NCGA

NC09 Debate fact-check reveals dismal state of NC teacher pay

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This is why you should wear red for ed:

When moderator Christine Sperow asked the candidates to address the economic concerns of rural farmers, McCready quickly transitioned to Bishop’s performance on teacher pay. McCready argued that the state of public education in North Carolina is harming rural North Carolinians just as much as the Trump administration’s trade policies. “We have got to be investing in our public schools,” McCready said, “alongside taking on China, to make life better for so many people.”

Bishop interjected, saying he supported teacher pay increases in the state budget for five consecutive years. A sixth and seventh consecutive raise would be possible, Bishop said, if Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper hadn’t vetoed this year’s state budget. Bishop is right — the past five budgets have increased teacher pay — but critics say these raises weren’t enough.

While Congress has zero impact on NC teacher pay, this is a legitimate debate point because it reveals how ineffective Bishop (and his GOP colleagues) have been in managing critical state policies and programs. And these numbers can't be harped on enough:

Coal Ash Wednesday: Illness and death have plagued TVA cleanup workers

Compounding the catastrophe with more irresponsible behavior:

The TVA paid for as many as 900 people to contain and remove the pollution, some working 12-hour shifts for months at a time. The sludge dried into a fine dust that sparkled like glitter and sometimes whirled into clouds so thick, drivers could barely see past the hoods of their trucks.

In Associated Press interviews, workers said they were healthy before breathing the ash, but have since suffered unusual symptoms. They recalled joking darkly about "coal ash flu" before suffering strange lesions and seeing their skin flake off like fish scales. At least 40 co-workers have died, they said, some gruesomely, collapsing and coughing up blood. "We cleaned it up in a little over five years, and it would've took 25 years to do it the right way," said Doug Bledsoe, who drove trucks there and now has brain and lung cancer.

Let's say it again for those in the back rows: "Heavy metals persist." Mercury, Arsenic, Lead, are all heavy metals that survive the coal-burning process, often in the form of fly-ash, which is such a fine particulate that it remains airborne longer than other residuals, and more easily penetrates the soft tissues (and even bloodstream). That fly-ash also contains radioactive isotopes, which are probably responsible for many of the cancers. It's not just nasty, it's deadly, and the civil court system in Tennessee is allowing even more of these folks to die because of the "phases" they have to go through to get relief:

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The cost of GOP shenanigans:

And issuing a tax cut while the Budget is still in limbo is negligent, to say the least.

Briana: The tale of American guns and foreign deaths

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I guess you could call this trickle-down economics, albeit of a deadly form:

She preyed on the parish of Clarendon, carrying out nine confirmed kills, including a double homicide outside a bar, the killing of a father at a wake and the murder of a single mother of three. Her violence was indiscriminate: She shot and nearly killed a 14-year-old girl getting ready for church. With few clues to identify her, the police named her Briana. They knew only her country of origin — the United States — where she had been virtually untraceable since 1991.

Briana, serial number 245PN70462, was a 9-millimeter Browning handgun.

As many of you already know, I served in the Army for several years. I taught weapons and tactics to foreign military and Guard/Reserve/ROTC here in the States. A few years after I left the service, I purchased a couple of weapons, a Russian Makarov pistol and a Chinese (Army issue) SKS 7.62 assault rifle. I did not have a weapon safe to store them in, but I did have trigger locks on both. I simply couldn't imagine anyone breaking into my home, but they did, in the middle of the daytime. And yes, over the years I have lost sleep worrying about what those weapons may have been used for. I wish other Americans worried about that too:

Drilling down into Gov. Cooper's Veto of Read to Achieve reboot

An expensive boondoggle, by any other name:

The state has put more than $150 million into the program to date, and a study last year by North Carolina State University found no gains for the first year of students involved.

"Teaching children to read well is a critical goal for their future success, but recent evaluations show that Read to Achieve is ineffective and costly," Cooper said in his veto message. "This legislation tries to put a Band-Aid on a program where implementation has clearly failed."

It has failed. Not "performed below our expectations," but failed, miserably. NC State followed two separate cohorts of students who took part in the RtA program, and detected virtually no improvement with them as compared to those who did not take part:

Racial Injustice: NC Supreme Court to decide Death Row cases

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Elections definitely have consequences:

With the racial-justice act out of the picture, the state appealed the re-sentencings in the four cases that had been decided under it, and in 2015, the North Carolina Supreme Court sent the cases back for further review, because the state had not been given enough time to respond to the Michigan State study on biased juror strikes.

Shortly after, state officials disregarded the state Supreme Court’s order and returned the four plaintiffs to death row without a court holding hearings or considering new evidence or arguments. The state still has not provided any explanation for the racial discrepancy in juror strikes, arguing only that the repeal of the law means the plaintiffs go back to death row.

This is (or should be) really a no-brainer for the Supreme Court. Prosecutors ignored their instructions to let the courts straighten things out, and in doing so, they literally usurped those judicial powers. The RJA cases *did not* free those inmates, they would still be incarcerated for life (without parole). And NC's defacto moratorium on executions should not be even considered in these cases. That could change at the drop of a hat, with unfairly prosecuted citizens receiving lethal injections. Once again for those in the back:

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Another one bites the dust...

Monday Numbers: Voter purges reflect a Jim Crow shift

Stifling the voices that need to be heard the most:

17 million – the number of voters removed from rolls nationwide between 2016 and 2018

40 percent – how much higher the median purge rate was over the 2016 to 2018 period in jurisdictions previously subject to preclearance versus jurisdictions that were not covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act

1.1 million – the number of voters who wouldn’t have been removed from voter rolls between 2016 and 2018 if purge rates in the counties that were covered by Section 5 were the same as the rates in non-Section 5 counties.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Rumors of a "post-racial" society, especially when it comes to voting access, are greatly exaggerated. Understand, the Voting Rights Act was not some sort of overreaction by the Federal government to a few isolated incidents; Southern Congressmen and Senators worked hand-in-hand with their state-level counterparts to actively deny Constitutional rights to tens of thousands of African-Americans, and that oppression thrived in the ambiguity of the times:

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