam-Webster, means, “having a reputation of the worst kind; notoriously evil.”

This was not a typo. Apparently whoever wrote this Tweet was under the impression that "infamous" meant "really famous," something a 3rd grader might get confused, if he or she had been avoiding homework.

NC Republicans marching to the ALEC drummer

Unfortunately, there are no cliffs handy for them to march off:

Conservatives are using the April 15 deadline to celebrate tax changes that North Carolina lawmakers argue will keep more money in family wallets and encourage job creation.

Gov. Pat McCrory and key legislators plan to join right-leaning policy groups Tuesday for a tax-filing day news conference in Raleigh. They plan to highlight a new annual report from the American Legislative Exchange Council to promote the tax overhaul law.

And now would be a really good time for some of our larger news outlets to do an in-depth evaluation of how ALEC operates, including how corporations take a direct hand in the crafting of legislation that is subsequently and stealthily inserted into our "public" policy system. In the absence of that explanation to the people, reporting on state government is woefully incomplete.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

We'll start with a fine example of ineffective government:

Here's at least part of the problem:

Life or death: NC Supreme Court on trial today

Four Racial Justice Act cases under scrutiny:

This morning, the state supreme court will hear the cases of four defendants who were removed from death row under the state's racial justice act. The court will review whether the now repealed-act should apply to these defendants.

Experts say the state supreme court could come out with a narrowly tailored decision that would only affect those four people, or their decision could be broader and affect the more than 150 defendants who have filed motions for relief under the act.

It may be several days before the actual text of the arguments are made available, but we'll post them when we can.

Another teacher takes to the op-ed pages

No respite for the weary:

As much as I love the 50 children I’ve been privileged to love, teach and laugh with, I’m leaving. I can’t afford to stay any longer. Every month when I’m paid, my paycheck is spent within an hour. Between my rent, my car payments, loans and paying my credit card off from the previous month’s expenses, I have nothing left.

I can assure you I don’t make enough money to live lavishly. Dinner time at my house is often brown rice and Diet Coke. Just for fun one day, I added all the hours I work (about a third of them completely unpaid yet necessary), and averaged my salary per hour. I made more money per hour while working at a magazine in college.

On the plus side, since you can't afford to go out and eat dinner in a restaurant, that gives you more time to grade papers and prepare class assignments for the following days. Inappropriate jokes aside, we can't continue to presume that good teachers will "stick with it" and remain in their classrooms due to some noble calling. Nobility can't survive on an empty stomach, and it's hard to grade papers at night if your house is foreclosed on and you're living in your car.

Fracking causes earthquakes (DUH!)

There's ample evidence that fracking causes earthquakes. It's well known, it's logical, it's demonstrated and reasonable people can easily see how it happens.

So recently it's big news that Ohio geologists have linked fracking to earthquakes that occurred there.

While earlier studies had linked earthquakes in the same region to deep-injection wells used for disposal of fracking wastewater, this marks the first time tremors have been tied directly to fracking

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