Daily dose: corporate welfare edition

McCrory, Other Governors, Let on Industry-Funded Group Call Shots on Offshore Drilling (TIME/Center for Public Integrity) -- t was a brisk February morning, and the governors of North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia were seated around a ring of tables draped with pleated beige fabric in the ornate Nest Room of Washington, D.C.’s Willard InterContinental Hotel. Sitting across the tables was Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, whom the governors had invited so they could make their case for expanding offshore energy production. It was a long-awaited meeting for the governors, and they’d armed themselves with specific “asks” — that Jewell’s department open access to oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic, for instance, and improve “regulatory certainty” for energy companies operating rigs off the coasts. Republican governors from coastal states has been lobbying the Obama administration to expand access to the nation’s offshore oil and gas deposits, working through an organization called the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition. While the message from the governors that morning would have come as no surprise to Jewell, less clear, perhaps, was that the governors were drawing on the research and resources of an energy lobbying firm acting on behalf of an oil industry-funded advocacy group. the background materials handed to the governors for the meeting, right down to those specific “asks,” were provided by Natalie Joubert, vice president for policy at the Houston- and Washington D.C.-based HBW Resources. Joubert helps manage the Consumer Energy Alliance, or CEA, a broad-based industry coalition that HBW Resources has been hired to run. The appeal for regulatory certainty, for example, came with a note to the governors that Shell, a CEA member, “felt some of the rules of exploration changed” after it began drilling operations in the Arctic. … The Center requested interviews with staff of each of the governors … but none made anyone available, though Alaska responded to questions in writing. … There’s been little effort to explain CEA’s relationship with the coalition, which is currently chaired by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. The coalition’s website made no mention of CEA until recently, when one page was edited — after the Center began reporting this article — to acknowledge the organization provides “information and administrative support.” In March, when the Center first asked who staffs the coalition, Ryan Tronovich, a spokesman for McCrory, said the governors provide the staff (records show McCrory’s press aide Tronovich actually consulted with CEA to answer the Center’s questions). When the Center asked again after learning of CEA’s involvement, Tronovich said in an email that he “should have been more clear,” and compared CEA’s help to that given by an intern. (The Republic Report, an investigative news website, first reported a possible connection with CEA in February when it noted that a coalition letter appeared to have been written by Joubert.)

Those burdensome regulations

"We have got to get rid of these burdensome regulations!" screams the NC GOP.

And they've already repealed lots of regulations that kept people safe and the environment protected.

Their corporate overlords don't like anything that gets in the way of unfettered profits, especially regulations that require basic fairness, ethical behavior and human decency.

Bible thumpers get thumped outside Equality NC event

When you preach hate, don't be surprised if it comes back on you:

As the protesters yelled at people entering the center Saturday night, people in support of the LGBT community began to gather across Elm Street. Before long, the dozen or so protesters were outnumbered by LGBT supporters, whose numbers swelled to about 70; and the groups were yelling across the street at each other.

Yahya Alazrak, 23, of Greensboro, faces a charge of injury to personal property after breaking a sign belonging to the opposite side, according to warrants. A third person, Brian Drew Watkins, 39, of Greensboro, faces a charge of disorderly conduct for allegedly grabbing signs and yelling loudly, according to warrants.

This story is missing a lot of critical information, not the least of which is what was written on the signs. And yes, that does make a difference. If they resembled the Westboro Baptist "God Hates Fags" or other incendiary language, I probably would have broken a few signs myself. And the story also doesn't mention whether the bible-thumpers were blasting their hate with loudspeakers, but this leads me to believe they were:

Daily dose

DHHS spending requests hit raw nerve with senator (Winston-Salem Journal) -- A simmering GOP skepticism of how the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is being run by the McCrory administration reached a boiling point with a key state Senate leader last week. The voice-raising exchange between state health Secretary Aldona Wos and Sen. Tommy Tucker, R-Union, on Tuesday served as a microcosm of the tension between a GOP-controlled legislature focused on cost cutting whenever and wherever possible, and a state agency in critical need of modernization.

For workers cheated out of wages, NC Labor Dept. offers no help (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry’s staff says her agency has little to do with handling labor violations in North Carolina. Critics say there’s far more she could and should do to crack down on unscrupulous employers.

Why lie, Pat?

An open letter to His Magnificent Presence

Dear Pat.

With Thom Tillis no longer hogging the political spotlight, the stage is all yours. You get to set the tone and drive the agenda. You know, responsible governing?

So why this week are we getting nothing but spin? Instead of explaining clearly what is going on in North Carolina's employment picture, you're opting for lies. You're giving people the impression that "all the jobs are back" and you know they're not. Are you looking for five-star credit from a two-star performance? It sure seems that way.

The problem with that statistic is it doesn't account for any population change over the past seven years," Quinterno said of the payroll jobs number.

Read more here.

Look in the mirror, dude. Why are you not doing what you promised when you were a candidate? We don't need sleight of hand. We need an accurate picture of where things stand and don't stand. You're not delivering.

Daily dose: Zombie worker apocalypse version

NUMBERS TO PONDER : The latest release of North Carolina’s unemployment rate provided many numbers to ponder:
· 6.3% -- The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October 2014 (lowest N.C. rate for 2014 was 6.2% in April).
· 4.646 million – North Carolina’s October 2014 labor force.
· 4.672 million – North Carolina’s October 2013 labor force.
· 26,000 --- The number of zombie workers – workers who disappeared from the N.C. labor force in the last year.
· 6.9% -- The unemployment rate, if the zombie workers were included.
· 600,000 – The increase in North Carolina’s population since 2008.
· 5,700 – The number of government jobs lost in the last year.
· 18 minutes – The decrease in average weekly hours worked by manufacturing production workers.
· $8.49 – The drop in average weekly wages earned by manufacturing production workers.
Want to know more about how to interpret jobs number. The N.C. Department of Commerce, with the help of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, offers a guide online at:

Richard Burr prefers KGB-style intel operations

But don't expect the "defenders of liberty" to speak out against him:

Republicans take over the Senate in just a few legislative days. And when they do, they will probably snuff out the last possibility of releasing a huge report on the use of torture by the Central Intelligence Agency during the Bush-Cheney Administration.

Mr. Burr has said the report is full of unspecified inaccuracies. He not only opposes its release, but also all public hearings of the Intelligence Committee. He believes that “enhanced interrogation” (also known as torture) helped lead to the death of Osama Bin Laden, and is O.K. with widespread domestic spying by the National Security Agency. So don’t expect the slightest bit of openness or progress after he takes over.

Be careful what you say on your cell phones, comrades. I have a feeling becoming an "enemy of the state" is going to get a hell of a lot easier in the near future...

Breakfast in Burgaw

Jane and I had a quick trip to Wilmington to see my brother over the past two days. On the way home, we stopped for breakfast in Burgaw, North Carolina. It's a sweet town with a thriving main street and lots of friendly people. This beaming duo welcomed us to the Alley Cats Cafe in the lively old downtown.

Even though we're mostly vegetarian, Jane had to try what our waitress (newly relocated from Florida) said the locals eat in droves: liver sausage. "It's fresh, you know, from the plants around here," said the waitress.

Growing up in northern Maryland, Jane called it scrapple. Her father ate it with molasses. Our waitress, who said she couldn't bring herself to try it, brought hot sauce cause "that's what most folks ask for down here." It was tasty just as she had predicted, even without condiments.


Subscribe to RSS - blogs