Will Gov. Cooper give up his slush fund... for the children?

After finding out that Democratic Governor Roy Cooper had set up a pay-to-play slush fun--- er... I mean... a "voluntary contribution" from the energy companies building a natural gas pipeline --- Republican lawmakers passed a bill that moves the promised $57.8 million.

The Governor said the deal was separate from the permit approvals that the project won from his administration at the same time the completely separate and unrelated payment was agreed to. The Governor says the money will go to mitigation projects and renewable energy projects in the eight counties affected by the project.

But the state constitution says the legislature controls state funds. Not the governor.

At a Friday hearing, the Governor's new Legislative Director (and former lobbyist for one of the pipeline companies), Lee Lilley, told the lawmakers that the "voluntary contribution" had no connection to the project.

So, the lawmakers tucked an amendment into an existing bill - allocating the money to school districts in the eight counties affected by the project.

The exact amounts for the counties are: Robeson, $7,752,278: Cumberland, $15,547,610; Halifax $4,030,076; Johnston, $7,666,167; Nash, $3,590,678; Northampton, $2,797,992; and Sampson, $4,110,288.

The news was well received Friday by the chair of the Public Schools of Robeson County Board of Education.

“God, that would be wonderful,” Peggy Wilkins Chavis said. “I hope and pray that goes through because $7.7 million would do a lot for us.”

The local system always struggles for money, and is 99th out of 100 counties for per-pupil spending on a local level.

By the way, Peggy Wilkins Chavis is a Democrat.

What will Governor Cooper do?

Does he veto the bill - that includes money for reduced class size in K-3 and shrinking the waiting lists for pre-K?

Does he sign it?

Does he let it become law without signing it?



Equestrian Center at center of Greene scandal?

The local paper gets criticized a lot for all sorts of things, like biased reporting, ignoring stories, spelling and grammatical errors.

Which is why it's important to praise the publication when it's doing good work. And it is.

Reporter Jennifer Bowman has been doing a great job covering the Wanda Greene scandal, and her latest article details some of the ways that the former County Manager used taxpayer funding to promote an equestrian center in Polk County.

It was an effort that County Commissioner Ellen Frost supported and participated in.

The latest from the Asheville Citizen-Times:

Frost in November said she introduced Greene to equestrian officials. But "then Wanda took it to a level I never dreamed would be possible," Frost said at the time.

She denounced the payments, saying she was surprised by the amount and that it was "absolutely not" a good use of taxpayer money.

But records show that Frost received invoices related to the sponsorships and was regularly sent emails from the equestrian center regarding promotion details and event invites. 

Frost continues to stands by the center's economic benefit for Buncombe, despite being located in Polk County. She has shown horses at the facility, which she said is not uncommon among horse owners in Western North Carolina.

The equestrian center, located about an hour from South Asheville, is a more than $200 million investment and will host an event later this year that organizers say is expected to bring in 500,000 attendees. That's twice the size of Buncombe's population.

"I can look myself in the mirror and know that I didn't do anything wrong," Frost said Thursday. "My interest was only for economic development for Western North Carolina."

Frost has said she and Greene were close friends at one time. There ultimately was a breakdown in their friendship prior to Greene's retirement; Frost said she began questioning Greene's communications with commissioners and other decisions.

She said Friday she refuses "to accept guilt by association" and said Greene should have informed all commissioners of the expenses.

According to this report, Commissioner Frost had first-hand knowledge of the ways Manager Greene was "partnering" with the Equestrian Center and related events. 

She was the one who introduced Greene to Center officials.

Frost received the invoices of Greene's activities.

Frost joined Greene on related trips.

To be clear - this isn't "guilt by association."

Frost has announced she will not seek re-election, but that it has nothing to do with this scandal.



We LOVE dictatorial regimes now!

The media slobberfest over the Olympic visit by the sister of North Korea's brutal dictator has been enlightening and revolting.

From Ethan Epstein at Weekly Standard:

In the course of what CNN informed its viewers and readers was a gold-medal-winning diplomatic performance, Kim Yo-jong, the U.S.-sanctioned sister of Kim Jong-un, signed a guest book belonging to South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in. “I hope Pyongyang and Seoul get closer in our people's hearts and move forward the future of prosperous unification,” she wrote. It was a “warm message,” CNN said.

Well, that’s one way to look at a threat to destroy a country.

The key word in Kim’s missive was “unification.” It is the official policy of both Pyongyang and Seoul to prepare for unification, of course; both capitals house ministries devoted to the task. Seoul takes a peaceful view of this process, one based on relationship-building and the eventual absorption of North Korea into South Korea’s democratic, capitalist system. North Korea’s is rather more bellicose: It calls unification “final victory”—a belated end to the Korean War with Pyongyang as the victor.

Reuters says the North Korean propaganda director did an awesome job!

ABC News said: "Kim Yo-jong, North Korean delegation arrive to Olympics with much fanfare."

The Daily Telegraph offered the helpful piece: "what we know about the North Korean 'princess'

CNN said she was "winning the Olympics."

The NY Times says she diplomatically "outflanked" US Vice President simply by smiling.

Again, I feel it important to note - she is the propaganda director for the murderous concentration camp of a nation.

This is why news organizations promoting themselves as defenders against the tyrant-in-waiting President Donald Trump are unconvincing in their efforts.



Wait, that's WHO?

Former President Barack Obama's portrait has been revealed... along with one of an unidentified woman.

Agreed.