NCGA

Two bills dealing with Rape are no-brainers

And if they are buried in committee we won't just acquiesce:

North Carolina is the only state in the country where continuing a sex act after being told to stop is not a crime due to a decades-old legal precedent. And while the law says sex with an incapacitated person is rape, a court precedent more than a decade old says the law doesn’t apply if the victim caused his or her own incapacitation through drinking or drug use.

The two bills that would change the pair of legal precedents have so far not had a formal committee hearing, but that could change after the legislature’s spring break.

Probably not the time or place to have this particular discussion, but we're going to have it anyway: Sexual intercourse is (of course) the most intimate stage of a relationship, but it's also extremely hormonal in nature. People react differently under that physiological change, and not always for the better. This provides new information to each of the individuals taking part, and what seemed like a great idea fifteen minutes ago can become repulsive fairly quickly. A good analogy might be: You want to cross the road, and the only car you see is a half-mile away. But as you step out, you realize that car is going faster than you thought, so you decide to wait. Should you be forced to cross anyway, because you initially thought it was safe? Of course not, because you have the freedom to change your mind. And so should women who have previously given consent for sex. And as for the drug and/or alcohol situation:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The never-ending battle continues:

In case you haven't been paying attention, women are slowly (but surely) losing this war. If you're a state (or Federal) candidate and women's reproductive freedom is not in your top five platform issues, you need to do some re-arranging. Pronto.

Civitas deploys "Red Scare" tactics (again) over teacher rally

Propagandists do what propagandists do:

“This is not a march for Democrats. This is not a march for Republicans. This is a march for our future.” But almost as soon as the new protest was announced, critics attacked the decision.

The conservative Civitas Institute has questioned holding the event on May Day, a day associated with labor union events, and for using “Marxist symbolism” by having a red fist in logos promoting the event. “They want to be disruptive,” said Civitas president Donald Bryson. “It’s not about parents or students. It’s about bringing a socialist labor union movement to North Carolina. That’s why it’s on May 1.”

What Donald Bryson fails to mention, either because he knows it will undermine his argument or (more likely) because he just isn't smart enough to understand: It was a labor movement (Solidarity) that broke the Marxist choke hold on Poland back in the early 1980's, and ushered in democratic reforms that (for the most part) still hold today. If anything, it's people like Berger and Bryson who most resemble those Communist Party leaders in Moscow and Gdańsk who saw the danger of losing their absolute power under such a movement. But Mark Jewell gets it:

NC Senate passes CBD oil bill to treat specific diseases

Hopefully this is the beginning of a movement:

What Senate Bill 168 would do is allow CBD oil treatments for all individuals experiencing autism, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and mitochondrial disease. The bipartisan bill has two key Senate leaders as primary sponsors in Sens. Ralph Hise, R-McDowell, and Floyd McKissick Jr., D-Durham. State Sen. Paul Lowe, D-Forsyth, is a co-sponsor. The same bill was not acted upon by the Senate Health Committee in 2017.

Both bills say the legislature has determined that current available treatment options “have been ineffective” for autism, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and mitochondrial disease. “Hemp extract shows promise in treating these chronic conditions,” the legislation says.

I'm glad to see this, but we really need to pursue medical marijuana and higher THC content CBD products if we truly want to combat NC's opioid problem.

Gator in a toxic chemical soup: GenX levels dangerously high in wildlife

The indications of long-term exposure should be very concerning:

Belcher’s team compared alligators from Lake Waccamaw in Columbus County and Greenfield Lake in Wilmington with the latter showing levels of total PFAS more than 10 times higher. They also compared striped bass from the Pamlico Aquaculture Field Laboratory and Lock and Dam No. 1 on the Cape Fear River, with the latter showing levels more than 33 times higher.

Researchers are now, Belcher said, looking at whether the PFAS are affecting the immune systems or liver functions of the animals sampled -- endpoints that have also been identified in humans. Partners in the team’s research include Cape Fear River Watch, N.C. Sea Grant and the N.C. PFAST Network.

Studies like this are extremely important, because right now there haven't been enough to meet the "statistically relevant" watermark for Federal agencies like the CDC to come to any conclusions. No doubt industry has played a role in that dearth of information, something leaders in our state need to get through their thick skulls. Self-regulating doesn't work, no matter how much money it saves from your budgeting. Back to the gators and fish(es):

Tuesday Twitter roundup

What Dan said:

Even better headline: "Andrew Dunn at Longleaf Politics has shed whatever cloak he was wearing on neutrality, and has gone full-on right-wing nutter."

Mark Johnson's "ClassWallet" program is a costly boondoggle

Somebody should design an app to detect idiots:

Several influential Republican lawmakers and GOP State Superintendent Mark Johnson announced Wednesday the creation of the N.C. Teacher Classroom Supply Program that would be funded by new legislation requiring school districts to transfer $400 to each teacher. If passed, educators would use the ClassWallet app to spend the money and to submit reimbursements for supplies they purchase.

“Giving teachers the maximum control over classroom supply funds is the ultimate local control,” Johnson said at a news conference. “Teachers can be nimble and they can use these funds to buy what they need, when they need it.”

This is even worse than we initially thought. If that money was given directly to teachers, they could pool their resources and make larger (bulk) purchases, and/or contribute to local businesses. But being forced to use an app restricts their choices, and allows for the (huge) inflation of prices. Don't just take my word for it, listen to the teacher:

Teaching supplies "shell game" criticized by education leaders

Robbing from Peter to pay Paul could make matters worse:

After Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson backed a bill Wednesday that would shift money from school districts to give teachers $400 each for classroom supply needs, several State Board of Education members expressed issues Thursday with the bill’s potential consequences for districts.

Both teacher advisors on the board, 2017 Teacher of the Year Lisa Godwin and 2018 Teacher of the Year Freebird McKinney, were vocal Wednesday about their opposition to Senate Bill 580, saying the reallocation of the money would take away resources districts need to buy supplies and equipment in bulk. Thursday, board member Jill Camnitz said she agrees with the advisors’ sentiments.

Not only is Mark Johnson not qualified to be NC's SuperNintendo, he apparently has a damn short memory. Just last Summer, he took money that was supposed to be disbursed to individual teachers and bought a bunch of IPads with it:

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