-May 20, 2013-
3:00 -- The head of the IRS's labor union met with President Obama the day before the IRS launched its targeted program of Tea Party groups. Surely, it's just a coincidence.
4:00 -- Is Obama a flake? Here's an analysis that supports the conclusion that he is.
5:00 -- Shariah law in North Carolina - is it needed or are Republican lawmakers just scaremongering?
-May 21, 2013-
3:00 -- The Asheville TEA Party protests outisde the local IRS offices. Plus, french fries & curly fries.
4:00 -- French fries, curly fries, drive-ins, and radio frequency waves. Plus, if you had to pick a species of infestation, what would it be?
5:00 -- Pete's battles flies in his apartment. Plus, trivia!
-May 22, 2013-
3:00 -- Highlights of today's congressional hearing on the IRS scandal.
4:00 -- Belgian racing pigeons and pot-fed pigs who get the munchies.
5:00 -- The Charlotte Bobcats will change their name back to the Hornets. Because that'll make them be less sucky?
-May 23, 2013-
3:00 -- We start off with trivia! Then, a city in New Hampshire seeks a court order to prevent citizens from getting too close to parking meter enforcement, after the citizens launched a campaign to feed meters for strangers. Plus, a stolen poptart in Charlotte leads to an arrest, and the UN urges us all to eat insects to fight obesity.
4:00 -- Kevin King, Managing Editor of the Asheville and Hendersonville Tribunes, joins us to talk about the latest issue on news stands today. Also, the 38 signs you're from North Carolina.
5:00 -- Pete convinces Producer Tank to eat a fried grasshopper for $10.
-May 24, 2013-
3:00 -- Two Muslim terrorists kill a British soldier while people stand around and watch. Does it say something about the culture? Plus, Dr. Mark DeWeaver joins us to talk about whether the Chinese economy is collapsing.
4:00 -- The political spat between NC Rep. Robert Brawley and Speaker of the House Thom Tillis.
5:00 -- Free burgers for the guy who rescued three Cleveland women held captive for more than a decade. Plus, the Buncombe County budget recommendation from Manager Wanda Green.
I came across this video today, where two dudes undergo a simulation of the pain women experience during childbirth.
I think there is one important factor that is not included in the simulation: the baby. After these guys go through the experiment there is literally no reward. I think that makes a difference in a person's ability to withstand pain.
That being said... here we go. Can the men hack it?
Since WLOS began its series this week on school safety issues in Buncombe County Schools, a number of questions have come up about how the schools system permits work projects.
Monday, WLOS reporter Mike Mason had a story about how the BCS system was not obtaining required permits for routine work.
The Director of Permits and Inspections for Buncombe County, Matt Stone, said his initial review of documents brought to him by WLOS "shows permits were required for work done by school electricians but those permits were not pulled with his office."
Stone said he'll have to investigate them all.
(See the WLOS report below)
In a statement released by BCS on its website, officials note:
With so much work to be done at 42 schools across our 660-square mile county, and licensed professionals on staff, the school system has a “blanket permit” allowed by the Buncombe County Inspections Department, designed to cover minor repair work, maintenance work, and part replacement, and is only applicable to BCS Maintenance Department personnel. The blanket permit does not cover major projects, which are most often handled by an outside contractor—in those cases, the contractor is responsible for obtaining any necessary permits.
I can understand why such a "blanket permit" process would be efficient for the district. It would take a lot of time to pull every permit properly and it would cost a lot of money. I'm told the blanket permit applies to jobs under $5,000.
But School Board Member Lisa Baldwin called in to the show Tuesday and said a whistleblower told her that the blanket permit was only put in place by the County in March 2012 - after a complaint was made about the lack of permitting. That it was done to avoid any further investigation into the matter.
This all raises some troubling questions.
If the County issued the blanket permit to BCS, why would Stone not mention this when asked about the lack of permits? Why not offer that explanation to WLOS? Instead, Stone said he'd be opening investigations.
And if he did, in fact, mention this blanket permit, why would it not be included in the WLOS story?
Also, what other organizations have a blanket permit? Is it just the school district, or does the City of Asheville enjoy a similar exemption? Any other governments? Do any private businesses have this same benefit?
Is there any oversight to ensure the blanket permit is not being abused? For example, large projects could be divided into smaller parts in order to keep the total work under the $5,000 limit.
Part 3 is tonight at 6:00 pm.
Here is Part 1
Part 2 can be found here.
Buncombe County is going to spend about $18.4 million to build a puppy and kitten slaughtering facility.
It will also manufacture and sell cigarettes and crack cocaine. A separate facility on site will import non-craft beer from a major corporate brewery.
I believe it’s called Animal Slaughtering & Sin Corp. (I’m not sure what the stock ticker symbol is for that.)
If this sounds unbelievable, I dare you to prove me wrong before tonight’s big public hearing on the super-secret Project X deal.
Make no mistake, County Commissioners will be opening a public hearing tonight on an $18.4 million tax break. We just don’t know what company is going to benefit from the County taxpayers’ forced largesse. So, my guess of an animal-slaughtering, vice-producing facility is as good as anyone’s.
I think the facility is also going to sell children into slavery, too. Look at this corporate photo!
But this deal is more than just an accounting scheme. This one is groundbreaking because it will literally be groundbreaking.
Under terms of the proposal, Buncombe County will buy a facility, fix it up, and then trade it with A.S.S. Corp. for the facility (called Facility “A”) out of which the business is operating. Where did A.S.S. Corp. get Facility “A”?
That’s right, Buncombe County taxpayers get to build not one, but TWO facilities for this Project X, which would lease one of the facilities and (hopefully) pay the County back for the upfront investment.
I’ve never seen a deal like this. We’re turned a new page in business incentive deals – where governments are now quite literally in the business of building the businesses.
It makes me wonder if there is some specific reason why this is all necessary. Is there an issue with the proposed site – like contamination – for which the company doesn’t want to be held liable?
The proposal also calls for the issuance of Limited Obligation Bonds – also known as Revenue Bonds. These typically pay higher interest rates and are repaid through dedicated revenue streams. The proposal does not indicate what that revenue stream is. Also, in a handy accounting trick, Revenue Bonds allow governments to circumvent debt limits they may be statutorily bound to. I guess the deal is so great, it’s worth skirting the debt ceiling.
Thanks for the input
According to the Board agenda, the commissioners intend to vote on the giveaway right after the public hearing.
Let's be clear - the public hearing is a sham. This deal is already done, and any public opposition won't derail it.
One good thing about this deal – it should finally put to rest the myth that local government officials have any desire to listen to the public when it comes to these types of “incentives” packages.
Another benefit of the deal – local elected officials get to celebrate that they “brought jobs to Buncombe County.” No mention of the businesses that might NOT be coming or growing because of this decision, of course. Only that County Commissioners gave us all some jobs… at a cost of $18.4 million of our own money.
Quite a deal, indeed.