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Latest on Duke

Following a month or two of bad press and presumably better ideas in the press, representatives from Duke Energy addressed a crowd to share why they needed to build a new plant, why they needed to build now, why they can’t build in certain places, why they can’t experiment with fledgling technology, and why they think what they’re doing is safe. A good summary of the Q&A may be found here. Opponents persist in believing if Duke doesn’t keep up with demand, the peeps will have to cut back, and thus the planet may be saved. As they say, “I didn’t claw my way to the top of the food chain to live in a cold, dark cave.

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You to Know He Knows You’re Here

US Senator Thom Tillis will be setting up a western office. He has chosen to put it in the Historic Hendersonville Courthouse because his fellow senator, Richard Burr, has one in Asheville. The office will be staffed two days a week. Said Tillis:

It’s important for them to know that I know that there’s a part of North Carolina that’s west of I-77.

Cliquez ici to see a cool pic of Tillis’ bodyguard.

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Plea for a Flip

Jackson County school administrators want more localized control in setting their calendars.

“Raleigh doesn’t give a flip about our safety when they determine our calendar for us and limit me to starting this late,” Superintendent Mike Murray said during an Aug. 25 school board meeting. “We are held under by a group of people who do not understand mountains. And they do not understand that if I’m forced to place kids on dangerous roads it could cost someone their life.”

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Embrace Illegality

Parents were angry and demanded sanctions. Erwin High School teacher Jesse Reeck cried. She was under fire for having her students post signs with phrases like “Illegals Go Home” and “America is for Americans” in the hall outside the classroom. Reeck said she was terribly sorry for letting the class assignment leak out of the safe confines of the classroom. From the drift of her response, the signs were intended to reflect political campaign rhetoric, and were in no way an exploration of value systems. In short, people who come to America illegally now have the power to silence free speech of citizens. Reeck, herself, is biracial and high on diversity.

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Anything but Work

At the upcoming 16th annual Asheville Metro Economy Outlook, the Economic Development Coalition for Asheville/Buncombe County will reveal a new job creation strategy. Vision 2020 is to be unveiled with an introduction by keynote speaker Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institute. Katz is pictured in the Mountain Xpress standing in front of all the industry he created sitting around tables talking in Washington, DC (nod, nod, wink, wink).

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Reporteth the Hendersonville Lightning:

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows wrote a personal check for $400 to reimburse the government for what he said were improper mileage reimbursement payments to his former chief of staff, the news site Politico reported.

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No Penalties for Drunk & Disorderly Conduct?

In an article that reads like a short story, we learn squatters hang out under a blue tarp in Chestnut Park. They are known for their outrageous parties. The police responded to calls about them 165 times in the last 18 months. They claim to be guests of Granny Warren.

The Town of Waynesville wants to evict them for trespassing, but that required a title search. One remaining heir was discovered, and representatives from the town hope to negotiate a sale before she dies so they can turn the squatters’ palace into a pocket park.

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Smelling Pigs – For Children

News of the absurdity has reached as far as Chicago:

Just in time for football season, the North Carolina Education Lottery is kicking off a new game with a new scratch-off ticket that should smell like the smoky BBQ from your weekend tailgate.

“North Carolinians are wild about BBQ so we think this is going to be a great ticket,” said Alice Garland, NC Education Lottery’s Executive Director on Tuesday outside Clyde Cooper’s BBQ in downtown Raleigh.

To promote the new BBQ Bucks scratch-off game, lottery officials gave away free tickets outside BBQ restaurants in Raleigh and Charlotte.

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Would This Have Changed Anything?

A week after Asheville City Council clamped down on Airbnb’s, news is in that “online travel companies” generated $1.4 million in local sales taxes. At the council meeting, Jan Davis did mention that the revenue report would be forthcoming.

Summarizeth well the local daily:

The City Council voted Aug. 25 to increase fines for illegal short-term rentals to $500. A majority of council members said the practice threatened to ‘hollow out’ neighborhoods as out-of-town land owners turned homes into de facto hotels. Supporters of short-term rentals said it is one way for locals to survive in an area with low-paying jobs but a thriving tourism industry.

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Every Soul Has Its Price

I like reports by Michael Tanner because he doesn’t contradict my “It’s not what you get, it’s what you give” philosophy. In his most recent policy analysis, coauthored by Charles Hughes, he argues welfare in many European countries serves as an incentive to withdraw from economic activity, and the United States really isn’t in a position to criticize. Here are the bullet points from the intro:

  • Welfare benefits in nine EU countries exceeded €15,000 ($18,200) per year. In six countries, benefits exceeded €20,000 ($24,300). Denmark offers the most generous benefit package, valued at €31,709 ($38,558).
  • In nine countries, welfare benefits exceeded the minimum wage in that country.
  • Benefits in 11 countries exceeded half of the net income for someone earning the average wage in that country, and in 6 countries it exceeded 60 percent of the net average wage income.
  • In Austria, Croatia, and Denmark, the effective marginal tax rate for someone leaving welfare for work was nearly 100 percent, meaning that a person would gain virtually no additional income from working. In another 16 countries, individuals would face an effective marginal tax rate in excess of 50 percent.
  • Benefits in the United States fit comfortably into the mainstream of welfare states. Excluding Medicaid, the United States would rank 10th among the EU nations analyzed, more generous than France and slightly less generous than Sweden. Thirty-five states offer a package more generous than the mean benefit package offered in the European countries analyzed.
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