NCGA

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Why voting is so important:

The science of science is dying, and being replaced by the rhetoric of industry lobbyists. We can start the healing process by taking back the General Assembly in 2018, and finish it by purging the White House in 2020.

Tim Moore forces us to create new political corruption term: Nepo-Patronage

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That's when you get your girlfriend a cushy job in government:

The day after our story that asked about a newly created, high-paying job given to North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore’s girlfriend, Jennifer Gray, was published, we received a call from an official at the Department of Insurance (DOI). “We can see how you were confused,” said Marla Sink, deputy commissioner for communications, who proposed a conference call to clear things up.

Information previously provided by DOI officials was conflicting as to whether the job given to Ms. Gray was a political patronage position. And they had refused to explain themselves.

There are a lot of questions that need answering on this issue, including why the NC GOP felt the need to give Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey $10,000 in the middle of his four-year term. You would think with all 170 seats in the Legislature being contested, that money would have been better spent elsewhere. But setting that pile of unnecessary money aside, this conference call did anything but "clear things up.":

Lunatic Fringe: GOP Legislative candidate attacks John Kerry

For trying to preserve Iran nuclear deal Trump trashed:

A day after President Donald Trump slammed former Secretary of State John Kerry for private meetings with a top Iranian official, a North Carolina state Senate candidate lobbed similar accusations in a tweet of his own.

“When will the President Strip Former Sec of State of his Security Clearance,” said Republican Rickey Padgett, who is running to unseat Democrat Mike Woodard in District 22. “With John Kerry now working on the behalf of foreign terrorist governments (Now) should be the answer. Drain the Swamp now! John Kerry should be next!”

Okay, aside from the fact former Secretaries of State have often taken an active role on the world stage to promote diplomatic solutions to potentially dangerous problems, what (in the name of all that's holy) does this have to do with representing people in the NC General Assembly? The answer is nothing. Absolutely nothing. But going after national Democrats is a theme for this patently unstable former Durham deputy, like posting a Tweet of Pelosi and Schumer dressed as Nazis (which he has since deleted) and making incredibly racist comments about Maxine Waters:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Now the new standard operating procedure:

They would not do that unless there was something in the Legislation they didn't want people to have time to ponder...

Can Republicans be trusted to keep Special Session free of politics?

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The short answer is "no," but with the election coming up, they may have to:

“The currents will be moving under the surface,” said Gary Pearce, a columnist who was a longtime aide to Jim Hunt, a Democrat who was North Carolina’s longest-serving governor. “You can’t take politics out of anything, and this state is so, so polarized, so politicized, and the last eight years have been so angry and bitter, that even in a disaster like this, it’s going to hard for people to set it aside.”

Few state governments in America have been as divided in recent years as the one in North Carolina, where Democrats and Republicans have regularly fought pitched battles over issues like redistricting, voting rights, bathroom access for transgender people, education, and executive authority.

Republicans take note: When your state-level feud is controversial enough to make the New York Times, you might be tempted to celebrate your success. But voters across the board are extremely tired of such partisan gamesmanship, and they will be watching closely at how you handle recovery efforts after this horrible storm. And thanks to the dynamic campaign of Jen Mangrum, Berger's constituents will be watching closely, too:

Charter school foxes in the public school henhouse

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Mark Johnson has just proven he's nothing but a shill:

Johnson touted Maimone’s background with the charter school in his announcement Friday, pointing out that he led the school as it grew from 110 students in grades 7-9 in 1999 to about 1,300 students in grades K-12 today. The superintendent’s announcement said students “thrived” at Maimone’s school.

The charter earned a “B” performance grade and did not meet growth expectations on its 2016-2017 assessments, according to the most recent state report available. The school serves a decidedly different population than many typical public schools, however, with just 7.5 percent of its students considered “economically disadvantaged.” Traditional school supporters have often pointed out that the state’s growing charter sector serves a more affluent population.

Aside from being completely in the thrall of the school choice crowd, Johnson may have just hired somebody who's keeping a dark secret:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Here come the sludge

And this will be fouling the Neuse River for a long time to come:

Matthew Starr had paddled only a half mile of a stretch of Neuse River near Duke Energy’s H.F. Lee power plant in Goldsboro when he saw initial signs that something had gone very wrong. “There was exposed coal ash on trees, floating in the river, on the road,” said Starr, the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper. “There was coal ash lying on the ground. We scooped it up out of the water.”

Flooding from Hurricane Florence had drowned two inactive coal ash basins in five feet of water. The active basins, according to state regulators, were structurally sound, but the Half Mile Branch Creek, according to images published by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), was flowing through the inactive basin complex, which is covered in trees and other vegetation. Cenospheres, hollow balls of silica and aluminum that are coal ash byproducts, were floating on the water. But cenospheres are not entirely innocuous; they often contain arsenic and lead, just like the coal they came from.

This is one of the coal ash sites Duke Energy was ordered to relocate, but in late 2016 they sought for and received approval to recycle that ash instead. In other words, it shouldn't have been there to leak out. At least not in the volume it did. But of course that "volume" is hard to quantify, since we can't trust Duke Energy to be honest about its reporting:

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