NC GOP

Hardship and suffering a big part of McCrory's legacy

And the slashing of unemployment benefits tops the list:

When McCrory came on board, the state still owed money to the feds. But he and the Republicans acted like this was money out of their own pockets. Keep in mind that unemployment funds come from a tax on employers. Businesses pay a tax for each employee, which was going to pay back the owed money to the feds. According to an estimate given to WRAL.com, at the rate of pay, the loan would have been paid off by 2019 to 2020 without any interference from the state politicians.

Yet, the GOP pushed through measures that harmed many people so that there would be less money paid out and the loan could be paid back quickly. Instead of going until 2019 or 2020, the owed money ($2.5 billion) was paid off by May 2015. “The debt to the federal government was a tax on jobs,” said Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. McCrory and Berger said businesses were reluctant to hire new workers because of this additional fee in unemployment expense.

This wasn't just a regressive "austerity" measure, which sounds more like something you'd read in an economist's masters thesis than a call for advocacy. This actually took food off the tables of families statewide, exacerbating an already troubling hunger issue, especially among school-age children. And there was no effort to "gradually" reduce the benefits, to soften the blow to these families. No. That $2.5 billion was a nut they wanted to crack, and crack as swiftly as they could, primarily for bragging rights. And they're "still" bragging about it, including the extra billion they bled out of unemployed workers to set aside for "future" needs. And the current crop of unemployed are still suffering from those draconian cuts, and will be until we can take back the Legislature. You want a good message to push next year? There you go.

GOP shenanigans continue: Another "Special" session begins at 2:00 today

Old White Man gets slap on the wrist for assault

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And his black victim had a front-row seat:

A 79-year-old man charged with assaulting a protester in March at a Donald Trump rally received a 30-day suspended sentence and 12 months of unsupervised probation during a court appearance today.

John Franklin McGraw of Linden pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors related to an assault of Rakeem Jones. District Court Judge Tal Baggett also ordered McGraw to pay $180 in court cost and a $250 fine.

That'll teach him a lesson. Actually, he already knew our court system was horribly slanted in favor of white people. Who are (surely) just good people who, in a moment of poor judgment, made a mistake and deserve to be given another chance. Excuse me a second while I hurl...

DoE refuses to release names to Trump's star chamber

Just say no to bullies:

“The Department of Energy received significant feedback from our workforce throughout the department, including the National Labs, following the release of the transition team’s questions. Some of the questions asked left many in our workforce unsettled,” said Eben Burnham-Snyder, a department spokesman. “Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of DOE (Department of Energy) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people. We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department.

“We will be forthcoming with all publically-available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.”

Bolding hers, because force is the only thing bullies understand.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

All eyes are on Raleigh this morning:

Unfortunately, I can't use the word "unprecedented" to describe this, because the idea of giving lawmakers information ahead of time so they can digest it went out the window a long time ago. But considering they've had several weeks to craft language dealing with disaster relief, this does not bode well.

Blatant hypocrisy emerges in charter school scandal

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Oversight? We don't need no stinking oversight:

But when it comes to the Republicans’ pet education issues – increasing the number of charter schools and expanding the use of vouchers for private schools – the accountability demands ease. The lack of oversight has now shown up in a Durham charter K-12 school that awarded 53 diplomas in the last two years to students who lacked the credits necessary to graduate. That’s nearly a third of the school’s graduates since 2014 and the problem could go back further.

I find it extremely hard to believe administrators at this school couldn't keep up with a simple credit count. It's not quantum mechanics, for God's sake. Which means, there was an intentional effort to graduate unqualified students, and an apparently widespread problem in even providing enough classroom instruction to meet the criteria. What other shortcuts did they take? We likely won't find out, because Republicans seem intent on ignoring the problem:

Quashing the myth of "carbon-neutral" woody biomass

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Scientific facts the wood pellet industry doesn't want you to know:

When whole trees are pelletized, the carbon they store is released to the atmosphere immediately when they are burned. The small trees that grow back to replace them will store much less carbon for decades — so there is a net release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Young trees grow faster than old trees, but most replanted trees will not be near big enough to offset the carbon dioxide emissions from increased forest harvest by the 2030 target of the Paris Climate accord.

Arguments that regrowing forests will “pay back” the carbon debt over 100 years are irrelevant; the most harmful effects of rapid global climate change will be “locked in” within a hundred years.

When looking at or discussing this issue, there is one word that needs to be in the forefront: Sequestration. Not the Congressional budgeting blunt instrument, but the chemical action. Carbon is a basic element, and when plants and microorganisms consume it, that carbon doesn't magically disappear. It is stored in the form of cellulose and other compounds. So when we burn the wood from trees, especially older trees, we are releasing carbon into the atmosphere that had been sequestered up to a hundred years ago, and all the years in-between. And we're also taking that mature tree, with its healthy appetite for atmospheric carbon, out of the carbon uptake formula:

The Burr in our side: Keeping torture a secret

We can read your phone, but you can't read our reports:

Many people do not realize that the roughly 500-page summary of the Senate report that was declassified and made public at the end of 2014 is only a small part of the story. The full report remains classified. It is one of the largest reports in Senate history, and it is by far the most thorough account of what happened during a dark period when waterboarding and other brutal techniques were used and given legal cover — a decision by the George W. Bush administration that President Obama wisely reversed.

However, after Republicans took control of the Senate, the new chairman, Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, took the unusual step of trying to recall the full report that Senator Feinstein had distributed — to prevent it from ever being widely read or declassified.

Burr is definitely a piece of work. And he makes a mockery of the GOP's constant refrain/rhetoric of, "The Federal government is out of control, and shouldn't have so much power!" Burr is trying to force a private company to develop a code that will unlock all our smart phones, and he intends to allow law enforcement entities nationwide to use that code as they see fit. Which (of course) means that hackers will have that code by noon the next day, but Dick Burr doesn't care about that.

Rob Christensen on the fall of McCrory

The GOP Legislature's contempt for Pat didn't help:

One small episode in 2013 seemed to illustrate the legislature’s lack of respect for McCrory. One of the first lady’s projects was to regulate puppy mills. The legislature not only didn’t pass her bill but went out of its way to embarrass the governor.

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