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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Unintended consequences of gerrymandering

Most people have now heard about the NC GOP mutiny against Thom Tillis in the failure of House bill 1224.

Why couldn't Tillis corral his Republican caucus? He rules through fear and intimidation, and it's rare that his party colleagues cross him.

Well, perhaps the very gerrymandering that put him in his position of power also cost him the ability to get what he wants when the stakes are high.

“[Tillis] is one of the most criticized speakers in modern times and, because of redistricting, does not hold the same degree of power over caucus members through controlling huge amounts of campaign money that people need for reelection,” [Meredith College political science expert David] McLennan said.

The struggle to save Pungo Hospital continues

Seeking help from the courts:

Last Thursday, in a Beaufort County Superior Court case that took place in Wilson, Judge Milton Fitch, Jr. granted the town’s request for a temporary restraining order, keeping Vidant Health and Pantego Creek, LLC, who objected to the ruling, from removing equipment from the building, shutting off the building’s utility service or demolishing the building, said Town Attorney John Tate.

“The town was concerned that equipment was going out of the building and they were preparing for demolition,” Tate said. “On Wednesday, a crane showed up at the hospital and that looked quite ominous to us so we filed for a temporary restraining order that will simply keep the hospital intact while we work out a solution.”

This conflict should force us to re-evaluate the way we approach the nexus of health care and the private sector. When your "business" has a major impact on the lives and health of a large percentage of the community, a P&L statement should not be sufficient evidence to plunge that community into a life-threatening crisis. This problem is screaming for a statutory solution, but I shudder to think what the GOP-controlled NCGA would come up with. They'd probably authorize Vidant to demolish Town Hall.

Coal Ash Wednesday: "cap and leak" plan moves forward

Stick a Band-Aid on it and do a victory dance:

The legislation mandates that ash be excavated at only four of Duke’s 14 North Carolina coal-fired power plants. “Low-risk” ponds can be capped in place without removing ash. A moratorium on Duke seeking rate hikes to pay for coal ash cleanup would expire in January 2015, as the Senate bill had stated. The House had pushed for the moratorium to end in December 2016.

Contaminated groundwater has been found near ash ponds at all of Duke’s coal plants. The Southern Environmental Law Center said the committee changes seek “to weaken existing law and protect Duke Energy from taking responsibility for its coal ash waste.”

“Allowing coal ash to be left in unlined, leaking pits across North Carolina with documented groundwater contamination at each site is not a cleanup plan nor does it protect the people of North Carolina,” the center said.

This isn't a compromise bill, it's the bastard child of a horrible plan and an already compromised plan. And the only reason it's moving forward is political in nature, so Republicans won't get punished in November for doing nothing.

Bullshit

McCrory and the NCGOP now proudly claim:

How about this one? The North Carolina General Assembly now contains the biggest bunch of liars in the history of the Old North State.

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