Tuesday News: Seceding from reality edition


Confederate flag spotted atop Asheville construction crane (AP) -- An Asheville construction worker has climbed to the top of a crane to remove a Confederate flag that had been placed there.

Confrontation over Confederate flag leads to gun pointing in Hickory (Charlotte Observer) -- A teen was flying the flag from his pickup truck

After failure to disenfranchise voters, Trudy Wade goes after environment


Defending the indefensible:

That measure, included in the Senate’s version of the Regulatory Reform Act of 2015, would eliminate all air-quality monitoring not required by federal law. A chart released recently by the state Division of Air Quality suggests that could knock out 58 of the 115 testing devices that environmental regulators currently check at a total of 50 test stations across the state, screening for such pollutants as ozone, air toxics, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, lead, nitrate and various types of particulate matter.

“It would strengthen it, I would think,” she said of the bill’s impact on air-quality, “because it would put it at the local level where you could identify where a problem is coming from.”

She's said a lot of stupid things recently, but this one might take the anti-science cake. It's like saying you should get rid of the carbon monoxide detectors in your home, because they don't tell you which specific appliance or air circulation problem is trying to kill you. The Senate's rewrite of these bills are so bad not a single House vote was cast in their favor:

Monday News: The witch and the lion-killer version


LaRoque: My prosecution was 'a witch hunt' (WRAL-TV) -- Days before he begins serving a two-year prison sentence for misdirecting federal funds, former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque said Sunday that he was the target of a "witch hunt" by adversaries who sought to criminalize him.

Celia Rivenbark: The odd couple of doctor hunters (Wilmington Star-News column) -- I imagine there is nowhere safe for Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer to hide now that everyone knows he essentially killed the Lion King.

Coastal residents up in arms about offshore drilling


And the un-democratic approach of local lawmakers:

Some 300 people showed up at the town hall that Monday evening, filling the meeting room and spilling into the parking lot. Angry locals waited as long as two hours to confront Mayor Dean Lambeth, who recently had signed a letter to the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, endorsing a move to begin seismic testing for oil and gas deposits off the North Carolina coast. The letter had been written by America's Energy Forum, an arm of the American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas industry lobby group. Lambeth had signed it, lending his endorsement as the mayor of Kure Beach, without any public debate.

It's a good bet a lot of those angry locals rely on tourism for their livelihoods, even if they're not environmentalists in the classic sense. And the last thing you want to do as a small-town Mayor is piss off small business owners. They can flip a local election in the amount of time it takes to say, "Start packing your stuff, we may have to leave town." And it doesn't take much to spread that outrage statewide:

Brown's "historical blindness" on sales tax redistribution

Reducing the story to Tweet-size makes lying much easier:

Brown has blasted that 2007 decision repeatedly in recent weeks. “It killed 83 counties across the state,” he said. “What this bill does is correct that wrong. It helps those rural counties that got kicked in the teeth in 2007.”

He’s also been critical of the legislature’s leaders at that time, who happened to be Democrats. “The leadership that year led efforts that robbed and redistributed money from poor rural counties to rich urban counties,” he said.

Makes a good sound byte, but that's not what happened. I'll let one of Brown's fellow Republicans 'splain it:

Sunday News: Skvarla's double talk, Ross-Shuler match up?

John Skvarla: Job-creation incentives aren't handouts (Fayetteville Observer column) -- In less than five months, North Carolina's flagship business recruitment tool is scheduled to sunset. Since 2003, the Job Development Investment Grant program has played a key role in bringing high-wage jobs in manufacturing, financial services, life sciences, I/T and other industries to the state while supporting companies such as Caterpillar, GE, Siemens Energy and many others as they grew existing operations here.

Did Randall Kerrick plan on abusing or shooting black suspect?

It sure looks like it:

Officer Kerrick admitted that he had not fired any warning shots and had not ordered Mr. Ferrell to show his hands. He also acknowledged that he intentionally turned off his cruiser’s dashboard camera when he arrived.

“This was not just any call,” Officer Kerrick said. “This was a priority breaking-and-entering call at 2:30 in the morning with the homeowner inside the house.”

“It wasn’t an important enough call to you to leave your D.M.V.R. on, right?” Ms. Postell asked, referring to his dashboard-mounted video recorder.


Enough said. When you take a step like this to knowingly conceal your future actions, for fear they will be deemed illegal, that is (or should be) classified as "intent," if not premeditation. And once again, one of the most important witnesses of this incident cannot take the stand.

DENR Secretary engaging in campaign politics

Joining the GOP bandwagon in viciously attacking Roy Cooper:

In a puzzling move, Cooper is putting his support behind the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which is estimated to cost consumers and businesses $41 billion or more per year. According to Energy Ventures Analysis, the average North Carolina household’s electricity and gas bill would increase by $434 in 2020, a 22 percent hike over current rates. Cooper, in essence, supports the takeover of North Carolina’s energy-generation system.

We do not share Cooper’s belief that the federal EPA is the best guardian of North Carolina’s economic and environmental interests. We prefer to allow North Carolina to continue to build on its significant record of environmental protection.

In this ten paragraph op-ed, van der Vaart references the Attorney General ten times, proving he is more concerned with scoring political points than discussing environmental issues. As to Energy Ventures Analysis, your initial assumption is correct, dear reader. The group has deep ties to the coal industry, something a "scholar" like van der Vaart should have spotted a mile away:

Five things everyone should understand about North Carolina's Monster Voting Law trial

by Kelly Fetty

Last month the legislation pundits and press have called North Carolina's "monster" voting law spawned a monster trial in the Middle District of North Carolina. For three weeks, national and international media watched as 47 witnesses testified either live or on video, and more than a dozen experts presented thousands of pages of evidence before Judge Thomas D. Schroeder in courtroom #2 of the Hiram H. Ward Federal building in downtown Winston-Salem.

It would be impossible to summarize a month-long trial in a single post. Instead, I've settled on five core concepts that are central to the case. Understanding these concepts will help BlueNC readers navigate the legal logic of the trial — and, eventually, Judge Schroeder's written decision.

Before I go on, a caveat: I'm not a lawyer or a law student. I'm a person who writes and who attended every day of the trial. My understanding of these concepts comes from my own background research before attending the trial and from the day-in, day-out observation of the lawyers arguing the case.


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