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Obamacare: Three-legged stool

Triad Conservative alerts us to the Biz Journal write-up of the recent Greensboro Chamber of Commerce meeting where WFU law professor Mark Hall made some interesting comments about the Affordable Care Act.

Hall described Obamacare as a ‘three=legged stool.’ I won’t go into the details about how he conjured that imagery, but here’s the bottom line:

As Hall noted, if you go by what the law is called, the “Affordable Care” Act, you’d be mistaken.

“One thing it doesn’t do is it doesn’t make care more affordable,” Hall said said during the discussion, which was organized by Pilot Benefits. “Mistake number one was to call it that. It doesn’t change in any significant way how doctors and hospitals are paid.”

As Hall noted, while many opponents might criticize the bill for not reducing health care spending, “the main point is it does not affect how health care is delivered or paid for. … That point is lost on about half of the population.’

In the end however, Hall stresses the positives:

That kind of assurance could prompt someone to venture out to start a new business whereas in the past a question mark about obtaining insurance coverage as an entrepreneur might have loomed.

Someone reluctant to leave a job to go back to school for a degree now doesn’t have to wonder about whether they can get coverage, or someone in a bad marriage can leave without feeling shackled to a spouse’s health insurance plan, Hall said.

All fine and good I guess —but anyone who thinks Obamacare is going to save money is dreaming.

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DOJ-Terry Johnson trial opens

In case you missed it, the U.S. Department of Justice opened its discrimination and racial profiling case against Sheriff Terry Johnson on Tuesday:

In opening statements, DOJ attorney Timothy Mygatt accused Johnson and other commanding officers at the Alamance County Sheriff’s Office of “routinely violating” constitutional provisions for equal protection under the law and protections against illegal search and seizure. The DOJ argues that the sheriff’s office set up traffic stops in or near mobile home parks with high Latino populations, and that Johnson directed officers to arrest Latinos and process them through the jail’s 287(g) program, which allowed deputies to act as U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers.

The trial is expected to last two weeks. Stay tuned.

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City Project politics

As the High Point Enterprise puts it, City Project leaders believe in the old saying ‘it ain’t over til it’s over’ in spite of the High Point City Council’s “radical changes” that have “marginalized” the organization:

But with November elections looming that could bring significant turnover to council, the redevelopment shake-up may not be set in stone.

City Project board member Aaron Clinard said he’s still hopeful council will entertain a compromise he’s proposed that he and others believe would give the organization more of a voice in redevelopment.

“That proposal could be tweaked. It could be altered or modified. Any new council could come in and change it,” said Clinard.

A new council could also reverse the action that shifted former City Project Executive Director Wendy Fuscoe to her new role with the city.

“It doesn’t look like there’s much of an opportunity to do that, but after the election, I suppose anything could happen,” said City Project Chairman Richard Wood. “They (council) are a pretty ruthless crowd up there, and it seems to me that they are trying to kill us.”

The question is whether or not City Project supporters recruited candidates to run for City Council with the hopes of –shall we say — demarginalizing the organization.

City Project board chairman Richard Wood says no; former Mayor and current City Council member Judy Mendenhall says yes.

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Troublemaker’s contract

The Rhino on the Greensboro City Council spat over local blogger Ben “Troublemaker” Holder’s neighborhood development contract:

Councilmember Jamal Fox definitely got out of hand at the meeting, raising his voice at Mayor Nancy Vaughan when Vaughan pointed out that she had called him seven times and he had not returned the call. Fox questioned her “integrity.” Councilmember Mike Barber told Fox he was “out of line.”

Fox then went after Councilmember Zack Matheny.

Matheny asked, “Are you going to question my integrity now?”

Fox replied, “Your integrity has been questioned years ago.”

You may disagree with Mayor Vaughan’s politics and policies, but I believe her to be a person of integrity and if she says she called and emailed, then she did.

By the same token, John Hammer concedes that Fox is right when he calls out other council members for giving Holder a job just to get him off their backs. And I haven’t read any ringing endorsements for Holder from council members.

Which is not knocking the Troublemaker. When a man’s got a family to support, he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do. Perhaps he can bring about effective change from the inside without becoming an “insider.”

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N&R paywall snags me

After three weeks I finally get snagged by the N&R’s paywall ‘All Access’ news content.

As I am a print subscriber I thought it would be easy to set my account up—-not—-even after an email from the N&R telling me I had successfully created a user account.

Maybe one day I’ll have the time and the patience to navigate our local paper of record’s new approach to “providing a complete solution for reading timely local news, analysis, opinion and advertising…”

But today ain’t the day.

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NCAA’s Big 5

NYT write-up on a proposed NCAA measure that would give more autonomy to the five biggest athletics conferences, of which (need I say it) the ACC is one:

“It will simply raise the stakes, raise the salaries, raise the expenditures, raise the professionalism, and ultimately we will have more barbells and dumbbells,” said Gerry Gurney, the president of the Drake Group, which pushes for educational reform in college athletics.

Some estimates suggest the new rules will usher in as much as $5 million in new spending on sports, depending on the university.

“This move will take us farther away from any semblance of these athletes being students,” said Gurney, an assistant professor and former athletic executive at Oklahoma — a member of the Big 12, which will be subject to the new rules.

Rice University president David Leebron said he “hopes more benefits will trickle down into the hands of student-athletes,” adding that he agreed with Wake Forest University president and NCAA board chair Nathan Hatch that “the new system combines ‘principle, precedent and some element of politics’ in answering critics of the NCAA while maintaining the organization’s amateurism rules.”

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Rockingham County sales tax hike on the ballot

Rockingham County Board of Commissioners votes 3-2 to put a quarter-cent sales tax hike on the November ballot.

Love the touch of sarcasm from Commissioner Craig Travis, who said “sales tax is the fairest way to do a tax. I get it.”

Travis also commissioners should hold the school board more accountable for what they vote for, adding “nobody does any research, nobody does anything.”

Now it will be up to citizens to hold the school board accountable.

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‘Republicans don’t give a damn about African Americans’

Hey, everybody already knows that, right? But I guess you have to give state Rep. Alma Adams credit for saying it out loud.

That said, I believe Adams’ opponent in 12th District Congressional race—former Charlotte journalist Vince Coakley— disagrees with that point of view. Coakley faces an uphill battle in the heavily Democratic 12th, but here’s to making the effort to discredit such outrageous statements by one of our elected officials.

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Mary Willingham’s UNCG thesis

Turns out that UNC athletics whistleblower Mary Willingham completed her master’s thesis —entitled “Academics & Athletics — A Clash of Cultures: Division I Football Programs”—- at UNCG. And now posters on Carolina’s athletics message board have picked apart Willingham’s thesis and are accusing her of plagiarism:

Posters at Inside Carolina, a UNC-CH sports fan site, found that several passages in the paper appeared to be cut and pasted from several published sources. Several of those sources were listed in the bibliography. At least one — a 2006 letter from then-U.S. Rep. Bill Thomas of California to Myles Brand, the NCAA president at the time — was not.

The News & Observer reported that it found several questionable passages when it examined Willingham’s paper with an online site called WriteCheck that can point out possible examples of plagiarism.

Willingham, a former athletics department tutor, blew the whistle in 2011 on lecture classes in the former African and Afro-American Studies department that didn’t actually meet. A UNC-CH investigation later found more than 200 no-show university classes over nearly two decades.

The Chronicle of Higher Education picks up the story, but only refers to UNCG as the “university’s Greensboro campus.”

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W-S $139m bond goes on the ballot

At last night’s meeting the Winston-Salem City Council voted unanimously to put five bond proposals totaling $139 million on the Nov. 4 ballot.

But the council also approved $60 million for improvements to the Benton Convention Center and –you guessed it —- Union Station —-”using a separate type of bond that does not require voter approval.”

Surely the City Council believed that a bond for improvements to Union Station –which would be the hub for the city’s long-range mass transit plan —-would still pass if it were on the ballot—- in their dreams.

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