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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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TILLIS' "TRANSFORMED" NORTH CAROLINA A ROSY FANTASY: Sen. Thom Tillis so desperately wants to make North Carolina a red state he’s taken to wearing rose-tinted glasses. Tillis, in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, discusses tax cuts he helped ram through the General Assembly while he served as House speaker. Readers perusing the piece could be forgiven if they came away thinking the former state House speaker had paved the streets with gold, made public school teachers’ supply closets overflow with resources, given state workers big raises, ended waiting lines at the DMV, slashed costs for university students and made sure everyone had easy and affordable access to health care. While Tillis claimed he held off hordes of special interest lobbyists seeking special tax breaks in his so-called tax reforms, the truth is he worked hand-in-hand with the business lobbyists to deliver a huge corporate tax cut that hasn’t stimulated the economy, nor led to further investment.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-tillis-transformed-north-carolina-is-rosy-fantasy/17005779/

Saturday News: Justice in action

AG JOSH STEIN SUES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OVER ACA SUBSIDIES: North Carolina’s Attorney General Josh Stein is joining 18 other Democratic attorneys general in a planned federal lawsuit to block President Trump’s move to eliminate Affordable Care Act subsidies. “I am suing President Trump today for his unlawful and reckless decision to stop payments that help hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians afford health insurance,” Stein said. “His act wreaks havoc on the health care system,” Stein said. “It will lead to higher insurance costs for individuals, cause insurance companies to leave the individual health insurance market, increase the number of people without health insurance, and cost taxpayers $194 billion over the next 10 years.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article178765306.html

Fuquay Varina Voters - Candidate Party Affiliations

Fuquay-Varina Ballot

Technically, Fuquay-Varina Mayoral and Board of Commissioner races are non-partisan. But, our local elected offices are the breeding grounds for future state and federal office hopefuls. If there is any hope of steering our country back onto a progressive path, it can only start in our own backyards. The above Fuquay-Varina Sample Ballot for the upcoming November 7th election is annotated with party affiliations. It might be helpful if residents from other NC towns and municipalities contribute like information. NO ELECTION IS INCONSEQUENTIAL!

Dale Folwell jumps on the anti-Obamacare bandwagon

Because of course he did:

The HIT is an Obamacare tax on health insurance premiums designed to help offset the cost of the tax credits for ACA exchange enrollees. Recognizing the negative impact the tax was having across the nation, Congress worked across the aisle in late 2015 to pass a bipartisan one-year moratorium on the tax for 2017, saving the health care system $21.4 billion.

Republicans were expected to tackle the HIT through the repeal of the ACA. The House-approved measure to repeal and replace the failing law and the two main Senate bills all included provisions to end this irresponsible tax. But, unfortunately, congressional lawmakers weren’t able to pass the legislation.

At its core this is a GOP "divide and conquer" tactic. Without the HIT, the funding for subsidies will disappear, immediately followed by the subsidies themselves. And millions of Americans will no longer be able to afford plans offered through the ACA Marketplace. As far as Folwell's grossly inaccurate claim about the ACA being a "failing law," it's actually he and other Republicans who are making it fail. And they will be responsible for the deaths of thousands of North Carolinians in the long run, so before any of you braniacs at SEANC decide to pat him on the back for this, step back and look at the bigger picture.

Meadows attempts to spread his disease to Democrats

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And they need to run like scalded dogs:

In a bid to help shape and build support for the tax package, the North Carolina Republican has been reaching across the aisle to a handful of moderate Democrats, he told The Hill in an interview. The outreach includes Rep. John Delaney (Md.), who has said he's running for president in 2020, and Rep. John Garamendi, the former California insurance commissioner and lieutenant governor.

Meadows's top ally, former Freedom Caucus chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), has taken part in many of those informal, bipartisan discussions. A number of skeptical, moderate Republicans could peel off from the GOP tax-reform bill, so Meadows and Jordan are looking to make up for those losses with Democratic votes.

Oh, hell no. If those Democrats truly are interested in coming up with some bi-partisan approach that will give them some leverage on this issue, they need to deal with a genuine moderate Republican (if they can find one) and not a Tea-Party megalomaniac like Mark Meadows. Seriously, this dude would shut down government and throw us into another deep recession if he thought it would give him half a point in the polls and an extra five minutes in front of a camera. And while this idea might look good on paper:

Friday News: Special Master

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JUDGES ASK FOR LIST OF THREE POTENTIAL INDEPENDENT MAP-MAKERS IN GERRYMANDERING CASE: Federal judges on Thursday asked attorneys for North Carolina lawmakers and challengers of election maps adopted last month to agree on a list of three people or organizations who could draw new districts in case they rule against legislators. The order requesting the names by next week came almost an hour after a hearing in which the judges raised many questions about the intent of lawmakers when they adopted new lines for state House and Senate districts last month after being ordered to correct unconstitutional gerrymanders. "In order to avoid delay should the court decide that some or all of the plaintiffs' objections should be sustained, the parties are directed to confer and to submit the names of at least three persons the parties agree are qualified to serve as a special master," the order states.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article178501826.html

History schmistory: John Grisham gets permission to remove Chapel Hill cottages

Apparently some houses don't deserve to be painted:

The cottages are located on four separate lots behind the home at 704 E. Franklin St. that Grisham and his wife Renee bought last year. The four lots were purchased earlier this year, county records show. The Grishams want to replace the cottages with landscaping where their property backs up to the Battle Park forest.

The commission approved Grisham’s plan Tuesday after two hours of debate but also voted to delay demolition by 365 days, the maximum time allowed under state law. Grisham, the commission and Preservation Chapel Hill are looking for someone to move the cottages to a new location.

At least one of the "morals" of this story: If a community really wants to preserve historical areas and structures, that community needs to take them off the market. And keep them off the market. That requires not only an investment up front, but the commitment to maintain them. I've seen what can happen if you don't (as I'm sure many of you have). In my town, about half of the "points of interest" in our historic walking tour are places that no longer exist, that have been replaced by newer (commercial mostly) structures. As far as Grisham's "right" to develop his own property, it should be noted this is not his primary residence:

Thursday News: Absolutely no shame

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TRUMP COMPLAINS ABOUT HAVING TO HELP STORM-RAVAGED PUERTO RICO: President Donald Trump is criticizing hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and says the government can't keep federal aid there "forever." Trump criticized the U.S. territory in a series of tweets Thursday. He says there is a "total lack of accountability" and "electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes." The president adds: "We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!" The House is on track to back Trump's request for billions more in disaster aid, $16 billion to pay flood insurance claims and emergency funding to help the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico stay afloat. Hurricane Maria struck Sept. 20. It has killed at least 45 people, and about 85 percent of Puerto Rico residents still lack electricity.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article178418766.html

Wilmington resident files potential class-action lawsuit over GenX

Sometimes waiting for official actions is not enough:

Filed in Federal District Court in Wilmington on behalf of city resident Brent Nix, the suit seeks health monitoring for illnesses that may be caused by GenX and similar contaminants released into the Cape Fear River from Chemours’s plant 160 km upriver in Fayetteville, N.C. In addition, it seeks compensation for lost property value on behalf of Nix and as many as 100,000 additional plaintiffs should the court certify the case as a class-action suit.

According to the suit, “defendants have negligently and otherwise acted to cause toxic chemicals to be released from the Fayetteville Works Site, which then traveled to and contaminated and damaged the properties and household water supplies of plaintiff and class members, and exposed them to toxic chemicals.”

Go get 'em, Brent. These corporate polluters have been playing (and mostly winning) the game of profits outpacing the legal costs of bad behavior for way too long, and civil court may be the only way to force them into a "Come to Jesus" moment to change their ways.

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