Unfortunate Changes to HB 465

Unfortunate changes were made this morning to HB 465. Other legislation proposed by Democrats, Sen Jeff Jackson amongst them, has been lumped into the Extend-Waiting-Period-For-An-Abortion bill, putting all Democrats at NCGA in the unfortunate position of potentially voting against good measures or voting for the 72 hour waiting period. Either of which could be used against them in the next election

The bill has also been given a new and wonderful name:

Women and Children's Protection Act of 2015.

Who would want to vote against that!

Coal Ash Wednesday: With a side order of nuclear waste

There's a bigger mess in South Carolina than previously reported:

About 4 million tons of ash are in the 55-acre coal waste pond in Darlington County, according to data recently published on Duke Energy’s website. Last year, the power company reported only 660,000 tons in the ash basin near Lake Robinson, a popular recreation spot outside of Hartsville and about an hour’s drive east of Columbia.

Statistics showing more ash in the pond follow revelations in March that nuclear waste had been dumped in the ash pond and that poisonous arsenic has been found at levels substantially higher in groundwater than previously known by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Although Duke Energy is now responsible, the dirty deeds were done (dirt cheap) by Progress Energy. And they were so dirty the groundwater running under the coal ash/nuclear waste cocktail has Arsenic at levels 1,000 times greater than the safe limit. But staying in character, Duke Energy is not overly worried about it:

Daily dose: Blotting out the Sun edition

North Carolina's Legislative Wrangles Over Solar (Solar Industry Magazine) -- North Carolina - which has been a renewable energy leader in the Southeast, particularly with regard to solar - is facing a rollback of some of its most successful renewable energy policies. The most important of these policies, the state's 35% investment tax credit - not to be confused with the 30% federal tax credit - has been the subject of intensive debate during North Carolina's long legislative session. The good news, Ivan Urlaub of the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association says, is that a provision for a two-year extension has passed the state House of Representatives. The bad news, Urlaub says, is that the Senate's finance committee just approved another bill (H.B.332) containing several measures considered a detriment to the solar sector: one that would freeze North Carolina's state's renewable energy and energy-efficiency portfolio standard at 6% and another that would weaken provisions of the standard-offer power purchase agreement .

Profiles in idiocy: Voting isn't important 'cause we already decided

Rucho is either really stupid or terminally arrogant:

Rucho didn’t seem fazed by it all, telling the News & Observer that Senate Republicans discuss controversial bills ahead of time and know how their members will vote so he was confident that the bill putting a lower cap on the state’s renewable energy would pass.

In Rucho's mind, "Committee" = "Committed." Apparently the meeting and the talking and the voting are non-essential aspects of the process, easily dispensed with if they threaten to slow things down. Maybe we should teach that in the new "Founding Fathers" required historical courses.

Daily dose: Frustrated Francis edition


House budget frustrates government shrinking advocates, unlikely to find favor with senators (WRAL-TV) -- "Handouts to cronies." "Disappointing." "Fiscally irresponsible." "Stuffed with pork barrel spending." Those reviews of the $22.1 billion budget developed by Republican leaders of the state House came not from liberal campaigners or Democratic lawmakers but from nonprofits singularly devoted to cutting taxes and the size of state government that have traditionally backed policies pursued by GOP lawmakers and helped them get elected. "We are not happy with what happened last night," Francis De Luca, president of Civitas Institute, said hours after the House approved the spending plan.

Out of Order

I had never heard of Texan Wendy Davis until social media alerted me to her filibuster of the Texas legislature. I was able to watch online as she, and Texas Democrats, held the floor until time ran out for the abortion bill. This was the first time I ever realized that parliamentary procedure could be absolutely riveting!!

It continues to fascinate today, and is used effectively by Republican leaders at NCGA. There are many ways to get rid of a proposed bill, something you don't like, one of which is to Table the Bill. Another is to rule the suggestion is Out of Order.

Memorial Day is a time for both honor and philosophy

On this day of remembrance, our Facebook timelines are awash with glowing tributes to those who gave their lives in military service. Some of these tributes are personal, and some are crafted by some stranger and then shared by others. But you rarely see people add comments to these postings. If somebody in Hollywood has an affair with somebody else in Hollywood, you'll see dozens of sometimes heated observations about who is in the wrong and why. But men and women who have been sent to a foreign land to wage war in our name, and came back in a body bag if they came back at all? Crickets. And the few readers who do express an opinion about "why" they lost their lives are soon hushed, as if the causal chain of events is either not important or an "inappropriate" topic of conversation for this particular day. The problem is, for many of these folks, there never is an appropriate day to explore the wisdom or morality of the wars we engage in. And their aversion to this topic may lie in their inability to navigate the complexities of the ethics involved:


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