Daily Journal

8.01.14
Fall Weather Hard to Forecast

If Republicans assume they are riding an inevitable wave to electoral triumph in 2014, they are fooling themselves.

CJ Ticker

  • House extends film tax credit (2nd reading 7/31), but Senate could adjourn before final vote.
  • JLF report recommends block grants, tax credits as N.C. reforms Medicaid.
  • A legislative "typo" led to the latest Obamacare legal dispute? Uh, no.
  • Campaign trail update includes news of a 7/30 Clay Aiken fundraiser.
  • Gov. Pat McCrory signs bill repealing Common Core State Standards and other legislation.
  • In PPP head-to-head: Hagan 42, Tillis 39. Hagan 40% fav, 50% unfav. Tillis, 24%-47%. Obama 41% fav, 53% unfav.
  • New PPP Senate survey: Hagan 41%, Tillis 34%, Haugh 8%, ??? 16%
  • U.S. Court of Appeals rules states w/o Obamacare exchanges (including NC) can't offer subsidies. JLF report here.

Other Opinions

7.31.14
Power plant sale

The Rocky Mount Telegram says that that residents ought to be breathing a collective sigh of relief after news broke of a deal between Duke Energy and the N.C. Eastern Municipal Power Agency.


7.31.14
NC elections

The Charlotte Observer says that the recent Republican U.S. Senate primary in Mississippi should spur creative thinking about North Carolina’s election system.


7.31.14
Cooper’s role

It appears state Republican leaders were right. Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper has stepped away from his defense of this state’s gay marriage ban says the Fayetteville Observer.


7.30.14
Truth and justice

The Greensboro News & Record says that the legal profession and judicial candidates must speak out against distorted attack ads in upcoming court races.


7.30.14
Erskine Bowles

Rob Christensen writes that what North Carolina needed during the past 18 months was Erskine Bowles sitting in the governor’s chair.


6.27.14
Hillary’s Hard Choices an Autobiography for Dummies
It took a village to produce Hillary Clinton's memoir, and the text betrays extensive vetting. The accounts are perfectly predictable.

Media Mangle

9.06.12
How to downplay an embarrassing story

The N&O buries the one moment of real drama at the Democratic National Convention.


3.21.12
Death of a narrative

The world's media found the neo-Nazi meme in stories about the school shooting in France just too enticing.


1.16.12
Anatomy of a Newspaper Hit Piece

In a Sunday piece, The Charlotte Observer employs all the steps used by the mainstream media to mislead readers.

Lead Story

Audit Rips DHHS Delays on NCTracks Medicaid Program

August 01, 2014, By Barry Smith

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH – State Auditor Beth Wood has chided the Department of Health and Human Services for dragging its feet in gaining federal certification for its NCTracks Medicaid information system, an omission that could cost the state $9.6 million a year. The department says it’s aiming for federal certification by October. But Wood says the department doesn’t have a plan to achieve that goal.

07.31.14 - VIDEO: Top NCGA School Choice Advocate Describes Benefits

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — Increased school choice will lead to benefits for North Carolina’s public and private education options, according to one of the N.C. General Assembly’s top advocates for choice. Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, R-Wake, speaker pro tem of the N.C. House of Representatives, discussed the history of the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program and other school choice options Thursday during a Friedman Legacy Day lecture at the John Locke Foundation.

07.31.14 - Elections Board Looking At Wray Spending

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — Responding to a State Board of Elections investigation looking into the possible use of campaign funds for personal benefit, state Rep. Michael Wray, D-Northampton, has submitted a document to the board that is at odds with public statements he has made about his campaign fund spending. Wray paid for these expenses from his campaign account.

Editorial Cartoon

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Headlines

8.01.14 - American to discontinue flight from Charlotte to Sao Paulo

CHARLOTTE — American Airlines plans to end its daily flight from Charlotte to São Paulo, Brazil, this fall, the airline said Thursday, a cut that will leave the airport without nonstop service to South America. The São Paulo flight, which operates under the US Airways banner, will end Oct. 1. The airline said Charlotte travelers will still be able to get to Brazil via Miami, American’s primary hub for Latin American flights.


Related Transportation Articles:
Fayetteville Outer Loop set to open another link of roadway
JLF: Transportation priorities for North Carolina
More RDU travelers take the TSA Pre-Check fast lane
Ports Authority officials focus on rail service
Agreement may bring rail service back to Columbus County
Many aging N.C. bridges need repairs costing billions

8.01.14 - Possibility of historic tax credits still alive in Senate bill

WINSTON-SALEM — North Carolina’s tax credits for historic preservation projects could get its own new breathe of life after appearing destined for the dust bin. On Tuesday, legislative leaders did not include an extension of the tax credit in the final version of the state budget for 2014-15. That means the tax credits, which have played a pivotal role in reviving historic buildings in Winston-Salem and statewide, would expire at the end of the year.


Related NC Budget and Tax Articles:
JLF: Trends in North Carolina state spending
Lawmakers in last-minute moves over NC budget
Teachers skeptical of state budget deal
$21.3 billion N.C. budget deal has 7% teacher pay hike
NC GOP legislative leaders roll out compromise budget
Historic preservation tax credit not included in budget

8.01.14 - Audit: NCTracks still not working right, costing state money

WINSTON-SALEM — A updated state audit on the performance of North Carolina’s controversial Medicaid claim-processing system says its current inefficiencies are costing the state at least $9.6 million in annual federal funding. The State Auditor’s report, issued Thursday, represents the latest in a long line of financial, information technology and regulatory mishaps involving NCTracks as overseen by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.


Related Health Care Policy Articles:
N.C. House rejects Senate’s Medicaid reform bill
JLF: Why Community Care of North Carolina is failing patients and taxpayers
Medicaid reform discussion could move to special session
Jobs at risk as Mission eyes deep budget cuts
NC mayor walks to DC to protest hospital closure
Rural hospital closures strand many in need

8.01.14 - Fayetteville Outer Loop set to open another link of roadway

FAYETTEVILLE — Nine years after the last one opened, a new stretch of Fayetteville’s Outer Loop should be ready for traffic Monday. That is when drivers are expected to begin using the 1.7-mile section between Bragg Boulevard and Murchison Road. The new connection foreshadows the eventual closing of Bragg Boulevard through Fort Bragg, a longtime Army security goal.


Related Transportation Articles:
American to discontinue flight from Charlotte to Sao Paulo
JLF: Transportation priorities for North Carolina
More RDU travelers take the TSA Pre-Check fast lane
Ports Authority officials focus on rail service
Agreement may bring rail service back to Columbus County
Many aging N.C. bridges need repairs costing billions

8.01.14 - UNC board moves to limit tuition dollars for financial aid

CHAPEL HILL — A new four-year tuition guideline for the UNC system would cap tuition increases at 5 percent annually and would substantially limit tuition-funded financial aid for needy students at some campuses. The plan would cap at 15 percent the amount of tuition revenue diverted to financial aid for lower-income students.


Related Higher Education Articles:
Panel releases campus security recommendations
UNC BOG finance committee supports need-based aid cap
NC system looks to improve campus security
Rising UNC system leader killed in wreck
UNC to get 2nd generation of Spangler oversight
UNC-CH announces program to help athletes finish degrees

8.01.14 - NC system looks to improve campus security

CHAPEL HILL — A UNC system report on Thursday recommended 36 steps to respond to sexual violence, beef up law enforcement preparedness, and combat alcohol and drug abuse on the state’s public campuses. The report was compiled after a year of study and discussion by a large task force of university police chiefs, lawyers, student counselors, medical professionals and others who routinely deal with crime, sexual assault and substance abuse.


Related Higher Education Articles:
Panel releases campus security recommendations
UNC BOG finance committee supports need-based aid cap
UNC board moves to limit tuition dollars for financial aid
Rising UNC system leader killed in wreck
UNC to get 2nd generation of Spangler oversight
UNC-CH announces program to help athletes finish degrees

8.01.14 - House OKs amendment giving film incentives a lifeline

WILMINGTON — The debate was passionate, heated and – at times – pointed. But the end result of the vote in the N.C. House on Thursday afternoon was that the state’s film incentive program still has life after the chamber adopted an amendment by state Rep. Ted Davis Jr., R-New Hanover, to extend the existing program until January 2016.


Related Economic Incentives Articles:
Hamilton makes political point on incentives in meeting
N.C. weighs offering upfront money for promised jobs
House rejects ‘closing fund’
Budget deal includes $10 million for film incentives
NC senators push for new incentives
JLF: N.C. film incentives are good old-fashioned corporate welfare
Commerce ‘Sustainability’ Official Still On Job

8.01.14 - Science panel works to update sea-level rise report

WILMINGTON — A state-appointed science panel began work last week on an update to a controversial sea-level rise report, members of the panel said Thursday at a meeting of the Coastal Resources Commission. The CRC, which oversees development in the state’s 20 coastal counties, is meeting this week in Beaufort.


Related Coastal Issues Articles:
CRC studies effect of beach nourishment on inlets
JLF: Catch shares could help fight problem of declining N.C. fish stocks
Divers stop oil leaking from sunken World War II ship
Aquarium workers collect invasive lionfish
Researchers study rip currents at Carolina Beach
Rip current researcher hopes to provide answers

8.01.14 - CRC studies effect of beach nourishment on inlets

WILMINGTON — Coastal regulators may consider altering the existing windows for dredging and nourishment projects as part of a comprehensive management plan for the state’s 12 developed inlets, according to an informational presentation given Thursday to the Coastal Resources Commission. The CRC, which oversees development in the state’s 20 coastal counties, met this week in Beaufort.


Related Coastal Issues Articles:
Science panel works to update sea-level rise report
JLF: Catch shares could help fight problem of declining N.C. fish stocks
Divers stop oil leaking from sunken World War II ship
Aquarium workers collect invasive lionfish
Researchers study rip currents at Carolina Beach
Rip current researcher hopes to provide answers

8.01.14 - Officials ask for anglers’ help in deterring vulture vandalism

RALEIGH — It sounds like a fish tale. An angler comes in after a day on Tuckertown Lake, southwest of Asheboro, ties his boat to the dock and walks to the parking lot to retrieve his truck and trailer. As he reaches for his keys, he notices the vehicle has been attacked by vandals. The paint is scratched, the side trim pulled off, the rubber windshield gasket plucked out and torn to bits.


Related Environment Articles:
Proposal to shift deer farming oversight finds opposition
Depleted NC butterfly population attributed to cold March
PETA claims new Possum Drop law illegal
Native brook trout make a mountain comeback
CTS given 30 days to submit cleanup plans
Charlotte residents howl about coyotes
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