Monday News: Matthew is still with us

NC TOWN FLOODED BY HURRICANE STILL REELING FROM DAMAGE: Before the flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew, the population of this Columbus County town along the banks of the Lumber River was estimated at 900 to 950 people. After the flood, the number plummeted dramatically, and the town now counts about 600 residents. The flooding, which devastated much of Fair Bluff on the heels of Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, significantly altered the landscape. As of late May, the rebuilding efforts had barely begun. Leonard said 111 residences were flooded out. Though he notes that "a lot" of federal and state grant money has been awarded, most of the property owners have not received the financial assistance to date. The town's water and sewer system was substantially impacted by the extensive flooding, Leonard said. One of the town's two wells remains out of commission. "We believe we were ground zero. We believe no municipality was hit harder than us," he said from Town Hall. "We think we were the most impacted community in the state."
https://www.wral.com/20-months-after-matthew-fair-bluff-like-a-ghost-town-/17613827/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS STILL LACK ACCOUNTABILITY, TRANSPARENCY: One of the report’s authors describe the study as “quasi-experimental.” Caveats included in the report read more like the warnings for prescription medication than an evaluation of a government program. The goal of those who ordered up the report had little to do with an objective evaluation. What they wanted was a campaign sound-bite. Inflated statements about the report that say it shows “positive, large and statistically significant” impact of vouchers spread across the Twittersphere and other social media avenues. Citizens rightly demand that public schools meet standards and demonstrate that student are – or are not – achieving. Does it make ANY sense that millions of tax dollars should go to private schools that don’t have to demonstrate that kids are learning – or even attending class? The latest report from N.C. State University tells us little about the voucher program and doesn’t bring us any closer to the transparency and accountability the program needs.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-n-c-private-school-voucher-millions-still-lack-accountability-transpa...

Frustrated Brent Jackson plays the Bible card during hog nuisance debate

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When you have no legitimate argument, it's time for, "What about Adam?"

Near the end of an hour-long debate on the Senate floor, Sen. Brent Jackson sounded exasperated. “I shouldn’t have to defend this dang bill,” he said, his voice cracking as if he were leading a tent revival. “There’s not a dang one of you all that has not eaten today or this week … Read the book of Genesis. Adam was a farmer.”

As the story goes, Adam did have a garden, and later a few livestock. But nowhere does Genesis say Adam raised 7,000 hogs in confinement barns a quarter-mile from his neighbors, built smelly, open-air waste lagoons the size of a football field and sprayed manure on that field, allowing the fecal bacteria to drift to and land on adjacent houses.

Pretty sure Adam didn't have *any* neighbors, much less ones who lived close enough to be bothered by his farming techniques. And of course we can't forget Cain slew Abel with what was very likely a farm tool, so if Adam's farming techniques were anything like his parenting skills, you know. Might have been some problems there. But blasphemy aside, this piece of hog manure legislation is what Brent Jackson is so self-righteously defending:

Saturday News: A racist legacy

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ATTORNEYS ARGUE CENTURY-OLD VOTING LAW IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL: About 68 percent of the suspected felony voters the state board identified were African-American, while about 31 percent were white. The state passed a law in 1901 to prevent people with criminal convictions from voting . It was aimed at keeping African-Americans from casting ballots and has gone largely unchanged, Carella's court motion says. "This law continues to have the intended disparate impact on African American voters, which constitute the majority of those who could be convicted under such a law, a majority of those referred by the state Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement for prosecution, and the vast majority of those facing criminal charges in Alamance County." The 1901 law followed a voter intimidation campaign in the state in 1898 when armed men rode through African-American communities to discourage voting.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article212824524.html

Friday News: Here we go again

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TIM MOORE SET TO PUT VOTER ID CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ON NOVEMBER BALLOT: Voters may be asked this November if the state constitution should require identification from people who cast ballots at polling places. Republicans in the state House on Thursday proposed placing the question of voter ID on the ballot in November two years after federal courts struck down the requirement, which was part of a broader law on voter restrictions. House Speaker Tim Moore is the lead sponsor of the bill. Republicans have enough votes to put the question on the ballot without Democrats' help. A ballot question on voter ID is expected to help draw conservative voters to the polls in November, when Republicans anticipate losing seats in the Legislature.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article212728524.html

Trump tariff on Solar panels choking NC's growth

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We really (really) can't afford this blundering idiot much longer:

The 30 percent tariff is scheduled to last four years, decreasing by 5 percent per year during that time. Solar developers say the levy will initially raise the cost of major installations by 10 percent. Leading utility-scale developer Cypress Creek Renewables LLC said it had been forced to cancel or freeze $1.5 billion in projects - mostly in the Carolinas, Texas and Colorado - because the tariff raised costs beyond the level where it could compete, spokesman Jeff McKay said.

That amounted to about 150 projects at various stages of development that would have employed three thousand or more workers during installation, he said. The projects accounted for a fifth of the company’s overall pipeline. Developer Southern Current has made similar decisions on about $1 billion of projects, mainly in South Carolina, said Bret Sowers, the company’s vice president of development and strategy.

Probably don't need to say it again, but I'm going to say it again: The main (overriding) goal of NC's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS) was to radically lower the costs of Solar panels so they could compete with dirty fossil fuels. These tariffs, for whatever strained logic brought them about, are doing the exact opposite of that. Speaking of that logic, Trump's aggressive push to keep coal plants operating undermines his rhetoric about helping US Solar panel manufacturers:

Thursday News: Unacceptable

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GOVERNOR ROY COOPER VETOES REPUBLICAN TAX-CUTTING BUDGET: Cooper made his announcement flanked by teachers and said that the level of education spending in the budget was a major reason for his veto. He said he wanted to send a message. "When you are continuing to drop in per-pupil expenditures, when you’re still 37th in the country in teacher pay, that’s unacceptable," Cooper said. Republican leaders, however, don't appear worried about their ability to overturn Cooper's veto. Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore defended the budget and criticized Cooper just minutes after the veto announcement. Cooper had proposed spending several hundred million dollars more than legislative leaders ultimately agreed to. The main difference, which Moore alluded to, was that Cooper wanted to stop the implementation of another corporate income tax cut next year and freeze planned tax cuts on income that people earn above $200,000, using the extra revenue to give teachers a larger raise and also spend money on other projects.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article212659694.html

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