Tuesday Twitter roundup

Making sure judges don't go too easy on those law-breaking children:

"Cold-hearted" just doesn't quite cover this:

Monday News: Christmas edition

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HOSPITAL-BOUND PATIENTS GIVEN TEDDY BEARS AS LITTLE FURRY COMPANIONS: Had she her druthers, Wynell Richardson would be spending Christmas at home with her husband of 63 years. But the eighth floor of Rex Hospital grew two shades brighter Sunday morning when a pair of children laid a teddy bear on her lap. A heart patient from Nashville, Richardson will pass her holiday in a telemetry bed, watching Raleigh’s holiday lights twinkle out her window. But when Chase and John Pittman brought her gift, she found new comfort to recuperate by. “I’m a whole lot better now,” said Richardson, 83. “They can keep me here until they get me right.” As the hours until Christmas ticked nearer, the volunteer Rex Guild brought presents to nearly every patient in the hospital, a tradition that dates to 1936. Before bears, the gift of choice for 20-plus years, they brought poinsettias.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article191520219.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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WHY CAN'T LEGISLATIVE LEADERS STOP LYING ABOUT THEIR UNFUNDED CLASS-SIZE MANDATE? A group of parents rallied at the North Carolina Legislative Building to demand the General Assembly’s leadership repeal, or responsibly fund, the unfunded class-size mandate due to go into effect in the upcoming 2018-19 school year. The rally drew a troubling response from Phil Berger, President Pro Tem of the state Senate: “Even though some local school leaders decided to use the extra state funding to benefit their own spending priorities instead of to reduce class sizes, those reductions have already been fully funded,” he said. About three weeks later, Speaker of the House Tim Moore was asked to weigh in on the class-size issue. He, too, gave a worrisome response: “We have funded the positions.” Why are these responses so troubling? They are wholly untrue, indicating that the two most powerful men in state government either fail to understand the biggest issue facing North Carolina’s public schools, or are purposefully lying about the issue.
http://www.wral.com/kris-nordstrom-why-can-t-general-assembly-leadership-stop-lying-about-their-unfu...

Republican attacks on NC's judiciary most extreme in the nation

Not just pruning back the branch, they're trying to break it off:

Republicans haven’t hidden their displeasure with what they call judicial activism. Last February, Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore lashed out at three state judges who sided with Democratic Governor Roy Cooper in a dispute over his appointment powers. “If these three men want to make laws, they should hang up their robes and run for a legislative seat,” the duo said in a statement.

“They have firebombed the courthouses across the state, creating chaos, and I think it’s all to gain partisan advantage,” says State Representative Marcia Morey, a Democrat who spent almost two decades as a judge. “They have not liked case decisions, and they need to get friendly judges in there.”

And once again, I can't help but see parallels between what the NC GOP is doing, and what authoritarian regimes in other countries do. They purge hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of experienced judges and replace them with unqualified political hacks, so there's nobody left to question their undemocratic behavior. Republicans have been whittling away at NC's judiciary since they took over in 2011, but it looks like 2018 may be when they try to deliver their merciless version of a coup de grâce:

Saturday News: Can you say "Death Tax"?

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DALE FOLWELL NOW WANTS TO COLLECT OVERPAYMENTS FROM ESTATES OF DEAD STATE EMPLOYEES: Families of some dead state employees may be getting a letter from the state Treasurer. The message: Pay up. Treasurer Dale Folwell’s office has already been recovering disability overpayments from former employees who are still alive. Now, according to agency emails, it has broadened the effort to the estates of former workers who have died. Last summer, the agency began notifying people who receive payments from a state program called the transitional disability income plan that since 2006 they had been getting too much money and the office was going to start taking it back. In winter and spring of this year, managers in Folwell’s office developed plans to get money back from 61 people who owed $871,892. Three others had died after January 2017 and owed $64,220.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article191241699.html

Roy Cooper has not given up fighting NC GOP tax cuts

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There are simply too many important things to do to just let this go:

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Wednesday that he’d keep trying to block pending state tax cuts for corporations and top wage-earners that Republicans approved last summer, a long-shot effort that could become a key 2018 election-year issue.

The GOP-controlled General Assembly voted to lower both corporate and individual income tax rates again in January 2019, halfway through the next fiscal year’s two-year budget that lawmakers will adjust when they return for their regular work session in May. Cooper has blasted other tax cuts approved by Republicans since 2013 because he said they benefited the rich and out-of-state corporations the most. The latest round of cuts was approved over Cooper’s veto of the two-year budget containing the rate reductions.

I realize it's a little early in his tenure to start fashioning a "Legacy" name for Roy. You know, like "Education Governor" or what have you. But after watching the numerous battles he's been dragged into by an immature and spiteful Legislature, I'ma go ahead and put this forward, so y'all can chew on it for a little while: "Resistance Governor." Would that we could give him an easier job after November 2018, but that's going to take a phenomenal effort.

Friday News: YOYO

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IN ABSENCE OF FEDERAL AID, TEXAS HURRICANE VICTIMS FORCED TO RELY HEAVILY ON CHARITIES: The groups helping to rebuild on the Texas Gulf Coast after Hurricane Harvey have collected close to $1 billion in donations, according to an Associated Press tally of major national and local organizations. Much of that money is already being put to work after Harvey, which ravaged cities in Southeast Texas in August with high winds before dumping record amounts of rain on the rest of the coast, including Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city. Of the $928 million raised by major groups involved in the recovery, the most money has been collected by the Red Cross, which said this month that it's raised $493 million for Harvey relief. The Greater Houston Community Foundation, which is operating the relief fund endorsed by Houston's top elected leaders, has raised more than $108 million. The Rebuild Texas Fund, administered by the family foundation of computer magnate Michael Dell, has raised more than $89 million. The evangelical group Samaritan's Purse has also raised $86 million. United Way has raised more than $54 million.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/nation-world/national/article191182979.html

Thursday News: Deplorables

"SPORTSWRITER" WHO POSTED RACIST AND SEXIST TWEETS DURING DUKE GAME HAD EXPIRED CREDENTIALS: Jeffery D. Ugino, an attorney representing College Insider, said in an email Wednesday that Stansberry was last paid by the publication in March 2014. “College Insider has had no contact with Ms. Stansberry in years,” Ugino wrote. “His tweets are deplorable and reprehensible. He should never be credentialed by any school again. College Insider stands with the Duke community in condemning Mr. Stansberry's actions. There is no place for this type of behavior at Duke, college basketball or any place else.” One tweet read, “The Asian chick Cameron Crazies behind me are openly swooning over Grayson Allen the way their moms swooned over Cheap Trick.” he other tweet was a photo of Chen and her friends accompanied by the text, “I haven’t been this scrunched up with Asian chicks since I came out of my Korean mother’s womb.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/sports/college/acc/duke/article190923764.html

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