Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s Animal Photos of the week (this is actually the first in an amazing series of three images):

An elephant relives an itch on a small car in the Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa. SOMETIMES you have an itch you just have to scratch - in this elephant's case on a conveniently nearby car. The VW Polo and its two terrified occupants found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time as the giant ellie stooped down to rub itself against the vehicle's roof and bonnet. The incredible images were taken by Armand Grobler, 21, a field guide and lodge manager, in Pilanesburg National Park, South Africa. The two passengers were shaken up, but escaped without injury - although the same could not be said for their car. But after giving itself a good scratch, the elephant continued on itís way itch free.

Belly the elephant: Sometimes you have an itch you just have to scratch – in this elephant’s case on a conveniently parked car. The VW Polo and its two terrified occupants found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time as the giant ellie stooped down to rub itself against the vehicle’s roof and bonnet…Picture: Armand Grobler/Barcroft Media

Janitors vs. Janitors

When the NC legislature had to find money for the teacher raise this year, apparently they decided to take the money where they could, from with in the overall education budget.   The result is pretty perverse.  WRAL’s Laura Leslie reports:

— Legislative leaders have talked a lot this summer about the raises they gave to public school teachers and most state employees, but they don’t have as much to say about the raises for educational support staff in the state budget.

The $21.1 billion budget, which Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law last week, included raises averaging 5.5 percent, plus longevity pay, for teachers and $1,000 and an extra week of vacation for other state workers. But more than 59,200 non-certified school employees – teaching assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians and administrative staff – received only a $500 raise.

“That’s not equitable. It just doesn’t make sense,” said Chris Bridges, who has worked 21 years in the Wake County Public School System Transportation Office.

Bridges noted that, if he did his job at a state agency instead of a school district, his raise would have been double what he will see in the coming year – and he would have gotten more time off.

“We all work for the public, and we should all get the same thing,” he said. “What you do for one, you do for all, because we’re all in the same boat. I still got to pay my mortgage. I still got to pay the light bill.”

Non-certified school workers are some of the lowest-paid public-sector workers in North Carolina. They haven’t had a real raise since 2008, and Bridges said $500 barely qualifies as one now.

Got that?  Work as a secretary for the state Department of Energy, get $1000 and 5 vacation days.  Work as a secretary for a school, get $500.  Not to mention the total inadequacy of these raises when there’s been almost nothing since 2008.  State employees (including me) have seen a huge decrease in real, inflation adjusted pay.  And why can’t we do better now that the economy is improving?  That’s easy, that money was allocated in last year’s budget to the state’s most well-off residents via hefty tax cuts.

Of course, the perpetrators of this are not so happy about it being made public.  On FB, Leslie also wrote:

Getting blasted on Twitter by the Lockies, Americans for Prosperity and Tillis’s staff for tonight’s story. Must have hit a nerve.

and

I gave House leaders two days and Senate leaders one day to find someone to put in front of a camera to defend the decision. Not one taker. That tells you something.

Indeed it does.

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