The GOP's dangerously bent refusal to acknowledge Climate Change

They will keep their heads in the sand until the tide washes them away:

This summer, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives tacked onto a military funding bill a provision that prohibits the use of federal funds by the military to study global climate change or even to plan how to respond to it.U.S. Rep. Ken Buck from Colorado called the military concern with global climate change a radical climate change agenda.

Actually, Buck doesn't have his head in the sand, it's in the clouds. Greeley, Colorado is 4,659 feet above sea level. Let that sink in, and while you're contemplating how inappropriate it is for somebody living there to screw around with the military's long-term mission to deal with sea-level rise, contemplate why his Republican colleagues would let him do it. Short answer? Because his constituents are a lot less likely to punish him for such an idiotic policy move, as would the constituents of a Representative from Florida. Or North Carolina.

NC's small businesses suffering under HB2

When a ripple turns into a tsunami:

Along with vanished revenue at restaurants and hotels, the cancellation of events has affected caterers, linen rental shops, transportation services, pesticide companies, even banks and credit unions that handle payroll for many of these contractors.

The results of HB2 have had a ripple effect throughout the local economy, according to Henri Fourrieris, president of the Greensboro area Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It certainly tarnished us," Fourrieris said. "We have worked very hard to establish a brand in the sports market, for one. And I feel that has just deteriorated."

Several years ago I allowed myself to get sucked into the Greensboro blogosphere, and I haven't been able to successfully extricate myself since. Grossly outnumbered at the voting booth, conservatives have waged a sometimes vicious digital war against All Things Liberal, very often stumbling over their own ideological feet. This is one of those cases. When entertainers or corporations or sporting associations exercise their free market ability to cancel engagements, they are vilified and written off with "we don't need their money" and other nonsense. And the lost commerce associated with cancellations, which rolls downhill and squashes small business, is actually blamed on another city's government. That there is no logical basis for this accusation means little to these clowns, who staunchly support the overbearing state government who actually caused the problems. Don't try to figure it out, that way lies madness.

Saturday News: The blind leading the senseless


BURR: TRUMP HAS TO BE 'SHARP ON HIS MESSAGE' (Winston-Salem Journal) -- U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., spoke Friday on a number of hot-button issues, including this week’s presidential debate as well as a recent report highlighting his ties to energy companies and criticism from GOP circles in Washington about the apparent timing of his re-election campaign launch. Burr, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Democratic opponent Deborah Ross are nearly tied in recent polls.

Republican calls for deregulation should be ignored

Corporations are already out of control:

“You have regulations on top of regulations, and new companies cannot form and old companies are going out of business. And you (Hillary Clinton) want to increase the regulations and make them even worse. I’m going to cut regulations.” Even as Donald Trump’s words were echoing in the Hofstra University auditorium Monday night, outraged members of Congress – Democrats and Republicans -- had been grilling pharmaceutical and banking executives over bilking American consumers.

Mylan inflated profits for lifesaving drugs with sky-high pricing and Wells Fargo Bank set up phony consumer banking accounts, without customers’ knowledge or permission. On the state level, the failure of Duke Energy – the nation’s largest investor-owned electric utility -- to adequately monitor and handle coal ash waste at power generation sites has been the subject of hearings, lawsuits and paltry fines.

It never ceases to amaze me how so many in the GOP's base buy into this crap. In the total absence of government regulation, those blue-collar workers and retirees would be struggling a hell of a lot harder than they are now, and dying in much larger numbers. But they've been sold on the idea that government is the source for all their woes, and the people selling them that lie are raking in campaign contributions from the very companies that are ripping these people off. And it's not a secret. A quick search of the FEC's campaign database is all they need to do to connect the dots, but they (apparently) don't care to learn. If they did, they would understand the need for this:

Friday News: Untrustworthy leadership

BAIT & SWITCH CONFESSION: MOORE SAYS HB2 ‘DEAL’ WASN’T FULL REPEAL (AP) -- The North Carolina House leader says a state law restricting LGBT anti-discrimination rules may not have been fully repealed even if Charlotte leaders had agreed this month to pull back their city ordinance that led to House Bill 2. Moore's comments raise questions about how realistic a proposed compromise was to end the months-long fallout over the law.

Will NC Republicans have to pay the piper in November?

Thomas Mills reads the tea leaves:

The business wing of the GOP keeps touting the modest economic gains North Carolina has seen while desperately trying to turn the conversation away from the damage the GOP has done to our national reputation. It’s not working so far. People aren’t feeling that much better about their economic circumstances, but they are aware that the rest of the country thinks something is wrong with our state—and that perception has been caused by Pat McCrory and the Republicans.

Yep, and no matter how vehemently Republican leaders try to blame Democrats (or the Liberal media, or activist corporations, or sports franchises), the responsibility inevitably is placed on those in charge. That's how politics works: When bad shit happens, incumbents better update their resumes.

Emerald Isle conflict and the Public Trust Doctrine

One man's freedom is another man's loss of freedom:

State Superior Court denied the claim in 2014 and granted a summary judgment for Emerald Isle. The Nieses also lost their appeal in November 2015. The state Court of Appeals, in unanimously affirming the judgment of the lower court, delivered a robust defense of the public trust doctrine.

“[W]e take notice that public right of access to dry sand beaches in North Carolina is so firmly rooted in the custom and history of North Carolina that it has become a part of the public consciousness,” the ruling states. “Native-born North Carolinians do not generally question whether the public has the right to move freely between the wet sand and dry sand portions of our ocean beaches. Though some states, such as plaintiffs’ home state of New Jersey, recognize different rights of access to their ocean beaches, no such restrictions have traditionally been practiced in North Carolina.”

Bolding mine. Although I'm not native-born, I have spent my fair share of time on NC's beaches. I've always viewed the dunes as sort of the border between public and private lands, with the dunes being a sort of "neutral territory." In other words, you can climb up on the dunes to look around and get your bearings, without being in violation of trespass. Depending on how the State Supreme Court rules, that could all change:

Thursday News: Burr gets a lump of coal money

NC SENATOR WHO CHAMPIONS FOSSIL FUELS GOT THEIR MONEY (McClatchy Newspapers) -- With checkbooks in hand, executives from the embattled coal mining industry converged last year on the remote Olde Farm Golf Club near southwest Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Unlike in 2010, when golf legends Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player played the elite course in Bristol, Virginia, to raise money for homeless kids, the beneficiaries of the gathering on June 10, 2015, were two political allies of the coal industry: Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.

More research on habitat loss from wood pellet industry

Stronger regulation is desperately needed:

The region was recently designated a global biodiversity hot spot, and according to one of the papers, the use of biomass for energy hinges on its sustainability. Minimizing overall loss of forests and biodiversity and maximizing the area of habitat have been suggested as criteria for sustainable bio-energy production.

“Results from the scenarios we examined suggest that simultaneously achieving the best outcomes for these sustainability criteria under a single biomass production future may not be possible,” according to the report. However, there may be a middle ground. To avoid the negative effects on critical habitats, restrictions on biomass harvesting in longleaf pine and bottomland hardwoods will be necessary.

Bolding mine. As is very often the case with studies emerging from NCSU, the agriculture industry is given the benefit of the doubt on sustainability initiatives. In this case, researchers assume they're going to re-plant new forests wherever they harvest, so there won't be a "net loss" of forestland. I disagree, vehemently. There is little evidence of that, on a large-scale, anyway. With that understanding, those words "will be necessary" above carry even more weight. Enviva needs to leave those longleaf pines and bottomland hardwoods alone. But since they've already developed a taste for those precious trees, the only way to stop them is to make it illegal. And as for their claims of sustainable operations:


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