James @
Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 12:54pm

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Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 11:07am

Draining and clear-cutting our precious wetlands:

The Corps and EPA officials will likely visit the forest before deciding whether wetlands were illegally ditched, Sugg said. He had told Coastal Review Online in early February and other media since then that some wetland rules appear to have been violated in the Hofmann.

The Corps’ investigation began early this year after the N.C. Coastal Federation asked for information about ditching activities in the forest. The request was triggered by an “investors’ prospectus” that surfaced late last year after N.C. State shocked many by announcing the pending sale. The document raised numerous questions about what the new owners would do with the land; it outlines commercial and residential development on thousands of acres, calling into question assurances from the prospective new owner that it would maintain most of the forest for research and timber management and sales, and not convert it to agricultural, commercial and residential uses.

The prospectus noted that more than 5,500 acres in the Hofmann had been clear cut and could easily be converted to agriculture.

And what's becoming more and more obvious as time goes by is the State's premier agricultural institution (NC State) is managed by people who only give a passing nod to conservation of our natural resources:

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Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 10:36am

And the lack of concern is disheartening:

The latest bipartisan congressional effort to restore several months of federal unemployment insurance benefits received a cool reception Wednesday from a state legislative oversight committee. U.S. Senate Bill 2149 would provide five months of federal UI benefits, retroactive to Jan. 1, to more than 2 million eligible claimants nationwide. That would include more than 170,000 North Carolinians. States would not be required to pay back the 100 percent federally funded benefits.

Sen. Bob Rucho, R-Mecklenburg, and Rep. Julia Howard, R-Davie, said they would not support North Carolina trying to become eligible for the retroactive benefits. Howard said much of her opposition is the “logistical nightmare” cited by Avrette. She also the North Carolina economy hasn’t “fallen off a cliff” since North Carolina became disqualified from receiving the federal extended benefits.

If you've quite finished your navel-gazing, maybe you should talk to some of those families who did fall off the cliff when their benefits were abruptly cut off. There's a hell of a lot more to this story than just paying off the debt early, and refusing this money that won't cost the state a dime except in administrative functions is unnecessarily cruel.

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Posmo @
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 10:06pm

The NC GOP lie machine is being spun up to full speed, based on the Tillisberger's report of "Alarming Evidence of Voter Error and Fraud".

We could comment on many things, such as:

  • Wow! Those are some really big numbers! Oh, wait, they reflect only a very tiny fraction of votes cast;
  • This is some VERY carefully spun data intentionally designed to be very misleading and alarm low-information consumers of the information;
  • This data probably represents what's been happening for a long time, and nearly all of it is likely to be easily explainable and innocuous; and
  • They offer no evidence that any of this would have been prevented by their voter suppression law.
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James @
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 2:45pm

If hypocrisy were still a sin, the McCrony administration would be toiling in the seventh level of hell until all eternity. Chris Fitzsimon breaks it down.

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James @
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 2:04pm

There's enough money in furniture to feed an army of workers, but not enough to feed the corporate profit machine. Sad news.

And what's the McDecker solution? Play golf!

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Posmo @
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 12:24pm

(Tip o' the hat to Rep. Pricey Harrison for tweeting this)

Facing South reports a Smoking Gun: Tobacco giant reveals funding of NC dark money group backing McCrory

As a so-called "dark money" group, the Renew North Carolina Foundation -- a political nonprofit launched in 2012 to support the agenda of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory -- doesn't have to disclose its donors.

However, because a corporate backer of Renew NC is one of a growing number of companies that have agreed to be more transparent about their political spending, at least one donor to the pro-McCrory outfit has been brought to light: tobacco giant Reynolds American, Inc.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 10:57am

Today the Supreme Court ruled that you should be able give the base contribution to as many candidates as you like with no aggregate limit applied.

In the 2011–2012 election cycle, appellant McCutcheon contributed to 16 different federal candidates, complying with the base limits ap- plicable to each. He alleges that the aggregate limits prevented him from contributing to 12 additional candidates and to a number of noncandidate political committees. He also alleges that he wishes to make similar contributions in the future, all within the base limits. McCutcheon and appellant Republican National Committee filed a complaint before a three-judge District Court, asserting that the ag- gregate limits were unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The District Court denied their motion for a preliminary injunction and granted the Government’s motion to dismiss. Assuming that thebase limits appropriately served the Government’s anticorruption in- terest, the District Court concluded that the aggregate limits sur- vived First Amendment scrutiny because they prevented evasion of the base limits.

Held: The judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded.

893 F. Supp. 2d 133, reversed and remanded. CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS, joined by JUSTICE SCALIA, JUSTICE KENNE-
DY, and JUSTICE ALITO, concluded that the aggregate limits are inva- lid under the First Amendment.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 9:53am

Photo from Scrutiny Hooligans

And enough lies might get the job done:

The complaint stems from a Feb. 24 meeting between Moffitt and Turner at an Asheville restaurant. Moffitt has said he merely suggested that Turner would make a good candidate to head UNC-TV because of his experience as a producer at MTV and more recent work as a vice chancellor at UNC Asheville. A national search for a new UNC-TV director is expected to begin later this year. "Rep. Moffitt did not give or promise Brian Turner any political appointment or support for public office," according to Moffitt's response.

In a sworn statement included in the response, Buncombe County Commissioner David King, who attended the meeting between the two candidates, also says Moffitt didn't give or promise Turner "any political appointment, support for political office, or for any job in the government or with UNC-TV." King, a Republican, also says in his statement that he called Turner in early March to ask why he was making false claims against Moffitt, and Turner responded, "It is good for my campaign."

Riiight. In one breath, you call Turner a liar, and in the next breath, you claim he told you something outrageous, something that can't be verified or disproved. It's a liar's wonderland. Lesson learned: if you're a Democrat, don't meet with two Republicans without wearing a wire.

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James @
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 9:20am

This week brings a flurry of lawyering, with Duke Energy working at every turn to shut citizens out of the process and keep communications secret, with a helpful assist from John "Long-Standing Crony" Skvarla. Here's a sampling:

Duke Energy is asking a judge to prevent citizens groups from taking part in any enforcement action that would make the company clean up nearly three dozen coal ash pits across North Carolina.

Duke Energy worked with North Carolina environmental regulators for years to ensure information about potential fallout from dam breaches – including those at coal ash ponds – would stay exempt from the state's public records law. Emails between Duke and officials at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources show that after an initial request from an engineer at the company in May 2011, the department sought legal advice for ways to keep dam emergency action plans away from public inspection, reversing the department's earlier position.

Duke Energy says a judge should dismiss state lawsuits filed over coal ash contamination because any releases were “specifically or impliedly authorized” by its state permits.

State environmental groups are suing Duke Energy to clean up a ribbon of sludge in the Dan River as well as its 14 coal ash-containment sites across North Carolina.

As underlined by an environmental group last week, there are no clear answers about where the more than 100 million tons of Duke Energy coal ash is supposed to go to make it safe and secure.

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