Folwell continues to stack the deck against jobless claimants

Throwing roadblocks in the way of legal counsel:

What Folwell wanted to do instead was slow down the provision of the notices to attorneys and jack up the cost to them for that service, argued Jim White on behalf of the attorney challenging the new restrictions. The effect? According to former DES deputy chairman and chief counsel Thomas Whitaker, who testified yesterday, not releasing the notices would severely restrict unemployment claimants’ ability to retain counsel and have due process during any hearing, And put the lawyers trying to reach these claimants out of business, added White.

“In the end, if these law firms are out of business and people don’t have affordable counsel, we can reduce the amount of unemployment that’s paid in the state,” White said.

And the longer these unemployed workers go without assistance, the less likely they'll be able to afford any type of legal counsel. Which (of course) fits the Republican plan neatly.

DENR denies its Climate Change denialism

Removing Climate Change information from its website:

As recently as Jan. 21, information about climate change was available on the front page of the Division of Air Quality's website. Sometime in the last two months, the page was edited to remove the link. The link used to connect users to a page full of information and resources about greenhouse gases and climate change. That page no longer exists, either.

"We made these changes as part of our ongoing efforts to update, refresh and redesign our website," Mather said. "Currently, states do not have a lot of regulatory authority dealing with climate change. We do have responsibilities in several areas, however, and we still include that information on our website."

I wondered how long it would take for this to happen. When the people who run your organization are idiots, it's only a matter of time before the dumbing down begins:

Duke Energy shareholder not sure who should pay for coal ash cleanup

Will leave it up to a hand-picked NCUC to decide:

McCrory, who worked at Duke for nearly 30 years until 2008, said financial decisions on the cleanup are best left to the state Utilities Commission, which sets electric rates and can agree to let Duke pass along one-time costs to customers.

“I think it's inappropriate to have politics involved in this process,” McCrory said after a Council of State meeting. “You've got to have this process work out free of politics, especially … as we try to get the facts exactly about what has happened and what the potential solutions are to this very serious issue.”

Duke Energy spent more than 1.1 million dollars to get McCrory elected. Politics have been involved long before the Deputy Assistant Governor was worn in.

How do you like them bananas?

Chiquita moves its headquarters to the Emerald Isle (not the one on NC's coast):

Less than two years after Chiquita moved its headquarters to Charlotte, the company said Monday it will merge with Irish fruit company Fyffes, throwing its $22 million worth of incentives into question. If approved, the deal will strip Charlotte of a prominent corporate headquarters that leaders worked hard to lure away from Cincinnati with the promise of state and local money.

N.C. Commerce Department spokesman Dan Spuller wrote in an email that Chiquita can still receive the payments, which are spread out over more than a decade, as long as it retains its local presence. He did not elaborate, and commerce officials didn’t make anyone available for follow-up questions Monday.

Once again, the taxpayers get screwed by a multinational corporation while our government watches in dismay. And we're going to turn over the incentive-granting function to the private sector? Stupid doesn't even cover it.

p.s. I realize the title of this diary is not grammatically correct, but I stole it from Futurama, so...

Tuesday Twitter roundup

This is what sending a conservative lawyer to Congress will get you:

Justice for the corporations, not the people.

Moffitt tries to bully his Democratic opponent into quitting NC House race

Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction:

Moffitt and Turner met at Travinia restaurant in Biltmore Park about 3 p.m. on Feb. 24. King, who has touted the fact that he has friends on both sides of the political aisle, acted as a go-between and was also at the table. The meeting was ostensibly a pre-campaign get-together for the two candidates to say hello.

But over an appetizer and iced tea – sweet for Turner, unsweetened for Moffitt – Moffitt asked Turner to withdraw from the race. Turner declined. The conversation continued, with Moffitt suggesting that Turner might fulfill a desire to serve the state through some other state job, according to sources familiar with the meeting. (Turner resigned his job as a vice chancellor at UNC Asheville to challenge against Moffitt, his first run for political office.) Moffitt went on to say that third-party groups he couldn’t control would “nuke” Turner and his family, according to the sources. Turner is married and has a daughter.

This is so far over the line I don't even know where to begin. The Republican leadership should ask for his resignation long before November's Election rolls around and, if they don't, the voters of the 116th District should reject Moffitt's extremely anti-democratic approach to keeping his seat. And no, I don't expect either of those things to happen, but it's nice to dream of a not-crazy world sometimes.

Mismanagement threatens future of Charlotte charter school

The invisible hand picks the taxpayers' pocket:

In documents filed in court and with the state charter school office, Mack, vice chair Jennifer Winstel and consultants hired by the StudentFirst board say Handford overstaffed the school, put family members on the payroll, failed to pay bills and document expenses, arranged big raises for herself and Moss, and let the school fall into academic disarray.

“Once operations were underway, we met monthly and received glowing reports from the school’s leaders – reports that we would later discover were mischaracterizations at best and outright fabrications at worst,” Mack wrote in his Feb. 19 response to Medley.

The court case is shaping up to be a big hot mess, but there's no doubt the financial stability of the school is in jeopardy. And the way the Legislature has designed oversight for these entities, taxpayers have very little control over how their money is spent.

More posturing from DAG McCrory on teacher issues

The happy talk express is pulling into town:

Gov. Pat McCrory says his staff will consider making changes to a new law that offers raises to top teachers who give up tenure rights.

“I think it’s an example of passing a policy without clearly understanding the execution,” McCrory said.

McCrory says his staff will review the impact of the law between now and the short session in May. “I share some of the concerns expressed based on the implementation of the rule. The intent of the rule is very good -- the implementation process needs to be more clarified,” he said.

No, the intent of the rule is the root of the problem, not the implementation. The intent is to tear down the ranks of experienced teachers so they can be replaced by less-expensive and less-experienced rookies. And with those new teachers continuously worried about their short-term contracts, they're less likely to complain about having no new books or other needed materials. It's a policy of destruction, plain and simple, and it needs to be reversed.

Pay-to-play politics Tillis-style

You scratch my back, I'll give you some television time:

It was the spring of 2013, and lawmakers were busy drafting more than 1,700 bills, including a handful that had big implications for companies that manage homeowners associations and condominiums. At the same time, a group called Alliance for Better Communities, which is bankrolled by property management companies, gave four donations totaling $51,000 to a nonprofit closely tied to Republican state House leaders.

There's a lot more to this sordid tale, but (as is almost always the case) the people slinging money around were able to do so legally. Proving once again, there's often a huge difference between "legal" and "ethical."

Friday fracking video

And, here are a few others:

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