On Margaret Spellings and the persistence of failed education policies


There is a method to their madness:

During the rising calls for bureaucratic education reform, revamping teacher evaluations and pay, and the Wisconsin teacher protests, former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (2011) weighed in about reauthorizing NCLB: “However, any new law must be a step toward stronger, more precise accountability.” And her audacity here is even bolder than what the new reformers have been perpetuating through film and popular media.

The first thing that everybody needs to understand: These folks aren't just trying to get their grubby hands on all those education dollars. There is a more fundamental (and dangerous) drive than mere greed, and it revolves around absolute power:

GOP tax madness: Debt forgiven is taxable income?

Squeezing the last few drops of blood out of victims of foreclosure:

The state House will hold a final vote on changes to the state law. Senate Bill 726 would, among other things, continue to "de-couple" North Carolina from the federal tax law on whether to count mortgage debt that is forgiven as income. Current federal law does not tax homeowners on that kind of debt forgiveness. Current North Carolina law does and would continue to under this bill.

Where's AFP on this? JLF & Civitas? Nothing? How about the "Taxed Enough Already" Tea Partiers? The truth is, the hypocrites who claim to be on the side of the taxpayers don't give two shits what happens to a family forced into foreclosure. They were dumb enough to get in trouble, and any consequences are on them. If somebody borrowed $300,000 to purchase a house, made mortgage payments for two years but went upside down, and the bank forgave their debt but took their house, that family is left with nothing to show from that brief venture. No accrued wealth. But Republicans want to tax that family for the $275,000 balance the bank "forgave." Money that doesn't exist. And as for Jeff Collins' navel-gazing attempt to justify this government fraud:

Tell Burr: Give us a positive blue slip or expect a pink slip


The master of "doing nothing."

If North Carolina residents want to know what Timmons-Goodson did that turned her from a distinguished, easily elected jurist to this political pariah, they won’t hear the reason from Burr. Instead, he issued a statement blaming Obama for breaking an agreement about appointments and not consulting with him before making the nomination.

If the framers of the Constitution wanted Senators to make a list of preferred judicial candidates and force the Executive to choose from that list, they would have included it in the powers vested to the Legislative Branch. They didn't, for precisely this very reason. It's a Federal court, not a state court, and the potential conflicts of interest for a state delegate to choose these judges are legion. Do your fricking job, or start looking for another lawn mower retailer.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Don't look now, but the GOP is about to slash the NC DOT workforce:

No doubt in preparation for another big tax cut for the wealthy. And when their Mercedes and Porsches get torn up from potholes, they will blame their local governments.

Silencing of dissent: SolarBee fiasco exposes deeper problems in McCrory's administration


Suppression of science is a hallmark of totalitarian regimes:

Steve Tedder, with nearly 40 years of experience with the state in what’s now called the Department of Environmental Quality, is out as the leader of the Environmental Management Commission’s Water Quality Committee. The reason is simple: Tedder dared to question the decision of Gov. Pat McCrory administration’s to retract a report that was critical of the SolarBee project in Jordan Lake.

Whether it's a report on charter schools that is not "glowing enough," or an assessment of the weakness of coal ash impoundments and potential contamination of water that might result, Republicans seem determined to filter and edit data that is produced to assess their policies. They want assessments, they just don't want accurate assessments. These are not the behaviors of a democracy, they are characteristic of something else entirely:

NC's Congressional Democrats speak out on voter suppression

The real defenders of the Constitution:

While Democrats have gone to court in Arizona to reverse this culture of discrimination and disenfranchisement, Republicans are going to court to defend laws designed to decrease voter turnout because they believe that when fewer people vote, they have a better chance of winning. Make no mistake: This is part of a consistent and concerted effort by Republicans to silence voters who do not agree with their agenda. We expect that these laws, like the one passed in North Carolina, will ultimately be declared unconstitutional, and we will continue the fight at the congressional level to restore the critical protections of the Voting Rights Act.

The sad truth is, it's not just Republican politicians who want to limit/place barriers in front of certain voters; many white people are deeply concerned about changing demographics, and their perception that they will lose their position as the primary "deciders" of how our country develops has led them to ignore blatantly unconstitutional steps by the GOP. Equality is a fine principle until it actually happens.

Working on Brent Jackson's plantation

The whip has been replaced by economic tyranny:

Seven former workers at Jackson Farming Company, the Sampson County farm owned by State Senator Brent Jackson, have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the farm, Jackson, and his son Rodney alleging gross violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act, and are seeking unpaid wages and damages.

Megyn Kelly hits Governor McPotty with a truth-bomb

Please excuse the link to Fox News:

“I’ve been in women’s bathrooms my whole life, and we don’t have the urinal situation; we’ve got like, the stalls,” Kelly said. “We get to go in and we do our business, and we don’t see each other. So why are you concerned about girls exposing themselves or seeing somebody else exposed in a woman’s bathroom?”

Bam. Or is it "Boom"? Whatever, I'm beginning to like her, which is probably a clever trap by Rupert Murdoch...

Faircloth attempts to bury police body cam footage

Giving police chiefs sole discretion on what gets released:

Meanwhile, a state House bill filed by a High Point Republican, John Faircloth, would make police footage less available, and would give power to decide whether to release the footage to a police chief or sheriff. This is so wrongheaded, it’s hard to know where to begin.

It presumes that an entity that supposedly is accountable to the public should be accountable only to itself. It presumes that a chief will place the public interest over the interests of the department — or of the chief. It presumes every chief — hence, now and forevermore — will be beyond reproach. And it presumes that the chief’s say is the final word on law enforcement. It isn’t. That belongs to the council and, by extension, to the people.

Not only is this just one more in a series of moves by the NC GOP to remove power from municipal governments, it's also a slap in the face to citizens. You don't need to know what happened. The bottom line: Police chiefs and Sheriffs are directly responsible for the behavior of their officers, and misbehavior on the part of the latter could end the careers of the former. In other words, glaring conflict of interest. But this bill does more than that, it (attempts to) radically alter NC's open records laws:


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