Berger's GenX "fix" earmarks $1 million for newly created Collaboratory

While refusing to fund the purchase of a Mass Spectrometer for DEQ:

The bill contains similar funding to the House version, which Senate leadership rejected outright last month. But instead of directing the state Department of Environmental Quality to buy a high-resolution mass spectrometer, the Senate version tells DEQ to use spectrometers already in place on public university campuses.

In addition to $2.4 million in new, one-time money, the Senate bill would re-direct $1 million a year in university system funding to the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is run by Jeffrey Warren, a former science adviser to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

And as a glaring example of Berger's failure to grasp irony, the bill also directs DEQ to cooperate with an EPA investigation that a) Doesn't exist yet because Trudy Wade and her Three Mouseketeers just asked for it, and b) Is based on DEQ's alleged inability to perform tasks the NCGA has seriously cut funding for. But irony aside for the moment, let's talk about that Collaboratory. Warren is actually the Research Director now and not the Director/Director, and he does have some serious scientific creds. That being said, it's all about the mission he's been given by Berger, and that mission focuses way too heavily on economics and not nearly enough on actual scientific solutions to water quality issues. From the Collaboratory's project on Jordan Lake:

Dallas Woodhouse files complaint against Indivisible Flip NC

Alternate headline: Pot Calls Kettle Black:

A complaint filed with the state Board of Elections on Tuesday alleges that Indivisible - Flip NC has been raising money and improperly coordinating efforts with the state Democratic Party without filing paperwork with the elections board and disclosing its donors. The complaint was filed by Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party.

Republicans in suburban areas tend to be the most vulnerable. And Flip NC appears to specifically target at least one suburban Republican: Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary. “If we are going to have rules they have to apply equally to all,” Woodhouse said in an email.

Oh, that's just rich as hell. Over the last 6-8 years, Woodhouse has controlled so much dark money he could have easily launched his own fucking rocket, with that Americans For the Prosperous bus perched on its nose. If (and it's a big "if") the organizers of Indivisible Flip NC have failed to file the proper paperwork, it's due to inexperience, not an effort to conceal the identity (and thus motives) of billionaires and other uber-wealthy anti-democratic potentates. More whining:

Wednesday News: The real Deep State

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REPUBLICANS CALL GENERAL ASSEMBLY INTO SESSION WITH SECRETIVE AGENDA: North Carolina lawmakers are returning to Raleigh this week, but they’re not giving the public many details on what they plan to vote on. Both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate are due back in session Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Republican Senate leader Phil Berger said the Senate might have votes that day, Thursday, or Friday – or maybe all three days – but didn’t say what they might be voting on. “I’m IN the state senate and I don’t know what we’re voting on this week,” Democratic Sen. Jeff Jackson of Charlotte wrote in a tweet. “This is nuts.” Legislative leaders have hinted that votes might be coming on more controversial topics, such as redistricting or judicial reform.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article198725179.html

It takes money

Please join us for a reception honoring
House Democratic Leader
Darren Jackson
and his efforts to elect
a Democratic Majority in the NC House

with Special Guest
Speaker Joe Hackney

Thursday, February 22nd
5:30 to 7:00 p.m.
at the home of
Jane Brown and James Protzman
451 Lakeshore Lane
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Sponsorships: $250, $500, $1000, $2500

Individual Tickets: $100

Tuesday News: Effect, meet Cause

MUCH NEEDED FUNDING FOR PRE-K STYMIED BY INTRANSIGENT CONSERVATISM: The dilemma was at the center of the Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh on Monday, which drew hundreds to brainstorm about how to improve educational outcomes for the state’s youngest children. “We’re never going to get out of this cycle of poverty unless we can begin to educate more people,” Goodnight said. “Education is the only way out of poverty, and I don’t know why it takes our state leaders so long to recognize that. That’s where we need to be putting our money, in early pre-K.” Significant expansion would be costly. About 62,000 low-income children are eligible for the free NC Pre-K, and about 47 percent of them are being served. Rep. Craig Horn, a Union County Republican who co-chairs various House education committees, said early education should be accessible to every child in the state. “I think that’s absolutely critical to the future of the state and the future of the nation,” he said. “Whether or not it should be government funded is a separate issue. ... If somebody sees ‘free,’ everybody signs up for it.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article198534234.html

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Weird (bad) news on the gerrymandering front:

This may be happening in Pennsylvania, but I wouldn't put it past NC's Republicans to try it also. Hopefully no film at eleven.

Tillis Amazon review: Zero stars

Being something of a hermit, I do quite a bit of shopping online. If I have the time ... and if I take the time ... I can find detailed information about the things I need to buy, as well as many opportunities for comparative shopping. Every now and then, I find truly extraordinary reviews, like the one below. I was looking for a simple pocket folder to carry the small amount of paperwork I need to keep nearby. This one cracked me up.

Civil Rights Commission convenes exactly where it should

Raleigh is ground zero for unconstitutional voter suppression tactics:

Some people say it was fitting for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to take testimony about the state of voting across the country in the capital city of a state that has been the target of many recent lawsuits in which voters have accused lawmakers of disenfranchising them.

In North Carolina, many of the speakers noted, lawmakers have been accused of drawing election districts to weaken the influence of African-American voters and creating new election laws that with near “surgical precision” were targeted to limit black voters’ access to the ballot.

Unfortunately, regardless of the findings produced by this Committee, those reports will be submitted to a (Federal) Legislative and Executive Branch, neither of which has shown any interest lately on preserving Civil Rights, whether in the form of voting or anything else. And their decision to listen to the twisted ramblings of Hans von Spakovsky is not a good sign, either:

Monday News: Private sector, public danger

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SOUTH CAROLINA TRAIN CRASH COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED WITH AVAILABLE TECHNOLOGY: Federal investigators are trying to figure out why a switch was in the wrong position, sending an Amtrak train into a freight train and killing a conductor and an engineer in South Carolina. But they already know what could have prevented the wreck that injured more than 100 passengers: a GPS-based system called "positive train control," which knows the location of all trains and the positions of all switches in an area, and can prevent the kind of human error that puts two trains on the same track. "It could have avoided this accident. That's what it's designed to do," said National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwalt. Regulators have demanded the implementation of positive train control for decades, and the technology is now in place in the Northeast, but railroads that operate tracks used by Amtrak elsewhere in the U.S. have won repeated extensions from the government. The deadline for installing such equipment is now the end of 2018.
http://www.wral.com/us-investigators-say-deadly-amtrak-train-crash-preventable/17313999/

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