Saturday News: Impasse

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MARATHON SESSION ADJOURNS WITH NO NEW BUDGET: "It’s unfortunate that the General Assembly left town passing a sweeping corporate tax cut while leaving teachers with a pay raise much less than other state employees," Cooper said Friday. During the budget impasse, lawmakers passed a series of so-called "mini-budgets" to get new money to various agencies and programs. Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger
said Thursday that the various measures account for 98.5 percent of what was in the vetoed budget. Although Cooper complained about the piecemeal process, he has signed many of the proposals into law. The teacher pay raise bill cleared the legislature Thursday, but Cooper wouldn't say Friday whether he would sign it or veto it to force more negotiations.
https://www.wral.com/long-legislative-session-fails-to-produce-state-budget/18738654/

Beware of those "Local" news stories on social media

It's the newest frontier in fake news & propaganda:

Some misinformation in local news comes from foreign governments seeking to meddle in American domestic politics. Most notably, numerous Twitter accounts operated by the Russian Internet Research Agency were found to have impersonated local news aggregators during the 2016 election campaign.

A recent Senate Intelligence Committee report found that 54 such accounts published more than 500,000 tweets. According to researchers at N.Y.U., the fake local news accounts frequently directed readers to genuine local news articles about polarizing political and cultural topics.

I know I've ticked off more than a handful of friends by correcting them when they share hinky stuff on Facebook, but I mostly do it via private messages these days instead of the comment thread. I really don't want to be "that guy," but when the person posting it has several hundred friends, the misinformation can spread like wildfire. And it's not just those dastardly Russians doing it; the (U.S.) Conservative election machine is now cranking out a ton of this material as well:

Friday News: Penny-Pinching Phil

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NC SENATE STRIPS FUNDING FROM HOUSE DISASTER BILL: The nearly $280 million package included $30 million for the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resilience to aid local governments in recovery from the hurricanes, $32 million to enhance laser-made topographical maps of North Carolina and $15 million for Golden L.E.A.F. to provide disaster grants to governments and nonprofits, among others. That bill was not the one voted on in the Senate on Thursday, with the body instead considering and ultimately approving a different Storm Recovery Act of 2019. The Senate effort included $70.8 million to provide matching dollars for Hurricane Florence recovery projects funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s public assistance program, as well as $31.7 million for similar projects that are part of the recovery from Hurricanes Matthew, Michael and Dorian. The House voted 106-0 not to concur with the Senate and appointed a conference committee led by McGrady.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236869443.html

How to crush a brand: Toyota's sell out to Trump

I had been planning to buy a new used car this fall, my mind was set on a new Corolla hybrid. And then I read that Toyota had sided with Trump against the state of California on emission standards. My purchase is off.

Toyota has long been a leader in fuel economy and is most likely well-positioned no matter what happens between California and the federal government. The company didn't have to do anything at all, but instead it caved to threats from the Trump administration. It was a stupid move by any measure, and it will cost Toyota dearly. They may have a reputation for quality and efficiency, but now they also have a reputation for folding like a cheap suit. This move has already cost them one sale, and it appears I'm not alone.

After S559 is amended, Duke Energy pushes for rate increases

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There's more than one way to skin a ratepayer:

Duke Energy has asked state regulators to approve an average 12.3% rate increase for its division serving eastern North Carolina and the Asheville area. The filing Wednesday with the North Carolina Utilities Commission seeks an additional $464 million to pay for retiring coal plants, closing coal ash dumps, and improving the electric grid.

Duke says residential rates would rise an average 14.3%, if approved by regulators. A typical customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity monthly would pay about $17 more, or a total of about $138.

Don't let that "Ashevillle" area thing fool you; a healthy chunk of the people affected are not young urban professionals. Both Eastern and Western North Carolina suffer heavily from poverty, and this increase will push even more folks over that ledge. A higher electric bill *will* take food off the tables of many, especially those on a fixed income:

Thursday News: Divide and conquer

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GOP IS NOW TRYING TO BLATANTLY BRIBE SENATE DEMS TO OVERRIDE: Republicans in the General Assembly are offering Democrats a deal that would mean raises for teachers and some other state employees if the state budget becomes law. North Carolina teachers could get the 3.9% raises over the next two years that are in the state budget, which includes step increases for longevity, or an additional raise that would bring the total raise to 4.4% if Democrats vote with Republicans to override the governor’s veto of the budget, Republican General Assembly leaders announced Wednesday. The bill will be considered by the legislature on Thursday, Oct. 31, the day the Senate previously announced it would adjourn for a few weeks or more.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article236823563.html

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