Phil Berger

Berger has no leg to stand on

Phil Berger isn't just being his usual mean, evil self when cutting teacher assistants. No, he's relying on research!

Senate leader Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, said in an interview that he is relying mainly on research from Tennessee and the United Kingdom that casts doubt on the effectiveness of teacher assistants in helping students learn

First, we must beware when a tea party goon tells us that he is relying on research -- keep in mind that this is the party of climate change denial and a 6,000-year-old earth. Second, when anyone tells you that they're relying on two studies, they're probably cherry-picking data and very often trying to contradict the main body of research.

But it doesn't get much worse than having the author of one of the studies you cite tell the world that you're lying.

Delusional Pat issues "stern warnings"

To his credit, DAG McCrony has criticized several aspects of the NC Senate's off-the-rails budget. We suspect that's more because the Senate thoroughly ignored Pat's budget than it is about actual policy decisions. Still, having the governor call out some of the more extreme budget measures, and saying he disagrees with them, is likely to be useful.

But it also demonstrates Pat's delusions once again, as if he hadn't demonstrated his mental shortcomings enough already.

Pat issued "stern warnings" about the NC Senate's loony budget and said it would be tough to reach a budget compromise.

With the Senate’s stance, however, McCrory said compromise in the end may prove difficult.

NC Senate budget a study in cruelty

The details of the NC Senate's extremist budget of pain are trickling out.

In addition to forcing teachers to give up career status ("tenure") to get raises, those raises would be funded by deep cuts in other education funding, including closing HBCU(s), insufficient textbook funding, cuts to school nurses, cuts to CPI, cuts to driver education and slashing almost all teacher assistants.

But, as usual, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Not content just to keep half a million North Carolinians from having healthcare coverage by not expanding Medicaid, they're now contracting Medicaid.

I don't envy my friends who are teachers

Dear teachers,

After years of toiling out of the spotlight, you've been cast to center stage, with everyone and her sister giving you advice about doing your jobs and navigating the political waters. I personally have been inspired and moved by your collective actions in the face of relentless GOP assaults over the past year.

As I think about the challenges ahead, I don't envy you. You're being asked to sacrifice teaching assistants, textbooks, and facilities ... and to surrender what small amount of job security you currently have.

In short, you are being divided and conquered, played one against the other, with callous disregard for your work, your passions, and your prosperity. You are pawns in a Republican game, pure and simple.

Teacher raises funded by other education cuts

In their big press conference yesterday, Phil Berger & the Bergerettes loudly proclaimed that they were going to provide the largest teacher pay raise ever in North Carolina's history. When asked how they would pay for it, they less loud.

During a news conference Tuesday, Senate leaders bragged that their spending plan would be the largest pay increase for teachers in the state's history. But they declined to say at the time how they would fund that pay boost without a tax increase.

Today we see why they weren't telling how they plan to fund the teacher raises: they want to slash teacher assistants and slash other education funding to pay for teacher raises.

When telling the truth is a felony

If you can't shut them up, put them in jail.

One thing that the legislation would do is make it a Class I felony to disclose the poisonous chemicals that petrochemical companies want to pump into North Carolina’s soil. The new rules also seek to force first responders to sigh confidentially agreements in order to receive information about the poisons used following any accident. Both medical providers and fire chiefs would be bound to also not disclose what is being pumped into our ground and ground water. Following the change in rules for the State Legislative Building this is simply another attempt to criminalize behavior that cramps the style of the Republican Supermajority.

Court halts yet another Tillisberger law

A Superior Court judge has issued an injunction against the teacher bonus blackmail law that required teachers to give up their tenure status to qualify for tepid bonus pay (that only one-fourth of teachers could get anyway).

A Guilford County judge on Wednesday halted a requirement that North Carolina school districts offer a quarter of their teachers multi-year contracts as an enticement for them to give up their so-called "career status" protections.

It's unlikely that this will end up being limited just to Guilford County.

Durham Public Schools last month joined a lawsuit filed by the Guilford County school district, and more than a quarter of the 115 school districts statewide have expressed opposition to contract requirement.

Tillisberger to exercise ownership rights

It goes like this:

  1. Tillisberger & NC GOP pass unconstitutional voucher program.
  2. They get sued.
  3. An NC Superior Court ruling freezes implementation of the voucher program until the various court cases proceed.
  4. Tillisberger goes to NC Supreme Court to get the freeze on vouchers lifted. They promised those taxpayer $ to their private school profiteer buddies and dammit, they intend to deliver!

After all, the NC GOP paid good money to assume ownership of the NC Supreme Court. It's about time for a little bit of profit-taking, right?

There's no such thing as a "good government Republican" anymore

Given past transgressions by some Democrats, the appeal of Republican reformers was understandable. "Send us to Raleigh and we'll work for democracy and freedom, and we'll be accountable every step of the way." It was a seductive promise, except it turned out to be bullshit.

We've seen more backroom dealing, more legislative shenanigans, more attempts to block public oversight, more schemes to divert tax dollars to private profit, and more unvarnished subversion of voting rights than at any time in recent history.

Putting an end to this Republican reign of terror is Job One, and it's going to be tough. We'll claw back seats this year, hopefully enough to put a dent in the GOP's super-majority. We'll win back the governor's mansion in 2016, bringing to a close the hapless career of Duke McCrory. And we'll implement non-partisan redistricting in 2020, which will forever level the playing field for state elections.

But in the meantime, there are a couple of races that matter enormously in 2014, and one of them is the race for North Carolina Supreme Court. I'm supporting and voting for Robin Hudson, and I hope you will too. With Art Pope continuing his multi-million dollar shopping spree, we simply must come together to blunt the effect of his spending.

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