Civitas Review

DPS Gives Clarification on Merger

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Nov
07

Recently the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Justice and Public safety met to discuss the Merger of Juvenile Justice and Adult Correction Administration.

Although there has been some scrutiny of the merger, the Department of Public Safety and DPS Secretary Frank Perry have consistently said, “We are streamlining and combining upper level functions, while continuing to provide the same level of support, and in some areas enhanced support, to our field operations…There will be no mixing of juveniles and adults under supervisions, in facilities or in community programs anywhere.”

One example of why the merger is a good thing is buying in bulk of supplies.  It will be much cheaper to buy food and supplies in bulk rather than one department at a time.  Another example will be the sharing of resources.

During the meeting there were several handouts distributed including one for Hierarchy of Adult and Juvenile DPS and another of Talking Points for DPS Merger. It is believed that the consolidation will make both agencies stronger and help them be better equipped to manage a comprehensive correctional system.

Why Obamacare Will Keep Failing

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Nov
06

As my colleague Brian Balfour has pointed out, as of the most recent report, the total Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment for North Carolina is: one.

And that's putting it charitably: That one apparently hasn't forked over any money yet, so it's a bit of a stretch to count him/her as enrolled.

Now, the website's failures display the Obama administration's arrogance and incompetence. However, the problems are far more profound than mere tech glitches.

I've heard it said that the site can be fixed because it isn't much different from, say, Amazon. The truth is that the ACA is the opposite of Amazon, or any other successful website, or any kind of business.

When you want to order a book online from a free-market retailer online, you go the site. Often you'll have a reasonable choice of options — e.g., new or used, hard cover or paperback. It may be of a rare book that most people wouldn't care for but you would really like. You hit a button, make a payment. The warehouse sends out the book, and it gets to your doorstep. If there are problems, most online retailers work to make sure you are satisfied.

Now imagine that online bookselling worked like the ACA.

First, the government would charge your bank account to pay for the number of books the government thinks you should read every year. To your surprise, the bill probably would be for more than you have ever paid for books in any year.

You would have a heck of a time signing on to the site. If you did get on to the site, more surprises would await. A panel of professors and literary critics would have decided which books you should read, and you could only order those. Instead of a vast range of choices, you would only be able to select from a very short list of titles. If you were to order, your order would go to a huge warehouse in Washington, D.C., where civil service employees would handle it. You'd like to need lots of patience.

Meanwhile, the publishing company may decided not to sell a title you wanted. Say the book cost $10 to print; the government may have ordered the company to sell it at $8 — meaning that providing products at those prices will drive the company bankrupt. So it wouldn't sell that title anymore.

And if you complained, government officials with access to the media would blast you as selfish and too stupid to understand which books were best for you.

The administration may throw enough money at the ACA website problem to make the problems harder to see, and may produce enough political spin to hide the problems from time to time, but eventually they will emerge.

The problem isn't the technology. The basic problem would be the same if you were signing up by mail, or over the phone, or by carrier pigeons or the Pony Express.

Successful businesses provide things you want; the ACA tells you what you must take. In a matter as important and complex and medicine, that spells certain failure.

What could succeed would be health insurance that left people in charge. Recently the Heritage Foundation put out a look at what patient-centered reform might look like.

This is not to endorse that plan, but to point out that is one way conservatives might move forward.

What Teacher Walk-In Was Really About

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Nov
05

By now many are aware of the teacher “walk-ins” Monday, but few people know the real concerns on teachers’ minds: Common Core Standards.

A week ago, my attention was drawn to this flyer, which went home with students who attend Holly Ridge Elementary School. I decided to attend and observe the event.

flyer

My assumption was that the walk-in would involve teachers and some parents getting together at this North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE)-backed event to discuss the raises teachers have not received and how recent budget cuts are hurting teachers and schools. To my surprise, the attendees took a much different approach.

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It’s not because union and liberal groups weren’t involved. This was still very much an NCAE and Organize2020.com backed event. President of Wake NCAE Larry Nilles was front and center through much of the walk-in. In pictures below, he is thanking those in attendance and giving special recognition to certain individuals.

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The surprising part came when the discussions started. We had three different questions given to the group and were asked to write our questions and comments on sticky notes and then stick them on each question.

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Teachers and parents jumped in to air their frustrations. Suggested by the picture below, there were more notes expressing concerns than there were for the other two:

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Few of the concerns were about recent budget cuts, and while there were concerns raised about teacher salaries and lack of raises, the most mentioned issue had nothing to do with money. The biggest concern was about testing and the Common Core Standards. Teachers are beyond frustrated with these standards and they are very worried about the toll Common Core is taking on students. Some of the concerns raised in regards to Common Core include:

  • Children not being developmentally ready.
  • Too much testing under Common Core.
  • Having to keep up with too much data.
  • No transitional year; “Building the plane as its flying.”

These are some of the same issues opponents of Common Core have been raising for months. Hearing this from teachers is eye-opening. How can we expect the students to gain anything from these “superior standards” if the teachers aren’t even on board?

This event was completely different than what I was expecting. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how opposed teachers are to these standards. If teachers are truly upset with Common Core then they need to come together, take control and make that clear.

Sharpsburg Mayoral Race Comes Down to Definition of Domicile

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Nov
05

The town of Sharpsburg Mayor’s Race has not officially been decided yet but as of Friday, Nov. 1 the Nash County Board of Elections voted unanimously Friday to dismiss an election protest filed by incumbent, Robert Williams Jr.

Williams was appointed mayor of the town in July 2013 and had already requested a recount of the election because the race was so close. The election was held on Oct. 8 and Randy Weaver, the challenger, won with a vote of 202-198. The recount yielded the same results.

Friday morning all involved parties met at the Nash County Agricultural Center Auditorium which houses the Nash County Board of Elections. Williams presented his case in which he said that one individual was not eligible to vote in the election because he did not live at the address where he was registered to vote.  The voter had lived in a trailer at the address but it had been repossessed right before the election.  The voter admitted that he had fallen on hard times but that he still had valuables on the property, he was up to date on lot rent, his driver’s license showed that this was his residence, he slept in a tent on the property some nights and has every intention to put a trailer on the property when he saves up enough money.

The voter in question presented several pieces of evidence to prove that he still lived at the residence in question.  After the Board heard the testimony from the voter in question and others who were called to support him, they dismissed Williams' protest unanimously and said the written order would be available in the days to follow.  The board referred to several similar cases in coming to their decision to dismiss this case.  A domicile is considered a person’s residence.  One important thing to note is  to legally change a domicile, there must be an actual abandonment of the first domicile with the intent not to return to it, and the acquisition of a new domicile by actual residence at another place with the intent to make that new place a permanent home. Owens v. Chaplin 228 NC 705, 47 SE2d 12 (1948). Williams did say, after the Board gave their decision, that he would be filing for an appeal at the State Board of Elections (SBOE).  The Election cannot be officially declared until that appeal has been decided on by the SBOE.  There will follow up to this blog when they have given their ruling on the matter.

There are a few things to keep in mind.  We have no way of knowing who the voter in question voted for and even if the contested vote was thrown out Weaver still would have won the election.

News Report: Only 1 Person in NC Has Signed up Through the Exchange

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Nov
05

WNCN reports that Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina has seen only 1 person in NC sign up for insurance through the healthcare exchange website, and that person hasn't even paid yet. The report also documents other problems BCBSNC has been struggling with.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has more than 3.7 million customers in our state, but internal emails obtained by WNCN show that as of last Friday, only one person had enrolled for health insurance through the Exchange and that person hasn't paid.

Without payment, enrollment means nothing because the customer is still not officially in the system.

Part of that payment issue may come from the government's technical problems. Blue Cross Blue Shield emails indicate the "payment re-direct option" on the government servers isn't working.

In fact, the government's whole system is so plagued that emails say BCBS made a "business decision to refrain from uploading data" to prevent false data from entering its system.

Meanwhile, people are not embracing BCBS's marketplace. According to those emails, less than 1,000 people even filled out applications as of Oct. 25.

In related news, yesterday President Obama blatantly lied when he comically tried to deny repeatedly lying to citizens over the last few years with the claim "if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep it, period."

It should come as no surprise that an unpopular piece of legislation was sold to the public with lies. It should come as no further surprise that the inept federal government has completely bungled the rollout. So who will be surprised when all of the negative impacts of Obamacare predicted by critics (i.e. higher costs, fewer choices, less access, gov't rationing) come to full fruition over the next few years?