Berger's cold-blooded approach to Medicaid

Putting the health and safety of NC citizens at risk:

Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger told WRAL-TV that any budget deal must not only include the Senate’s estimates of Medicaid costs but must also reduce the number of people who are covered by the program. Berger said the Senate wanted “reductions in the welfare spending that is ongoing at the present time.” Medicaid, the health care safety net for the most vulnerable people in North Carolina, is now welfare in Berger’s far-right view of the world.

The budget the Senate passed earlier this session would kick at least 5,200 aged, blind and disabled people off of Medicaid. More than 1,600 of them have Alzheimer’s or dementia and are in special care units, which to Berger must be a new fancy way of saying welfare.

Bolding mine. As the rollout of the ACA has shown, our current level of engagement in Medicaid is going to cost lives for the 500,000 or so folks who fall into the donut hole with no coverage. What Berger is trying to do will amp that number up significantly, costing even more lives. He's been out of control for some time, but now he's endangering people. Taking back the Senate is not just a political goal for the Democratic Party, it's a moral imperative.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Be careful what you ask for:

David, I'd say this sums up my reaction:

More charter school shenanigans from the NC GOP

Taxpayers can find out salary numbers, just not who is being paid:

The latest bad idea coming from Jeter and Lewis, is preposterous, and represents nothing less than a slap in the face to the taxpayers of North Carolina. Jeter’s clumsy idea is to block the public reporting of charter school salaries by name. He introduced the bill. Lewis defends it by saying allowing the release of the information creates a “hostile work environment.”

Clearly, Jeter heard from some charter school folks who wanted a favor because they desired to keep salaries hidden to some degree (they’re still public, but not with names attached) and so he just moved ahead. But in March, when the Charlotte Observer requested names and salaries from 23 charter schools, Jeter was fine with it, saying, “You can’t pick and choose when it’s convenient. If they want to play in that arena they need to play by public law.”

Apparently you can pick and choose when it's convenient. As far as that "hostile work environment," if charters want to pay their teachers a low salary while throwing good money at somebody's nephew who never enters a classroom to teach, I guess that might get a little hostile. Another term for that is "quality control."

Chad Barefoot plays the Russian card in campaign outreach

Just when you thought it was safe, the Russians are coming:

Barefoot's email references these "negative attack ads" as well as comments by a NATO leader that "Russians are 'secretly' joining forces with extreme liberal environmental groups to spread misinformation regarding energy exploration." Although Barefoot stops short of saying this explicitly, the overall impression of the email is that "interests as far a field as Moscow and the Kremlin" are somehow playing a part in his state Senate campaign. Here's the text of the fundraising email:

"The environmentalists are on the attack again - and this time, Russia is in the mix...It is time to set the record straight and get this campaign rolling with our own TV ads. We can't let liberal, out-of-state special interests-even interests as far a field as Moscow and the Kremlin mislead the people of our district. That's why I'm coming to you right now."

Ahh! The Kremlin! The next thing you know, they'll be rounding up the Kulaks! (for the purpose of this discussion, the Kulaks would be farmers and private businessmen in Wake County) But it seems our good NATO Commander is angling for a Euro stink-tank position:

Cliffside joins the ranks of "high hazard" coal ash sites

"State of the art" or artful misdirection?

This month, Duke was again cited by NCDENR (the Department of Environment and Natural Resources) for deficiencies in five steam stations in the state, including the Cliffside Steam Station in Rutherford and Cleveland counties. According to a June 13 notice of deficiency, the Cliffside station’s inactive coal ash basin has a dam between it and the Broad River.

“The condition of the…structure appears serious. Your dam is categorized as a high hazard dam,” the notice reads. “In the event of dam failure, significant environmental damage to the Broad River could occur due to the release of coal ash stored behind the dam.”

If you'll remember, the Cliffside Steam Station has been the subject of much controversy in recent years, with the construction of a new coal-burning facility that many believed was unnecessary and would be dirtier than predicted. Permits were granted anyway, but in the future, such new construction should require an assessment of the entire Station's grounds, including "retired" coal ash ponds. Fix "a" before proceeding with "b", or the permit for "b" will not be forthcoming. I know. Makes too much sense.

Why Tillis was "cherry-picked" by Karl Rove

The king of manipulators picks horses he can ride:

Tillis, a once-obscure state House speaker, is now one of Rove’s prize horses in the national money derby; Crossroads spent more than $1.6 million on advertising boosting Tillis’ primary campaign and later unveiled a $3.6 million ad campaign attacking Hagan. “Our advertising was terrific,” Rove declared on the call, and Tillis gave credit to Crossroads for his victory, saying in his smooth drawl that the group’s “contribution can’t be overstated.”

One big problem Rove has going forward, and one reason he’s cultivating unknowns like Tillis, is that many big-name Republicans want to keep their distance from him, especially the leading 2016 candidates. Jeb Bush’s allies see Rove as an unhelpful reminder of the most toxic elements of his older brother’s legacy, according to people familiar with their thinking.

One big thing Tillis and Dubya have in common is they were pretty much a blank slate when Rove got behind them. They're okay with generalities, but when it comes to the nuts and bolts of governing, they haven't got a clue. Which is just perfect for people like Karl Rove, who thrive on setting policy from the shadows. But Tillis is playing a pretty dangerous game, which may lose him some big bucks:

The dance of legislation, NC GOP style

During the current legislative short session, it's become quite apparent that the NCGA is barely controlled chaos run by just a few powerful people.

Yeah, I know, it's been that way in North Carolina for as long as anyone can remember. But consider:

  • Budgets are developed by a very few people behind closed doors then rolled out all at once to other legislators, the media and the public.
  • Bills are put on and taken off legislative calendars with no notice. Most legislators have no idea what to expect each day when they report to work.
  • Most legislators don't have time to read the bills they're expected to vote on.
  • Public input is scarce.
  • Lobbyists and special interest groups get notification about bills that legislators don't get. Often they get to participate in drafting the bills.
  • Committee meetings are called with no notice, often at odd hours.
  • Legislation is gutted and completely replaced with unrelated legislation.
  • Parliamentary tricks are used to cut off debate and quash amendments that might improve bills.

The Budget circus distracts from debilitating cuts

Chris Fitzsimon sets the record straight:

That means another cut of almost $75 million to the university system. The House proposal also leaves many of last year’s reductions in public school funding in place—less money for teacher assistants, less funding for programs for students with limited English proficiency, and less investment in instructional support personnel that help teachers and school administrators.

The House mini budget is worse than a media stunt. It’s a cynical proposal that damages the public schools that Gov. McCrory and House leaders claim they want to support and it further dismantles the already reeling university system. Not to mention the woefully underfunded courts, pre-k programs and mental health services.

All the Republican posturing about teacher raises is nothing more than kabuki theatre, while behind their fancy fans they're hiding the real issue: continuing tax cuts for the wealthy:

NC Senate threatens to subpoena Art Pope

Too many bullies on the playground:

Pope complained that a Senate spokesman wrongly accused him of withholding budget information; the Senate in turn threatened to subpoena Pope if he didn’t appear at a committee meeting Thursday morning.

Pope wrote back that he was happy to attend. “While it is highly unusual to be holding Senate Appropriations Committee meeting on the budget, during Conference negotiations over the state budget bill, and to receive an invitation without even 24 hour notice, I will be happy to attend your meeting and respond to your requests,” Pope wrote.

Translated: "Keep it up, and you can kiss that $12,000 Pope family bundle goodbye for this November."

Syndicate content