NC fast food worker's strike tomorrow morning

Daily dose: "Stepping on toes" edition

Whose toes are bruised? (Greensboro News & Record column) -- The 2016 election is 23 months away, but Pat McCrory already has his campaign website up and an upbeat video about his accomplishments as governor. Unbelievably, its first statement is to repeat the fairy tale that he's been "stepping on toes" of Democrats and Republicans alike. It's his toes that have been stepped on, prompting him to file a lawsuit against legislative leaders of his own party. The lawsuit was a substitute for using the power of his office -- the veto stamp -- to block legislation he didn't like. When it comes to maintaining a balance of power with the legislative branch, the executive is losing. At the same time, he seems to be happy to claim credit for a teacher pay plan approved by the legislature that was not what he proposed and tax cuts that were not "revenue-neutral" as he said he wanted. He continues to tout a "Carolina Comeback" that many parts of the state are not feeling. While North Carolina no longer has the nation's fifth-highest unemployment rate, which certainly was unacceptable, and finally has regained the jobs lost during the recession, many more people are unemployed than in 2007 -- and their unemployment benefits are much less. Furthermore, our labor force has actually declined since the beginning of 2013, despite population growth.

Another black man's life wasted

Sharon McCloskey at NC Policy Watch has a heart-breaking report today about a likely miscarriage of justice, fueled by racism and prosecutorial zeal. It's one of Mike Easley's most damnable legacies.

Their first attempt at a conviction resulted in a mistrial. A second trial followed, conducted this time by a young and ambitious prosecutor named Michael Easley who got the verdict the state sought. That was in 1978.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Charah and the "beneficial" use of CCRs

From your sidewalk to your dinner table, the coal ash could end up anywhere:

It's a Thursday, November 3, 2011 afternoon in Frankfort. State legislators on the Natural Resources and Environment Committee are having their little meeting. (minutes) Questions are getting answers. Oh, and Danny Gray, president of Charah®, Inc. he's there.

Question: "Is coal ash fed to livestock?"

"Commissioner Scott said no. However, Commissioner Scott noted that research is currently being done using CCRs (Coal Combustion Residuals) in gardening, and it could be considered a beneficial re-use." Gray, who probably has about zero environmental credentials, also volunteered, "CCRs can be used in wallboard, cement, and in forage crops."

Bolding mine. The company that is planning to dump store Duke Energy-generated coal ash in Lee County is also an industry leader in finding profitable ways to sweep this toxic stuff under the rug. Or beside the River:

When is a dump not a dump?

It's a great big hole in the ground that's going to be filled with waste materials. Lee County officials say that's a dump. State officials say it's not.

Lee commissioners’ chairman Charlie Parks says the Duke-Charah plan appears to be a safe use for ash – except for what they call it.

“We think this is a landfill like anything else,” he said. “You can call it what you want, but it’s a hole in the ground and you’re filling it up.”

AP US History debate: Dancing to an idiot's music

I can't believe they're even listening to this guy:

"These professors had an agenda. We've already alluded to it. Basically, they saw America not as an exceptional nation but one nation among many in a global society," said Larry Krieger, a former high school history teacher and opponent of the standards.

Krieger, who has authored a test preparation book on the AP exam and written critiques of the new course for conservative websites such as, has become one of the leading voices calling for additions to the AP U.S. history guidelines. He also argues that the new guidelines are incomplete – failing to include study of important historical documents such as the Magna Carta.

Dude, the Magna Carta was penned eight hundred years ago across the Atlantic Ocean, long before Europeans "discovered" America, and even longer before they rose slightly above their ignorance and declared it independent of the crown. If you taught that document in your US History class, that goes a long way to explaining the "former high school history teacher" status.

Peter Principle: Decker takes a hike, Skvarla continues slopping at the public trough

Oh my. Pat McCrory is tearful, tearful I tell you, now that Sharon Decker is leaving the Department of Commerce to spend more time doing her nails. Which makes room for John Skvarla to come to the rescue of the beleaguered department, just like he did at DENR. This would be the same John Skvarla who has made a career of exploiting government funding for personal gain.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

And all the little fishies jumped into the air in celebration:

I hesitate to celebrate just yet, but it would be a challenge for McCrory to find somebody worse than Skvarla to run DENR.

Everyone is asking the same question

Who picks the winners: Party or people?

In the ideal view of American government, voters choose the leaders who will guide their states and country. But some say the way U.S. House and state legislative districts are drawn has turned that idea on its head: Every 10 years, the party in power picks which voters incumbents will face in the next election. Results of this year's general election have once again fueled concerns about North Carolina's redistricting process, one in which the state General Assembly draws lines for U.S. House and legislative districts once a decade. Exactly half of all 120 state Houses races in November featured only one candidate. In the Senate, 19 of 50 races had just the one candidate. Only 30-40 of the remaining seats in the two chambers were truly "in play," meaning either candidate had a realistic chance of winning, according to state political experts


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