Saturday News: The fix is in

MARK JOHNSON REJECTS COMPLAINT ABOUT COMPUTER TESTING CONTRACT: In a letter sent Wednesday, the state Department of Public Instruction said that New York-based Amplify failed to submit a protest letter in a timely fashion, on the grounds that the company missed the 15-day cutoff to lodge a complaint about the contract process. “We disagree with their assertion that this letter is untimely,” said Mitch Armbruster, North Carolina counsel for Amplify. “State law has been clear for 200 years. If the deadline falls on a weekend, it rolls over to the next Monday.” The state, in its rejection letter to Amplify, said that this particular dispute did not fall under the statutes the company cited regarding whether a weekend should count toward meeting the deadline. “I cannot emphasize enough the fact that the Department followed all laws, policies, and rules related to the RFP and contract award,” State Superintendent Mark Johnson wrote in the letter.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article232323222.html

Separation of Powers: Appeals court rules against Trump diverting funds for border wall

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Congress does not give the President a blank check:

A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed with a lower court ruling that prevented the government from tapping Defense Department counterdrug money to build high-priority sections of wall in Arizona, California and New Mexico.

"As for the public interest, we conclude that it is best served by respecting the Constitution's assignment of the power of the purse to Congress, and by deferring to Congress's understanding of the public interest as reflected in its repeated denial of more funding for border barrier construction," wrote Judges Michelle Friedland, a Barack Obama appointee, and Richard Clifton, a George W. Bush appointee.

Keep in mind, every time the President pulls one of these stunts, he's actually slapping Congress in the face twice. He's spending money on something they didn't want him to, and he's not spending money on something they wanted and authorized. As far as this dissenting opinion:

Friday News: Bigotry prevails

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TRANSGENDER WOMAN ARRESTED AFTER BATHROOM CONFLICT: Police told the customer Lloyd was allowed to use the women’s restroom, The Shelby Star reports. While officers were at the scene, Lloyd came outside the business and yelled an expletive, according to the report. The customer who initially complained went back into the restaurant, where Lloyd spit toward him and his family, police say. Lloyd was taken to jail and charged with disorderly conduct, according to the arrest report. Denny’s, which has restaurants across the United States and in other countries, says it doesn’t “tolerate discrimination” and expects its customers to treat people equally. “Our bathrooms policies across the country allow guests to use the bathroom of their gender identity,” company spokesperson Hannah Rand wrote in an email to McClatchy.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article232258707.html

Tarheel Founding Fathers: Joseph Hewes

Joseph Hewes was one of three NC Delegates featured in the first entry of this series eleven years ago, and I thought it fitting to give him his own diary to better explore the man. He was originally from New Jersey but moved to NC to start his own business:

Born in 1730 at Maybury Hill, an estate on the outskirts of Princeton, N.J., Hewes was the son of a pious and well-to-do Quaker farmer. He received a strict religious upbringing, and studied at a local school. After learning trade from a Philadelphia merchant, he entered business for himself. About 1760, anxious to expand his modest fortune, he moved to the thriving seaport town of Edenton, N.C. There, where he was to reside for the rest of his life, he founded a profitable mercantile and shipping firm and gained prominence.

By the time he had begun to prosper in Edenton, his rejection of many aspects of Quakerism was already in action. After that first diary in 2008, I had some conversations with a few people who remarked about a Quaker getting involved in the War effort, and we speculated that abuses of the Crown drove him to it. I'm now leaning towards another (less noble) reason: His overbearing father probably drove him away from the faith. Whatever the case, Hewes was not only a capable businessman, but also a cunning tactician. From a letter in January 1776 to Samuel Johnston:

Thursday News: Patently irresponsible

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TEXTING WHILE DRIVING BILL QUASHED BY CONSERVATIVES: Corbin said when he introduced the proposed ban this winter he expected it would be difficult to persuade conservatives like himself that it was worth impinging on people’s personal freedom. He said he understands the hesitation among legislators. “I’m very aware that this bill would affect 7 million drivers in North Carolina. It’s a big deal,” he said. “When you have a bill that affects the public so widely, it should be scrutinized.” Corbin and his allies in the Senate sought to have the blanket ban restored, and hoped to do it in the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee. Instead, Corbin said he learned secondhand that the committee’s leaders had decided not to bring it up for consideration. The committee’s three chairmen — John Alexander Jr., Chuck Edwards and Rick Gunn — did not respond to a request for comment.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article232236132.html

Coal Ash Wednesday: Trump's EPA bows to industry pressure

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Nixing rule requiring power plants to show financial capability to clean up spills:

The Trump administration said Tuesday that it won't require electric utilities to show they have money to clean up hazardous spills from power plants despite a history of toxic coal ash releases contaminating rivers and aquifers. Environmental Protection Agency officials said Tuesday that modern industry practices and recently enacted regulations are sufficient to shield taxpayers from potential cleanup costs.

The finding comes after the EPA last year reversed a related proposal under President Barack Obama that would have imposed new financial requirements on the hardrock mining industry.

On paper anyway, the difference between "taxpayers" and "ratepayers" is substantial. But in reality, there really isn't much difference. All taxpayers also pay power bills, and when the NCUC bows to Duke Energy demands to raise their rates to pay for spills and safe disposal of coal ash, taxpayers are footing the bill. And this is not an academic exercise:

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