DCCC ready to step up for Dan McCready against Pittenger

This might get pretty dang interesting:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is naming 11 candidates Wednesday in the first round of its Red to Blue program, which highlights strong Democratic recruits. The list of 11 candidates, obtained first by Roll Call, includes recruits running in 10 competitive Republican-held seats and in an open seat Democrats are hoping to keep blue.

Being named to Red to Blue opens doors for candidates who can tout their inclusion on the list to donors. Candidates also benefit from guidance and staff resources from the DCCC, which has been in contact with all Democratic House candidates who have been willing to collaborate and communicate with the committee this year. The DCCC evaluates candidates’ fundraising, grass-roots engagement, local support, ties to the community and campaign infrastructure when deciding who makes the cut for the program.

Of all the Dem Congressional candidates who have been popping up over the last couple of months, Dan has emerged as (by far) the best fundraiser, approaching 3/4 of a million already. He's also a veteran and a renewable energy supplier, which would have me supporting him even if the DCCC wasn't involved. It's still a tough race to win, but if anybody could do it, it would be Dan.

A closer look at Duke Energy's corruption of UNC Charlotte

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Our public universities should never allow this to happen again:

Daniels described the board in a letter to Tom Reeder, then the assistant secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, in a letter on April 5, 2016, arguing against a risk classification system for Duke’s coal ash ponds. “The NAMAB is an independent group of experts chartered through Duke Energy and managed by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte). Board members provide advice to Duke Energy, but they are contracted with and report to UNC Charlotte,” Daniels wrote. That same letter concluded with a final reaffirmation of the board’s independence. “And we are independent,” Daniels wrote.

But emails obtained by WBTV show staff from Duke Energy scheduled meetings, coordinated the distribution of research materials and facilitated the day-to-day operation of the board; a direct contradiction of what Daniels wrote in his April 2016 letter to Reeder.

There's nothing fossil fuel companies like more than penetrating a reputable university and setting up an industry-funded "research" operation. When you can dictate the scope of the research, you can (very often) achieve the results you were hoping for. Or make changes to those results if you're not happy with them:

Monday News: Irony alert

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TRUMP STAYING OUT OF ALABAMA RACE DUE TO "DISCOMFORT" WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT ISSUE: Budget director Mick Mulvaney said while the White House had "serious concerns," it was hard to weigh in against Moore. Moore's name cannot be removed from the ballot before the special election even if he withdraws from the race, though a write-in campaign remains possible. Trump "doesn't know who to believe. I think a lot of folks don't," Mulvaney said. Short, pressed repeatedly about whether Trump still supported Moore, said: "I don't think you have seen him issue an endorsement. You have not seen him issue robocalls." Short added, "I think you can infer by the fact that he has not gone down to support Roy Moore his discomfort in doing so." Moore has forcefully denied the charges as "unsubstantiated" and "fake" even as more women have come forward to make complaints of sexual improprieties.
http://www.newsobserver.com/latest-news/article185575113.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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SPEAKER MOORE'S BOASTING ABOUT EDUCATION DOESN'T ADD UP: North Carolina schools today have more students than ever, but fewer assistant principals, nurses, social workers and guidance counselors. Money for teacher assistants has been sliced $62 million. There are 3,150 fewer teachers in our schools today than there would be if formulas in place during the 2011-12 school year were still followed. North Carolina is on target this year to drop from 42nd – not much of a position to start with – to 43rd nationally in per-pupil spending. That’s more than $3,000 per student below the national average. The reality is that Moore and his ideological soulmates in the General Assembly are more intent on cutting taxes for big corporations and the wealthy than providing the needed funding for properly paid teachers and quality public schools. When it comes to doing more for education in North Carolina, Moore’s boasting is no more than school-yard trash talk. All platitudes, with little to back it up.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-speaker-moore-s-boasting-about-education-doesn-t-add-up/17120294/

2018 elections: The only thing certain is uncertainty

And the NC GOP has certainly screwed up the electoral landscape:

This week, Democrat Anita Earls announced she would run for the seat on the state Supreme Court held by Republican Justice Barbara Jackson. But will there be an election in 2018 at all?

There's a different question surrounding legislative elections in 2018: which incumbents will be forced to share districts? New proposed district lines are out, drawn by an independent mapmaker, but that's not the final word.

Even though the court has spoken (clearly), and even though Percily only redrew a handful of districts, Republicans are still trying to bully their way in to scribble on the damn maps. They need to be called out by the press for their efforts to undermine democracy and the voters who rely on it, and they need to be spanked a lot harder by the courts for constantly muddying the waters. The people need to reclaim their time.

Saturday News: No refuge to be found

SEXUAL ASSAULT ON U.S. MILITARY BASES ON THE RISE: More than 6,150 non-domestic adult sexual assaults were reported to the U.S. military from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016, according to a new report by the Department of Defense. Nearly 400 of them were reported at North Carolina’s major military installations. There were six North Carolina bases included in the report — Camp Lejeune (169 reported cases), Fort Bragg (146), Marine Corps Air Station New River (32), Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (27), Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (13) and Pope Army Airfield (10). For context, Fort Bragg, the largest military base in the United States, has a population of about 140,000 soldiers and civilians – outnumbering all but a handful of North Carolina cities.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article18...

GOP meddling in teacher pay is like gasoline on a fire

Kicking turnover and teacher shortages into overdrive:

A pivotal legislative task force may be just beginning its dive into North Carolina’s school funding maze, but lawmakers’ hints that they may abolish the state’s teacher salary schedule or other state-set funding allocations is already spurring criticism from local district advocates. Talk of nixing a state-set pay scale emerged this year when lawmakers took on a revamp of school principal pay, and it’s resurfaced multiple times in the Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance Reform’s first meetings in November.

The state’s teacher pay struggles coincide with massive teacher shortages in many of the state’s 100 counties, as well as a substantial drop in students seeking teaching degrees in the UNC system. Mark Jewell, president of the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE), the top lobbying organization for North Carolina teachers, said lawmakers’ invitation to ditch the salary schedule would be “short-sighted,” adding it may “jeopardize teacher retention and recruiting.”

With every year that passes under Republican reign, it becomes more clear what they are actually trying to achieve: A massive failure of our pubic school system. Making it much easier to stimulate the growth of charters and private schools, pushing millions of taxpayer dollars into the pockets of businessmen instead of genuine educators. In a political environment where scams are around every corner, this one has the potential to top all the others by a wide margin.

Friday News: That's it, you're done

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DEQ REVOKES WASTEWATER DISCHARGE PERMITS FOR GENX MANUFACTURER: The state revoked permits Thursday for the factory accused of dumping pollutants into the main source of drinking water for southeastern North Carolina. State regulators in the Department of Environmental Quality had been criticized by several legislators earlier this year – both Democrats and Republicans – who accused them of not acting swiftly enough to address the release of a chemical called GenX. They took their harshest action yet on Thursday, stripping the factory’s permission to put any of its wastewater into the river from here on out. The Cape Fear is the source of drinking water for cities like Fayetteville, Wilmington and others in that corner of the state.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article185087373.html

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