Friday News: NC can't afford Trumpism

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NC PORK AND TOBACCO FARMERS CAUGHT UP IN TRUMP'S TRADE WARS: North Carolina pork producers and tobacco farmers could feel a big hit from the back-and-forth trade threats being issued by the United States and trading partners across the globe, including Mexico, Canada, China and the European Union. The Trump administration announced this week that it would implement tariffs on aluminum and steel products from Mexico, Canada and the EU on Friday. Also this week, Trump renewed his threat to place tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese products. Those nations announced retaliatory measures Thursday, including threats to levy tariffs on tobacco and pork products. The state's pork producers export 25 percent of their product, said Andy Curliss, CEO of the North Carolina Pork Council. Mexico and Canada account for half of those exports. Curliss said in an email that it's hard to know the impact of the trade sparring at this moment.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article212285639.html

City of Charlotte to build low-income housing adjacent to light rail

But their definition of "'low-income" seems to be evolving:

Charlotte plans to use the 2.31 acres to build the low-income apartments on its own, or with a nonprofit company. But the new plan calls for all of the 80 apartments to be for people earning 80 percent of the area median income. That's about $43,000 for a family of four.

But the switch from very low-income housing to so-called workforce housing raises questions about whether the apartments are needed. Two consultants have told the city that Charlotte has a surplus of housing for people earning about 80 percent of area median income, and the city's biggest need is for apartments serving the city's poorest residents, who earn minimum wage or less.

Don't know all the ins and outs of this deal, but in the initial purchase (by the City) and sale back to the private sector, $4 million in taxpayer dollars was lost. And considering the City Council just had dozens of genuinely poor citizens drum up the courage to walk into the chamber and ask (desperately) for help with affordable housing, this decision seems to be about as tone-deaf as you could get. About the only citizen who appears to be "winning" in this deal-making is the developer himself:

Thursday News: Petty tyrants

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DALLAS WOODHOUSE BULLIES SEN. DON DAVIS INTO VOTING FOR BUDGET: The vote, the first of two the Senate will take on the budget, was 36-14. Sen. Don Davis, D-Pitt, was the lone Democrat to cross the aisle to vote for a plan crafted by Republicans in a process that allowed no amendments once leadership signed off on budget changes drafted almost entirely behind closed doors. Davis occupies what may be the only competitive Senate district held by a Democrat, making this a tougher vote for him than most. North Carolina Republican Party Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse called Davis out by name ahead of the vote, and Republicans were already plotting campaign commercials on social media during the debate, ticking off the state employee and teacher raises Democrats would be voting against.
https://www.wral.com/nc-senate-backs-budget-36-14/17592715/

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?

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