NCGA

NC's offshore drilling jobs: Propaganda or real projections?

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I wouldn't put a down-payment on a new boat just yet:

The creation of new jobs – tens of thousands of them – would be one of the greatest economic gains to North Carolina from offshore drilling, proponents say. Critics of drilling charge that the rosy job numbers are based on a flawed economic study commissioned by the oil industry. Reaching even those lofty numbers, they note, will requires hundreds of drilling rigs and a significant buildup of infrastructure that now doesn’t exist.

Just a personal anecdote: The guy who lived across the street from me (here in NC) for about ten years was a roughneck who worked on offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. I think he was out there for three weeks straight and then a week off, and he came home every couple of months or so. He told me that was not uncommon; several of his coworkers lived in states not fronting the Gulf. Why is that important? Because many work from the assumption that out-of-state oil workers would be temporary, that once our own people got the proper training those jobs would be ours. It really doesn't work like that. And we also won't be paying less at the pump, as many groups like AFP try to imply:

GOP strips retirement health care from future teachers, other state government workers

Because 30 to 40 years of service means nothing to Republicans:

A few short lines in the 2015-17 Senate budget would eliminate state-paid health retirement benefits for teachers and state employees hired after January 1, 2016.

“This will negatively impact the state’s ability to recruit good, qualified folks,” said Richard Rogers, executive director of the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees’ Association. “In the future, I don’t see folks sticking with state government for the long term or for a career.

They don't want "good, qualified folks," working for the people, because that would make it harder to tear down government agencies and institutions. Better to fill the ranks with mediocre, unqualified folks, because it will condition the populace to not be dependent on a functioning public service machine, and make it much less controversial when that machine is finally switched off for good.

"Piñata Politics" is an apt description

The vendetta against Gene Nichol is childish and destructive:

A last-minute amendment by Senate leaders Wednesday docked the University of North Carolina School of Law budget by $3 million. Democrats say it's political payback for the school's employment of legislative critic Gene Nichol. Sen. Mike Woodard, D-Durham, questioned whether the "capricious" cut would force reductions in financial aid or public service programs at the school. "This feels like the Gene Nichol transfer amendment," Woodard added.

Apodaca did not immediately respond to an inquiry from WRAL News about the timing and rationale for his amendment, but he said nothing to dispute Democrats' accusations during the floor debate.

When vicious attempts by Civitas to uncover wrongdoing on Professor Nichols' part didn't pan out, the next step was to close the Poverty Center. But that still wasn't enough, was it? Because the end goal is to get the outspoken Professor fired, or to force him to resign. Totalitarian regimes are notorious for silencing voices of opposition, and colleges are usually the first places they clamp down.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Restoring the Dan River

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Mitigation planners are seeking public input for projects:

A state-federal team is seeking public comment on its plan to assess natural resource damage from Duke Energy’s 2014 spill of coal ash into the Dan River.

Federal law lets state and federal agencies pursue claims against Duke to restore, replace or acquire natural resources equal to those that were damaged, and to seek cash compensation.

Trustees have already determined the types of projects that should be considered (see page 27 of the Plan large pdf), which includes conservation acquisitions, buffer zones, and recreational (boating & swimming) access. The public has until July 17 to submit input to: Sara Ward, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 33726, Raleigh 27636-3726, or Sara_Ward@fws.gov.

The privatization of NC Medicaid begins

And Ralph Hise is leading the charge:

Sen. Ralph Hise detailed plans that would move Medicaid away from the state Department of Health and Human Services and to a newly created Health Benefits Authority. The HBA, according to Hise, would contract with three healthcare providers to administer the $14 Billion program.

The new authority would not be subject to the state personnel act, allowing the new entity to set higher salaries for its employees.

Because why would you want government oversight and control of the spending of taxpayer dollars when you can transfer that control to the very people that are being reimbursed? I'm sure there's some alternate universe where this makes sense, but it ain't this one.

To BergerMoore, determining the rights of individuals is a game to play

Duck, duck, goose:

The House met five times with an override on the calendar – but did not take it up. On June 4, five lawmakers were absent, but Moore didn’t call for a vote. On June 9, a different five were away. Again, no vote. And so on. On Thursday, in a span of less than 10 minutes, Moore brought up the override; watched as Republicans cut off debate with a procedural move; and then locked the vote in.

Moore said the override “reaffirms the support ... to protect the conscience of magistrates in performing these duties while at the same time ensuring that marriage services are available.”

The only thing it "reaffirms" is the growing hesitation and doubt lawmakers have over the morality of allowing government officials to pick and choose which citizens to help based on religion. It also "reaffirms" the GOP needs to be watched like a hawk to keep them from relegating other citizens to "second class" status.

Bully boy Brock pushes partisan education boards

Stacking the deck in Davie County:

Brock has not responded to inquiries seeking comment. He told the Statesville Record & Landmark two weeks ago that he included Davie County — at the request of the Davie County Republican Party — in a bill that makes school board elections partisan in three other counties. Davie County was included on the third and final reading of the bill, unbeknown to five of the seven school board members and Superintendent Darrin Hartness.

In Davie County, the leadership of the Republican Party is primarily made up of individuals — including Ridenhour and Drechsler — who opposed the recent $54.5 million bond referendum to build a new high school.

Get that? The Republican Party leaders aren't pissed off Democrats are spending too much, they're pissed off the voters (in an R+47 County) were *allowed* to vote on a new high school. A vote that passed 54% to 46%, by the way. Why put up with the hassle of Democracy when you can just rule like a tyrant?

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