DonorsChoose Not to Help Elect Jeff Tarte

The non-profit organization, DonorsChoose, has taken the high road.

The NCGA GOP put $200,000 in the 2019 budget for DonorsChoose, dedicating the use of those funds for school supplies, but only for schools in the new election district of GOP State Senator Jeff Tarte. The charity pointed out it was not consulted about this and only learned about it via Twitter.

NC Republicans emulate Trump in their Budget "process"

If it walks like an orange-haired duck, well you know the rest:

Secrecy. Greed. Dishonesty. Self-dealing. Neglect disguised as concern. Contempt for democracy. If one were asked to describe the most notable hallmarks of the administration of President Donald Trump, it would be hard to come up with six more accurate characterizations. To see the latest concrete confirmation of this appalling state of affairs, North Carolinians need look no further than the preposterous state budget bill that Republican legislative leaders rolled out yesterday.

Whether it’s yet another round of tax giveaways to the rich, the continued underfunding of public schools and early childhood education, new assaults on environmental protection and public transit, the shocking neglect of school safety, dozens of outrageous pork barrel giveaways to favored special interests or just the absurd lack of process that accompanied it, the new 2019 budget is an example of Trumpism at its absolute worst.

Since I'm in the mood to dole out some totally unqualified psychoanalysis: One of the hallmarks of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (or Sociopathy) is a complete disregard for the safety and well-being of others. Just doesn't register. So it's really hard to say if the GOP's failure to fund NC's Suicide Hotline was due to tone-deaf incompetence, or some kind of conscious coup de grâce, but either way, some 255 calls per day will likely soon go unanswered. More from Rob Schofield, who (as usual) puts these things into better words than I can:

Wednesday News: Twisted priorities

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NC GOP BUDGET FUNDS ANTI-ABORTION CLINICS AND CHRISTIAN HUNTING CLUBS: The new state budget unveiled by Republican legislators Monday night will send hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to religious groups, including more than $1 million to pro-life pregnancy clinics. Other grants include a quarter of a million dollars for an outdoors group that combines Bible studies with hunting trips, as well as $100,000 to build a YMCA in an influential legislator's district, $35,000 for a prison ministry group, and more. The budget was written in secret by a handful of lawmakers and, now that it's public, GOP leaders have said it will not be open to any changes from other lawmakers of either party. It's the first time in modern North Carolina history that the budget has been closed to input from the public and amendments from lawmakers.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article212097339.html

NCFE Unveils Mobile Billboard Calling Out Congressman George Holding’s Votes to Destabilize Healthcare and Cause Premiums to Skyrocket

NCFE Unveils Mobile Billboard Calling Out Congressman George Holding’s Votes
to Destabilize Healthcare and Cause Premiums to Skyrocket

Former NC Congressman Bob Etheridge,
Teamsters VP Rick Armstrong, and NC NOW President Gailya Paliga
Cut the Ribbon Launching the “Reckless Express”

Tuesday News: Derailed

GOP'S STEALTH BUDGET JEOPARDIZES CHAPEL HILL/DURHAM LIGHT RAIL PROJECT: New state budget language holds back more than $200 million in funding for the planned Chapel Hill-to-Durham passenger rail project until federal money is promised, a potential road block for the $2.4 billion plan. The new language may set up a chicken-or-the-egg situation: The General Assembly now says no state money without federal guarantees, but federal funding requires a 50 percent match, and the state money has been been counted on. "We are assessing next steps, but the amended budget certainly appears to be detrimental to the light-rail project," GoTriangle General Manager Jeff Mann said in a statement late Monday, after the state budget became public. The new budget language released Monday night as part of the state's new $23.9 billion budget singles out light rail projects, requiring a written agreement establishing that all non-state money needed for construction "has been secured."
https://www.wral.com/budget-language-a-potential-blow-for-chapel-hill-to-durham-rail-project/17587955/

Tuesday Twitter roundup

And their turn to the Dark Side is complete:

Give me a show of hands if you could read a 267 page book the night before taking a test on it. Anyone? Bueller?

Durham Sheriff defies judge and turns over detainee to ICE

Proving Durham's voters made the right choice in the Primary:

The Durham County sheriff turned a man over to Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers on Saturday despite a Durham Superior Court judge’s request that law enforcement bring the 35-year-old Honduran to his courtroom on Tuesday. Judge Orlando Hudson had scheduled a hearing for Tuesday after an attorney for Jose Hernandez, a Durham-based window installer, filed a petition accusing Sheriff Mike Andrews of unconstitutionally detaining her client.

Hudson said Saturday he did not issue a formal order demanding Hernandez’s presence on Tuesday. But the judge said Curtis Massey, an attorney for the sheriff, had assured him that Durham deputies would get Hernandez there.

It was only just a few weeks ago when (outgoing) Sheriff Mike Andrews tried to justify his cooperation with ICE by saying he was actually "helping" the undocumented immigrant population, by turning over criminals and keeping ICE from "searching" for them in the community. But as we see in this case, his deputies racially profiled this guy and grabbed him as he left his bank:

Monday News: Turning hope into despair

PRIVATE NC DRUG REHAB CLINICS ACCUSED OF FORCED UNPAID LABOR OF PATIENTS: Attorney General Josh Stein and other state officials are investigating a drug and alcohol rehab center that faces allegations of forced labor, abuse, fraud and more. The North Carolina company operates clinics near Asheville and Raleigh. The investigation comes on the heels of an article about the rehab company that was published by Reveal, a nonprofit news website run by the Center for Investigative Reporting. According to that report, a company called Recovery Connections Community put its patients to work for free in adult care homes, charging the homes for their labor but not paying the patients for their work. Some of the patients told Reveal they worked 16-hour days for no pay and also received little to no training before going to work in those sensitive medical environments.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article211970559.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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STEIN RIGHT TO GO AFTER DRUG FIRMS AS MAJOR PART OF OPIOID ABUSE PLAGUE: In 2016 health care prescribers in the state wrote an opioid prescription for nearly every man, woman and child. There were 705 million opioid pills prescribed in North Carolina –705 per person -- in 2016. This crisis is no accident. Its origins are with pharmaceutical manufacturers. “The majority of persons with opioid addiction started with prescribed painkillers,” wrote Rebecca Haffajee and Michelle Mello in the New England Journal of Medicine. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein last week filed a lawsuit against drug maker Purdue Pharma over its opioid marketing practices. Five other states have filed similar lawsuits against Purdue. The latest legal action comes after a lawsuit Stein filed late last year against Insys Therapeutics over an alleged scheme that included kickbacks, deception and fraud in marketing Subsys – a spray form of synthetic fentanyl.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-stein-is-right-to-go-after-drug-firms-as-a-major-part-of-the-opioid-a...

The Guns in Schools Issue Goes Beyond Safety

Kansas enacted legislation allowing teachers to carry guns at work. Few schools have implemented that plan. Why? Because their insurance companies won't provide coverage.

As EMC Insurance, the largest insurer of schools in Kansas, explained in a letter to its agents, the company “has concluded that concealed handguns on school premises poses a heightened liability risk.”

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