Daily dose: Little Lord Fauntleroy falls into deep, dark hole

Former Powerful GOP State Rep. LaRoque Confesses to Theft From Non-Profit (FBI News Release) – Former Republican state Rep. Stephen A. LaRoque of Kinston, pleaded guilty to the theft of $150,000 from a federally-funded nonprofit organization in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666, U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced today Monday. LaRoque also agreed to pay $300,000.00 in full restitution to East Carolina Development Company, which is a nonprofit organization based in Kinston. The non-profit was originally created to provide loans to small rural businesses using federal funds provided to East Carolina Development by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Rural Development Division’s Intermediary Relending Program.


Tuesday Twitter roundup

There's always one in every group:

Right, because giving the shaft to people who have already dedicated half their working years to a job and aren't likely to quit is such great management. Hopefully pursuing a Master's in English Literature will help this essayist better understand the definition of injustice. p.s. N&O, the word is "myopic."

How many innocents must be released before we end the death penalty?

Columbus County, NC: On Friday, Joseph Sledge was the 8th man freed by the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission. Sledge's case, like so many we've seen in recent months, followed a disturbing trend: innocent men and women exonerated after decades in prison or on death row, with only the thinnest of evidence.

With so many cases of innocence in NC, how much longer will NC continue to tinker with the death penalty? Click here to read more

NC's offshore wind energy moving forward

With some nudging from President Obama:

The North Carolina lease is part of the Obama Administration’s Smart from the Start offshore wind energy initiative, which aims at coordinating and streamlining development of designated Wind Energy Areas (WEAs).

The WEAs for North Carolina were designated last summer pending a final environmental assessment. For those of you keeping score at home, the total comes to more than 300,000 acres divided among three parcels: Kitty Hawk (122,405 acres), Wilmington West (51,595 acres), and Wilmington East (about 133,590 acres).

North Carolina is currently ranked #4 for new Solar PV installation, but we could (very easily) also be ranked #1 for offshore wind in the very near future. But we can expect some pushback from the fossil fuel industry, which has its hands way up the skirt of our General Assembly. Be ready to march. And when the doubters start turning up their noses, tell them this:

Daily dose: The definition of "normal" up for debate


NC Republicans could have "more normal" legislative agenda (AP) — After four years of turning North Carolina politics upside down, Republicans at the General Assembly could be prepping for a more subdued two-year legislative session.


NC GOP stifling the legal rights of farmworkers

Once again, Gene Nichol goes to bat for the least among us:

The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee who introduced both the cuts and the creative reporting requirement is Brent Jackson of Autryville. He’s the Senate’s only farmer. The News & Observer reports: “Jackson Farming grows, packs, ships and brokers fruit and vegetables grown in this and several other states.” The Republican senator has “benefitted heavily from agribusiness financial contributions and has become their flag-bearer.”

And what, you might ask, does that have to do with Legal Aid of North Carolina? LANC runs a federally funded program called the “Farmworker Unit” – a statewide project committed to providing high quality civil legal services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers in North Carolina. The Farmworker Unit, according to its website, represents individual farmworkers, advising them of their rights and helping them get what the law requires. Shades of Cesar Chavez. Mystery solved.

North Carolina is becoming notorious for the mistreatment of farmworkers; from the all-too-common practice of using child labor, to the often brutal treatment of those workers who dare to even speak with labor organizers. But when you use the power of the government to forcibly obtain information to help wealthy private sector donors in their legal battles against those mistreated workers, you've really crossed the line:

Daily dose: Groveling Grover edition

GOP Govs. Buck Party Line on Raising Taxes (New York Times) -- Republican governors across the nation are proposing tax increases — and backing off pledges to cut taxes — as they strike a decidedly un-Republican pose in the face of budget shortfalls and pent-up demands from constituents after years of budget cuts. … Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and a driving force in pressing Republicans to sign no-tax pledges, said he was annoyed by some governors who were calling for tax increases, like Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, whom Mr. Norquist described as “really bad on taxes.” But these Republicans are the exception, he said. “You can’t just look at governors these days,” Mr. Norquist said. “You’ve got to look at the legislatures. The legislature in North Carolina is much more pro-growth and anti-tax than the governor.”



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