NC GOP

The bizarro world of Pat McCrory

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Corrupt, unethical, and completely unfit for public office:

McCrory called the report "a story about nothing" and was critical of both WRAL News' original report and other outlets for following and commenting on it. "This is politics at its worst and journalism at its worst," McCrory said.

He added later, "There are always going to be issues going on with the largest companies in North Carolina. When do you not meet with these companies?"

Jebus cripes. You *do not* meet with these companies when various subordinates in your administration are investigating them for violations of regs and statutes, you do not meet with them days before deciding to sell investment shares in their company, you do not meet with them when their contract with state government is on the rocks and they need help "fixing" the problem, you do not meet with them before deciding whom to appoint to boards or commissions, and you do not meet with them when one of your Departments is about to decide how much work they need to do and dollars they need to spend to clean up their act. You were right when you said this is "politics at its worst," you just should have been standing in front of a mirror when you said it.

Forest uses right-wing talk radio to whine about charter schools report

Wants less evidence, more anecdotal cheerleading:

“Is there an actual anti-charter bias in the Department of Public Instruction?” Kaliner asked. Forest didn’t answer directly, but said “they” see charter schools as competition. DPI and the state Board of Education oversee North Carolina’s school districts and 158 charter schools, which are run by independent nonprofit boards.

He says delaying the report, which state lawmakers required by Jan. 15, allows more time for it to be reviewed by the Board of Education and the Charter School Advisory Board. In addition, Forest said said there should be an opportunity for “charter schools themselves to be able to read it and look at it and go, ‘Wait a minute. This isn’t painting our picture.’ There’s a lot of great positive things going on with charter schools in the state. Let’s tell that story, too.”

Apparently Forest doesn't know the difference between art and science. If the numbers don't "paint the picture" you want to see, then you need to institute policies that change those numbers. And two of the main policy drivers keeping charters from being diverse are their refusal to provide transportation and free- or reduced-lunches. The sad thing is, I have a feeling charter school proponents view that as a selling point; keeping out the riff-raff. And Republican leaders, including Forest, likely see it the same way. The problem with institutional bias is, you can't hide it when the numbers come rolling in.

Further erosion of environmental regulations coming soon

The polluters are hoping for a belated Xmas present orgy:

The state tightened the standard for shellfish waters in 2008 by requiring that runoff be treated if the hard, constructed surfaces exceed 12 percent of the building site. There was an attempt during the session last year to roll back the threshold to old standard of 25 percent.

Miller said there are some changes to the stormwater rules that might make sense, but he was disappointed to see the state move backwards. “We’re still losing ground when it comes to water quality,” he said.

These percentages might seem small to the casual observer, or even to advocates from urban and suburban Piedmont areas. But the coast is a totally different animal, and shellfish populations were seriously stressed under the old (failing) system. Another potential rule change will have a devastating effect on third-party legal intervention:

Dan Forest wants more happy talk in charter schools report

Because form over substance is so important in the education formula:

The State Board of Education is expected to vote Thursday on several charter school issues, including whether to give newer charter schools more chances to remain open if they are struggling to meet performance standards.

The board could also hear more about the annual charter schools report, which is due to the legislature on Jan. 15. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest advised the board to take more time to review the report and possibly make changes, saying he thought the statistics provided in the report were "negative" and "did not have a lot of positive things to say."

Statistics are what they are. That's why we go to the trouble to collect them, because they are untainted by ideology or preconceived notions. If you don't like the story they tell, change the factors that drove them, not the data itself. And one of the biggest factors driving those negative statistics is the mismanagement of resources, something a former Pope Puppet has positioned himself to take advantage of:

NC GOP wastes no time in attacking Roy Cooper

They'll use anything as fodder, but this time it's Obama's executive actions on gun sales:

NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse said Tuesday Obama is not standing up for the constitutional rights of citizens. “Our question is if North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will. Certainly there will be attorney generals across this country that will standup and fight these executive orders,” Woodhouse said.

“The president has done something here that he couldn’t get passed through the legislative process and that should concern all citizens,” Woodhouse said. “What the president has done here is assert authority we don’t think he has and what North Carolina citizens need is our state Attorney General Roy Cooper to do something about it.”

What the President has done is probably a far sight less than he should have, but you won't hear anything like that from the gun-nuts or GOP lawmakers and their political apparatchiks. Closing the gunshow loophole and cracking down on "private" sales is a critical step. Until that happens, it doesn't matter how accurate and up-to-date the federal database is, because somebody who would fail that test has a Plan B. And after all the harping about "mental illness" the gun lobby has used as a deflection, for them to condemn the very thing they've been promoting proves that was all just a sham. No logical ground to stand on.

DMV fees another chapter in the GOP's great tax shift

For every selfish action there's a regressive reaction:

The bottom line is that middle- and low-income people lose on the shift. The pauper and the millionaire will both spend an extra 30 percent in DMV fees, but the millionaire will get a vastly larger savings than the pauper from the income tax cuts.

This inequity will be piled upon another in March. That’s when the 6.75 percent sales tax in many counties is extended to cover car repairs and installation and maintenance services. With the new tax, a $750 repair will cost the customer $800.

By all rights, the GOP's across-the-board attacks on the poor and middle class should result in a stampede to the voting booths in November. But they're counting on the two things that helped bring them to power in the first place: Lassitude on the part of Democratic-leaning voters, and social divisiveness that keeps religious people voting for charlatans because they say the right hateful words. Not much we can do about the latter; hate is harder to cure than cancer. But we can wake up those Dem voters, if we have the desire and the organization to do so.

Common sense needed in gun control debate

But needed reforms are being held hostage by extremists:

During the UNC lock down, I kept thinking, “I don’t want to be another breaking news story.” Little did I know, but just hours before our lock down, multiple shootings had occurred across North Carolina, and in another four hours, carnage would commence in San Bernardino, California.

We do not have to live this way. We can demand that our government legislate and strengthen background checks for gun sales at gun shows and those between private parties. We can tell our legislators that schools and college campuses – our classrooms and our dorm rooms – are no place for privately owned firearms.

The problem is, any sort of restriction proposed on obtaining a firearm, no matter how sensible it may be, is viewed as a "slippery slope" by gun rights extremists. The basic flaws in their logic; that you can't trust your government but you *can* trust random citizens, should be sufficient evidence their contribution to public policy is questionable at best. But politicians are so afraid of the gun lobby, that they will be labeled "Not a friend of the 2nd Amendment," they are driven to not just do nothing, but erode the restrictions we already have in place. And the body count continues.

DEQ ignores its own staff in classifying coal ash ponds

Thanks for your input, but we have other plans:

Despite staff recommendations that virtually all Duke Energy’s 32 coal ponds should be rated high risk, state regulators charged with classifying the sites listed most at lower risk levels.

“I am disappointed that special interest groups attempted to corrupt the process by leaking an early draft that was based on incomplete data,” DEQ Secretary Donald van der Vaart said. “The draft classifications released today reflect the latest environmental science.”

Translated: "I thought everybody was on board with saving Duke Energy as much money as possible, but apparently a wink wink, nudge nudge wasn't enough to get that message across. We'll be holding some training sessions in the near future with a couple of former Enron executives on the importance of body language when your boss is trying to tell you something he can't say outloud."

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