From the Ethics Omission

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Daily Dose: TGIF edition

THE SPILL
Hagan says coal ash bill doesn't go far enough (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan says North Carolina’s new coal ash regulations don’t go far enough in cleaning up Duke Energy’s toxic waste ponds. Her opponent, state Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis, said the legislation would make the state a leader in dealing with the byproduct of burning coal for electricity. He said it would “help safeguard our water for future generations.” Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, said the state should require ash from every pond be placed in a “leak-proof area,” something the new law does not do.
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/08/21/hagan-says-coal...

Sierra Club: Coal ash bill falls short (Salisbury Post) -- N.C. Sierra Club response to final passage of S 729, Coal Ash Management Act: The legislature (Wednesday) gave final approval to the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014, a complex measure that for the first time regulates coal ash like other wastes but also undermines a court ruling that would have required immediate cleanup of coal ash. … Unfortunately, final changes to the conference report intended to protect against ongoing groundwater pollution at 10 sites do not go far enough to address a major issue that must be resolved to protect N.C. residents and communities.
http://www.salisburypost.com/article/20140822/SP05/140829860/1012/sierra...

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Josh Stein's wrap-up of the legislative session

Received via email:

The 2013 – 2014 Legislative Session finally adjourned last night. The budget and Medicaid were two of the biggest items to be addressed during this legislative session, yet we are leaving with a budget that is unsustainable and without action on Medicaid. I am pleased, however, that we did enact bipartisan legislation to clean up the 33 coal ash ponds in North Carolina.

This session, the legislature unfortunately impaired our ability to grow economically in the future by damaging public education and our universities and rejecting the federal expansion of health insurance for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.

I voted against the short session budget because it harms North Carolina, primarily in education and health care.

App State not to have early vote site

The State Board of Elections (BOE) met this afternoon and part of their agenda was discussion on early vote sites in Watauga County. Although the final vote broke down almost as expected, 4-1, against a site on campus, some of the arguments are worth noting.

Watauga Democratic BOE member, Kathleen Campbell, was represented by Bill Gilkeson. He is from the law firm Bailey & Dixon, retained by the Watauga County Voting Rights Task Force, on behalf of the Watauga County Democratic Party.

Bill Aceto, Republican board member was present as was the BOE directory Jane Ann Hodges.

Alex Jones on Pat McCrory

Governor Liability.

Despite (false) hopes of a reset, the governor continues to damage himself and his party. The evidence is it will continue. Like Charlotte’s business oligarchy, of which McCrory is so fond, bank on it.

This reminds me of the diggers and fillers we had back at the Naval Academy. They were the guys who dug holes and filled them up again, usually to fix things, but often to break things.

In this case, McCrory's the digger. Duke Energy, the Chamber, and Art Pope? They're the fillers. Same as it ever was.

On business ethics and other oxymorons

From an LTE in the Char-O:

Separation of government and business is important to prevent abuse of influence and power by the parties to these alliances. Without protections, we are at risk of our nation’s local, state, and federal governments of being controlled by the increasing influence of government-business relationships. Those relationships subject citizens to ever-increasing and unnecessary government excesses.

The author (a doctor) makes some pretty good points, but he appears to be placing the blame more on the advent of income taxes than on the politicians and businessmen who engage in this "abuse of influence and power." He also (like many other critics of incentives) ignores the private-sector elephant in NC's living room, the creation of the Economic Development Partnership, a group of influential businessmen that will be playing around with taxpayer dollars. Which is leaps and bounds more screwed up than traditional government incentive approaches, and opens up several huge Pandora's Boxes of ethical concerns. But instead of talking about a real-world ethical monster, we get this ideological jibber-jabber:

Breaking: NC voucher scheme ruled unconstitutional

http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/21/4086127_judge-finds-nc-voucher-pr...

The challengers have described the program as a broad assault on the state’s public schools. They also contend it violates fundamental provisions of the state constitution. Hobgood agreed Thursday that the program also violates the state constitution.

The state received more than 5,500 applications for vouchers before a February ruling in which Hobgood froze distribution of the funds. Hobgood said that he had heard enough evidence to question the constitutionality and allowed the lawsuit to proceed despite requests for a dismissal.

Daily dose

THE SPIILL
Environmentalists slam new coal ash bill (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Critics of compromise coal ash legislation agreed to by North Carolina House and Senate conferees faulted the measure Wednesday for allowing the toxic material to remain in place at most of Duke Energy’s leaking dumps. The legislation requires the removal of ash within five years from the utility’s Asheville plant and three other facilities, but would let the material be capped in place at 10 other plants if they are deemed “low risk” by a new commission.
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/08/20/environmentalis...

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Call Terminex: 12th State Forum infestation discovered

It's hard to imagine a more privileged gang of upper-crust conservatives than those who are founding members of The 12th State Forum. Take a look for yourself.

And then consider the contradictions. 12SF promises itself to be above partisanship, working only for North Carolina, yet 100% of its leadership are Republican hacks and operatives. 12SF says it wants prosperity for all, and yet it advocates policies that have been proven again and again to divide, conquer, and perpetuate a permanent underclass here in North Carolina. And of course, they're all white fratboys.

It must be said that 12SF has positioned itself between a rock and a hard place. As they try to preserve shrinking influence in our growing population, they will inevitably become more strident, more afraid, and more dangerous.

Propaganda from their website:

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