Friday with Ferrel: Education isn't enough

We need to widen the discussion if we want better results:

“Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, and Wilmington are also expected to be the only three regions with more than half of the new jobs earning $30,000 or more in annual median wages,” say the Commerce analysts. “For remaining regions, most of the new jobs are expected to be at the lower end of the pay scale (less than $30,000).”

I'm jumping around a little bit here, but a good (long) look at economics in the overall child development picture is long overdue. That new jobs prediction above is pretty bleak, but it looks even worse when you consider a substantial number of those jobs will place families directly into the Medicaid coverage gap. In other words, despite all the cheerleading coming from Republicans and their consultants, things are getting much worse for those in the lower-middle. And that has a direct and profound impact on student performance:

Friday News: Just say "no" to coal

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GOVERNOR COOPER OPPOSES TRUMP EFFORT TO GUT CLEAN POWER PLAN: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says he's against the decision by President Donald Trump's administration to replace rules that sought to limit coal-fired plants in the nation's electrical grid and their emissions. Cooper's office says the Democratic governor has "deep concern" over the Environmental Protection Agency's action to eliminate the Clean Power Plan championed by then-President Barack Obama. The rule signed Wednesday gives states more leeway deciding whether to require plants to make limited efficiency upgrades. Cooper said in a news release the rollback could allow coal-fired plants to pollute more. The governor has been pressing for lower greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy industry expansion in the state. He signed an executive order last year that aims to reduce emissions statewide and make state government more energy-smart.
https://www.wral.com/cooper-has-deep-concern-over-clean-power-plan-replacement/18465129/

Culture of Racism: Beaufort County Sheriff's Department

Welcome back to the 1950's:

According to the lawsuit, Franks, who served in the U.S. Army for four years, began working for the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office in July 2015. Beaufort County is on the North Carolina coast, about 120 miles (193 kilometers) east of Raleigh. In November 2016, Franks said he was in a "deputy room" when Ragland pointed his loaded service weapon at his head for approximately 15 seconds and said "What's up (N-word)?"

Every time Ragland pointed his weapon at Franks, the lawsuit said, Ragland used the racial slur. Also, Ragland often referred to Franks as "monkey boy" and described his hair as "rhino lining" because of its color and texture.

And in case you're wondering if this is a he said/he said incident, another deputy got in trouble for reporting the harassment:

Thursday News: Unconstitutional

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LAWSUIT FILED OVER LEGISLATIVE PROTECTIONS OF HOG FARMS: After North Carolina’s pork industry began facing — and then losing — high-dollar lawsuits related to pollution and foul odors, state lawmakers passed new legal protections for the companies. But on Wednesday, several environmental and social-justice groups filed a lawsuit over those new legal changes, seeking to have them overturned. “These laws not only violate the state constitution, but also have disparate impacts on low-wealth and non-white North Carolinians, who disproportionally live where North Carolina has permitted industrial hog facilities to develop and operate,” the lawsuit says. Specifically, the lawsuit is asking the state courts to overturn the 2017 farm bill and part of the 2018 farm bill. They added new legal protections for the agricultural industry by restricting the ability of people who live near farms to sue over pollution, odor and other problems using “nuisance” laws.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article231726683.html

Coal Ash Wednesday: Cap-in-place is the industry's new Plan A

Just when Illinois thought it was making progress:

The approved version of the Illinois bill had broad support from environmental advocates, even though some of the provisions they sought had been softened. Introduced in January by state Sen. Scott Bennett, the original version would have required the full removal of coal ash from storage pits and would have limited the repurposing of coal ash for uses like creating cement and concrete. After resistance from Dynegy, a Texas-based electric utility and subsidiary of Vistra Energy, as well as from the Illinois Farm Bureau and local waste management association, the legislation was modified.

In the final version, coal plant owners have the option to cover the ash pits with soil and leave the waste where it is, known as "cap in place." Operators would first have to conduct an environmental review to show the method would be equally protective as removing the coal ash.

There is really only one legitimate result of that review: In the absence of a bottom liner, there is no "equal protection." The only potential locations where cap-in-place might be comparable to a lined pit are those with densely-packed clay. North Carolina has a few locations that might work, but (unless I'm mistaken) none of our current coal ash impoundments meet that criteria. And Illinois is even worse, thanks to glaciation that gave that state some of the best soil in the world. In other words, an across-the-board approval of cap-in-place with no consideration of geologic strata is just bad policy. And of course Trump's EPA is making this issue even worse:

Commission to study reparations for Slavery on the move in U.S. House

And it's a long time coming:

With the support of a string of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, the idea of reparations for African-Americans is gaining traction among Democrats on Capitol Hill, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi backs the establishment of a commission that would develop proposals and a “national apology” to repair the lingering effects of slavery.

Nearly 60 House Democrats, including Representative Jerrold Nadler, the powerful chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, support legislation to create the commission, which has been stalled in the House for 30 years.

I read the bill last night and noticed a couple of depressing aspects, which combined together severely undercuts the potential of this Commission. First, they're only budgeting $12 million for its entire operation, which would barely scratch the surface of what needs to be researched. And then there's the timeline. One year to make their report to Congress, and then the Commission will be dissolved shortly after. And considering the Commission will also be studying the years that followed the end of slavery (critically important), that budget low-ball is even worse:

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