Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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SPEAKER MOORE'S BOASTING ABOUT EDUCATION DOESN'T ADD UP: North Carolina schools today have more students than ever, but fewer assistant principals, nurses, social workers and guidance counselors. Money for teacher assistants has been sliced $62 million. There are 3,150 fewer teachers in our schools today than there would be if formulas in place during the 2011-12 school year were still followed. North Carolina is on target this year to drop from 42nd – not much of a position to start with – to 43rd nationally in per-pupil spending. That’s more than $3,000 per student below the national average. The reality is that Moore and his ideological soulmates in the General Assembly are more intent on cutting taxes for big corporations and the wealthy than providing the needed funding for properly paid teachers and quality public schools. When it comes to doing more for education in North Carolina, Moore’s boasting is no more than school-yard trash talk. All platitudes, with little to back it up.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-speaker-moore-s-boasting-about-education-doesn-t-add-up/17120294/

2018 elections: The only thing certain is uncertainty

And the NC GOP has certainly screwed up the electoral landscape:

This week, Democrat Anita Earls announced she would run for the seat on the state Supreme Court held by Republican Justice Barbara Jackson. But will there be an election in 2018 at all?

There's a different question surrounding legislative elections in 2018: which incumbents will be forced to share districts? New proposed district lines are out, drawn by an independent mapmaker, but that's not the final word.

Even though the court has spoken (clearly), and even though Percily only redrew a handful of districts, Republicans are still trying to bully their way in to scribble on the damn maps. They need to be called out by the press for their efforts to undermine democracy and the voters who rely on it, and they need to be spanked a lot harder by the courts for constantly muddying the waters. The people need to reclaim their time.

Saturday News: No refuge to be found

SEXUAL ASSAULT ON U.S. MILITARY BASES ON THE RISE: More than 6,150 non-domestic adult sexual assaults were reported to the U.S. military from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016, according to a new report by the Department of Defense. Nearly 400 of them were reported at North Carolina’s major military installations. There were six North Carolina bases included in the report — Camp Lejeune (169 reported cases), Fort Bragg (146), Marine Corps Air Station New River (32), Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (27), Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (13) and Pope Army Airfield (10). For context, Fort Bragg, the largest military base in the United States, has a population of about 140,000 soldiers and civilians – outnumbering all but a handful of North Carolina cities.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article18...

GOP meddling in teacher pay is like gasoline on a fire

Kicking turnover and teacher shortages into overdrive:

A pivotal legislative task force may be just beginning its dive into North Carolina’s school funding maze, but lawmakers’ hints that they may abolish the state’s teacher salary schedule or other state-set funding allocations is already spurring criticism from local district advocates. Talk of nixing a state-set pay scale emerged this year when lawmakers took on a revamp of school principal pay, and it’s resurfaced multiple times in the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform’s first meetings in November.

The state’s teacher pay struggles coincide with massive teacher shortages in many of the state’s 100 counties, as well as a substantial drop in students seeking teaching degrees in the UNC system. Mark Jewell, president of the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE), the top lobbying organization for North Carolina teachers, said lawmakers’ invitation to ditch the salary schedule would be “short-sighted,” adding it may “jeopardize teacher retention and recruiting.”

With every year that passes under Republican reign, it becomes more clear what they are actually trying to achieve: A massive failure of our pubic school system. Making it much easier to stimulate the growth of charters and private schools, pushing millions of taxpayer dollars into the pockets of businessmen instead of genuine educators. In a political environment where scams are around every corner, this one has the potential to top all the others by a wide margin.

Friday News: That's it, you're done

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DEQ REVOKES WASTEWATER DISCHARGE PERMITS FOR GENX MANUFACTURER: The state revoked permits Thursday for the factory accused of dumping pollutants into the main source of drinking water for southeastern North Carolina. State regulators in the Department of Environmental Quality had been criticized by several legislators earlier this year – both Democrats and Republicans – who accused them of not acting swiftly enough to address the release of a chemical called GenX. They took their harshest action yet on Thursday, stripping the factory’s permission to put any of its wastewater into the river from here on out. The Cape Fear is the source of drinking water for cities like Fayetteville, Wilmington and others in that corner of the state.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article185087373.html

Giving in to contempt

I've spent much of the last few years trying to be a reasonable person. That has meant looking for plus signs instead of minus signs in the political environment, hoping for silver linings when none are obviously present. It's been a daunting process, especially after Cheeto found his way into the Oval Office. But it pre-dates him, too, back to the days of Pat "Duke Energy" McCrory and the GOP mob family in Raleigh.

Profiles in idiocy: GOP women who voted for Trump have buyer's remorse

Sometimes your explanation just makes things worse:

Republican women who voted for President Trump in North Carolina said during a focus group Wednesday night that they are embarrassed by and exasperated with him.

-- Annie Anthony, 56, voted for Trump last year because she opposes abortion and did not like how Hillary Clinton handled Benghazi. Now she fears that Trump is marching us toward war with North Korea. She describes the first 10 months of his presidency as “chaotic, stressful and an uphill battle.”

Benghazi? During his campaign, Trump demonstrated time and time again that he wasn't even remotely qualified to serve as President, that he had nothing but contempt for women and viewed them as merely sexual toys to be played with when the mood came on him, and that he would lie about any subject, no matter how easily that lie would be exposed. But you didn't like Clinton because of a totally fabricated controversy that Fox News fed to you every day. You should be embarrassed, and don't expect the slightest bit of sympathy for your condition.

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