McCrory picks MBA to lead EMC

Not unlike asking your lawyer what that lump on your back is:

Gerard Carroll, a former senior vice president at National Gypsum in Charlotte, will replace Benne Hutson as chair of the Environmental Management Commission. The 15-member commission makes rules for North Carolina’s air and water resources. Hutson, a Charlotte lawyer, resigned in January. He cited the time demands of chairing the EMC.

Carroll, who is known as Jerry, worked at National Gypsum for more than 22 years. He’s an Air Force veteran who completed 222 combat missions in Vietnam and earned a masters of business administration from Harvard.

From a lawyer to a business administrator. Not sure if that's a step forward, backward, or simply a step off (the cliff). Whatever the case, neither are even remotely qualified to Chair the Environmental Management Commission. Unless they're planning some bombing sorties to degrade the capabilities of fecal bacteria swimming towards Raleigh. That being said, Caroll's promotion may not be just another random act of idiocy by McCrory. National Gypsum is a big player in the reuse of coal ash residuals, and their wallboard contains some of the nastiest elements of such:

Daily dose: GOP blocks gas tax cut edition

Republican-led House blocks 20 percent cut in state gas tax -- The state House gave preliminary approval 70-47 Wednesday night to block a 20 percent cut in the state's gasoline taxes, an effort aimed at stopping a large shortfall from forming in the state's road-building revenues starting July 1.
http://www.fayobserver.com/news/local/house-gives-preliminary-approval-to-block-percent-cut-in-state...

A divided NC House OKs gas hike tax to 36-cent (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The House gave tentative approval Wednesday, in a 70-47 vote, to a bill that would drop the state gas tax to 36 cents a gallon starting April 1 and continuing through December. The new rate would be a 1.5-cent tax cut initially, since the current tax is 37.5 cents. But the bill would prevent motorists from enjoying a much bigger tax cut for the last six months of the year.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/traffic/road-worrier-blog/article12530201.html

Quick-draw Jesus wants guns in Forsyth County Christian school

Irony abounds! Who knew that two Republican legislators would take the initiative to arm Christian soldiers in Forsyth County, even when no school administrator asked for the privilege?

More to the point, why do private Christian schools get to have all the fun? Why can't people in public schools have guns too? Instead of such a restrictive bill, let's see something that permits everyone - students and teachers alike - involved in education to pack heat. Or better yet, let's require them to do so. Only then will our schools be safe from predators.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Arsenic and hog waste choking the Neuse

The Riverkeeper details the damage:

Every hour of every day, the coal ash pits on the bank of the Neuse River are illegally leaking dangerous contamination into the surrounding ground and surface water. In fact, one of the criminal charges against Duke Energy was for “negligently” constructing one of these creek-like discharges that continues to flow into the Neuse from the ash pits at this dump. The Lee site has the highest levels of arsenic contamination of all Duke’s ash dumps in North Carolina.

But yet another continuous source of pollution looms on the banks and tributaries of the Neuse: industrial hog operations, most of which are controlled by foreign corporate interests. Over 500 of the 2,000 industrial hog factories in North Carolina call the Neuse River Basin home. The 10 million hogs that live in our state produce roughly as much waste as 100 million people.

Much like coal ash, hog waste contamination has been a huge problem for decades. We haven't done nearly enough to abate the problem, but it looks like the new "business-friendly" administration of Skvarla and McCrory has dropped the ball entirely:

Daily dose: McCrory's 4th "E" should have been "Ethics."

Ethics complaint against McCrory appears to advance (Raleigh News & Observer) -- An ethics complaint filed against Gov. Pat McCrory in January for failing to disclose income from Duke Energy and Tree.com appears to be moving forward in the State Ethics Commission. A preliminary review period has passed, and neither the governor nor the complainant, an advocacy group called Progress N.C. Action, is commenting. Progress N.C. Action’s complaint alleges ethics law violations by McCrory over what it claims is a pattern by the governor of failing to fully disclose his financial interests as required.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2015/03/03/4597036_mccrory-ethics-complaint-apparently.html?rh=1

Tax Reform?

Conversation #1 from Facebook regarding the 'tax reform' given to us by our NCGA.
More to come!!

~sarcasm warning~ I can't thank our state legislature enough for the wonderful tax cuts that they've been bragging about for the past year (face palm)...Our gross income was $4k less this year....last year our state refund was $541, this year we owe the state $18.....I'm still trying to find that tax cut that they raved about....oh wait!!! I found it.....Art Pope got my tax cut.

Response from Friends:
-We owe $34 to NC. They're not getting it till April 10.

Hager tries to pull a fast one, gets caught

And we can all breathe easier, for now anyway:

"Representative Hager’s amendment removes the only statutory requirement for the EMC to move forward with regulation of air pollution from natural gas development. It does so without any legislative committee review or opportunity for public debate," McCallie wrote. Had the amendment remained attached to the bill, the state Senate could have sent the measure to the governor without a public hearing or committee examination.

"I really don't believe this amendment ought to be part of this bill," Rep. Chuck McGrady, R-Henderson, said of the measure. Hager shot back, saying, "Don't fool yourself ... this is about folks who don't like energy exploration."

Nice try, sport. Now put that ad hominem club back in the bag, and go home and lick your wounds.

Burr leans on bent think-tank to support his ACA alternative bill

Partisan politics and pseudo-scientific bullshit:

I certainly believe that both the Obama campaign and administration have sought to construct a political narrative that dispenses with inconvenient facts. The campaign narrative was that the U.S. economy was crumbling, broken by Republicans, and in need of being “rebuilt.”

That narrative supported “investments” — progressive-speak for massive federal spending — government takeovers where desired (health care) or needed by unions (autos), and massive deficits.

You're right, I put this diary together backwards, just so you browsers would get a taste of the "expert" that Senator Richard Burr hopes will give his horribly bad legislation a whiff of legitimacy:

Tale as old as time

There is something profoundly disturbing taking place in the town halls, government centers and places of worship in our state. In spite of being one of the most intellectually aware and spiritually in-tune states in the union a spirit of fear has taken hold of many who normally would be rational. A “mob” mentality has taken over where common sense once prevailed. If you listen closely to the words being echoed in government chambers and spoken from the pulpits of some North Carolina churches the tune being whistled is not “My Country Tis of Thee” or “Amazing grace”, but “Kill the Beast”.

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