NC GOP

Mark Johnson directs his election-loss frustration at Board of Education

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Compared to his IPad and IStation spending, this contract is minuscule:

A day after finishing a distant third in a bid to become the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor, state schools Superintendent Mark Johnson took a jab at State Board of Education (SBE) colleagues over a contract he contends was improperly administered.

The contract in question Wednesday is between the SBE and Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). It amounts to more than $30,000 for a study of the state’s accountability system, including the controversial A-F letter grading used to rate North Carolina’s schools.

While this contract was $5,000 more than what is authorized for a no-bid, he's actually angry they are planning to limit his purchases to $500,000. That's a hundred times more than they spent over their limit, and I ain't using Common Core math to get that. Zero perspective, unchecked privilege. There is literally no place in NC government where it would be "safe" for Mark Johnson to occupy.

Coal Ash Wednesday: NCUC Public Staff opposes Duke rate hike request

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Continuing to profit from negligent behavior is wrong:

The Public Staff recommends denying Duke’s request to bill customers for $161 million in ash-related costs at its power plants. The agency also recommends collecting remaining expenses over 26 years instead of the five years that Duke proposes. Those steps, the agency says, would have the effect of evenly splitting the costs between shareholders and customers.

Duke “had a duty to comply with long-standing North Carolina environmental regulations, and it failed that duty many times over many years at every coal-fired power plant it owns in North Carolina,” a Public Staff official said in written testimony.

This has become an annual (if not semi-annual) battle, and frankly the NCUC needs to put its foot down. Duke Energy is a financial monster, the single largest utility in the Western Hemisphere. It pays healthy dividends to stockholders every quarter, and plans to spend about $37 Billion over the next four years on new acquisitions alone:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Don't forget to vote if you haven't already, folks:

And be nice to the poll workers and reporters...

Monsters on Campus: UNC-CH survey of sexual assault is chilling

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The problem appears to be getting much worse:

About three thousand undergraduate women start their college careers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill each fall. By the time they graduate, nearly half are likely to experience sexual assault or misconduct. A quarter are likely to experience assaults that meet the definition of rape -- and that’s only the women.

Those numbers are based on the anonymous responses of college seniors at UNC-Chapel Hill who participated in the largest survey ever about sexual violence on college campuses.

Not trying to blame the victim here, but: The magic number is 2. While female students may still be vulnerable using the buddy system, the "he said, she said" dynamic is broken. That potentially corroborating witness will discourage most budding rapists, and they will go to great lengths to separate you. You don't go to a party, or leave a party, without your sidekick. Rushing, crushing, pledging, or even going to the fricking library, go with a friend. Lecture over, here's more:

Mark Johnson is the subject of ethics probe over campaign texts

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When your moral compass hasn't worked for years:

Multiple complaints were filed earlier this month after Johnson sent hundreds of thousands of emails and text messages to public school families and employees trumpeting his opposition to Common Core.

The timing of the campaign raised eyebrows since Johnson had been almost silent on Common Core throughout his tenure as superintendent, choosing to launch his vocal opposition just as voting began in the primary for Lieutenant Governor–an office he is seeking.

I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for the Ethics Commission to actually do anything substantial over this. Made that mistake in the past, won't do it again. But if anybody has any doubt about the connection between this text barrage and Johnson's campaign, he made that clear a few weeks ago:

Mapping NC's school-to-prison pipeline

Prejudice lies at every turn in the road:

The SCSJ used 2018-19 suspension data from the state’s 115 school districts to compile its report, which provides a “snapshot” of the so-called school-to-prison pipeline in each district. The pipeline is described as the system of policies and practices that push students out of school and into the juvenile and adult criminal justice system,

“The pipeline has three key entry points; academic failure, school discipline and court involvement,” SCJS researchers wrote. “Students of color are over-represented at each entry point to the pipeline in almost every school district in North Carolina, and once students enter the pipeline it can be difficult for them to re-engage and be successful at school.” Last year, the SCSJ found that Black students were 4.3 times more likely than white students to be suspended from school.

I had an unsettling conversation recently with a former teacher (white), which started out with, "You can't do anything for them, they won't let you!" As I probed a little deeper, it turned out this teacher would call on her black students for answers at the same rate as her white students. But since there were only 4-5 black students in her classes, compared to 20+ whites, that meant each black student was called upon every other day, if not every day. This particular teacher thought this was fair, and that she was (genuinely) trying to help them. But it's very likely her expectations of their potential success was clouded:

Litigants want NC Supreme Court to rule on GOP power grab session

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Arguably the most blatant abuse of power the NC GOP has engaged in:

Plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of a legislative session Republicans quickly called in 2016 to limit the power of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper before he could take office now want the state's highest court to hear their case.

Lawyers for Common Cause and ten citizens filed an appeal petition with the state Supreme Court on Tuesday, about a month after the Court of Appeals upheld the legality of the three-day session in December 2016. Republicans in charge of the House and Senate approved a pair of measures during the session that weakened Cooper's power as governor.

Understand, then-Governor Pat McCrory had just lost a bitterly-contested election, and NCGA Republicans knew that lame duck would gladly sucker-punch the man who defeated him. And the GOP used human suffering (hurricane relief) to launch a completely inappropriate and ethically void additional "special" session to wrest authority from the Executive and grant it to themselves. And instead of hanging their heads in shame, BergerMoore actually joked about it when questioned by reporters. Forget about political party designations for a moment; this kind of corrupt behavior needs to be checked by the Supreme Court, or the separation of powers framework could very easily collapse, taking the Court with it.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

For your information:

Unfortunately, the turnout I've witnessed so far in this Primary has been dismal. I voted Saturday shortly after noon and was the only voter present. My point is, if you vote absentee in order to avoid waiting in line, think again.

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