Gov. Pat McCrory

In-depth reporting on NC's looming offshore drilling fiasco

Coastal Review is rolling up its sleeves to cover all the bases:

This is the first of more than 40 stories that we will publish over the next two months on offshore drilling and its potential effects on the N.C. coast. In our most ambitious reporting project, seven reporters have spent several months talking to dozens of people trying to determine what drilling might mean to the state’s coastal environment, economy and lifestyle.

We’ll run the results of all that reporting on alternate weeks, starting this week with stories about the history of drilling in North Carolina, the geology of the Atlantic Ocean and why oil or gas might be out there, the federal process that manages offshore drilling and the politics in Raleigh that are promoting it.

We'll try to bring these installments to our readers here at BlueNC, but since that's over a year-and-a-half's-worth of articles, we may miss a few. I'd also like to issue a fair warning to the rest of the news media: Much of the information provided to them, especially from the Governor's office, will be heavily tainted by industry lobbyists. Not only do you need to double- and triple-check the data, you also need to expose the relationship that produced that tainted data:

McCrory headed to RGA "Corporate Policy Summit"

Another paid-for vacation for the Governor to forget to disclose:

Gov. Pat McCrory will be spending the next three days in Texas at the Republican Governor's Association spring meeting.

If you're wondering why that news brief is so brief don't wonder any longer. The RGA's activities are even more secretive that ALEC's, and their "Corporate Policy Summit" is the tightest-held secret of them all. And yes, it's exactly what it sounds like: Corporate lobbyists wining and dining Governors, promising them scads of money for their campaigns, and telling them all the government actions they need to do to acquire that money. And when you're ethically challenged like McCrory, it's like waking up on Christmas morning.

A closer look at NC DHHS' systemic voter suppression

This level of incompetence and non-compliance doesn't occur without some driving force:

North Carolina’s violations of Section 7 of the NVRA are demonstrated by multiple sources of information, including data reported by the NCSBE as well as the state Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS program forms, interviews conducted at North Carolina Department of Social Services (“DSS”) and Public Health (“WIC”) offices (collectively “DHHS offices”); and review of third-party contractor processes. Together, the sources of information reveal that DHHS is systematically failing to provide the voter registration services mandated by Section 7 the NVRA.

More lies from the master himself

And this time McCrory's lying to the US Congress:

Gov. Pat McCrory was in sync with this talking-points paradox Monday when he testified before a U.S. House committee in Washington. McCrory’s budget proposal depends on $475 million in increased gas tax revenues that will be available only if the legislature adopts the Senate plan or something similar. But when he spoke about the state’s need for more transportation money, he touted the legislature’s push for a short-term gas tax cut.

“I just supported an effort … to reduce the gas tax,” McCrory told the House committee, pumping his hand in a palm-down gesture to emphasize the point. “I supported an effort to stabilize the current funding source that we have now.”

Call it what it is, Bruce. It's not a "paradox," it's an outright lie. A lie that started with Phil Berger in the NC Senate and has now made its way to Washington, DC. And the reason such a blatant falsehood has made it so far is because our media outlets can't bring themselves to challenge Republican leaders for their casual twisting of the truth. It would be funny if it wasn't so ominous.

McCrory praises state parks while slashing their budget

Another chorus of "to seem rather than to be.":

I attended a low-key ceremony at Umstead State Park in Raleigh where Gov. Pat McCrory eloquently described our 40 state parks as indicators of our quality of life and explained why “parks are important to people who are struggling.”

Apparently, the governor’s budget writers missed the speech. Two days later, McCrory released his budget, which proposes cutting appropriations for the parks’ operating budget by up to $3.3 million for 2015-16 and a whopping $7.1 million for fiscal year 2016-17.

This is par for the course for Republicans: A lot of happy talk praising something all citizens appreciate, soon followed by an attack on that something. And the fact that most television news outlets cover the former but fail to mention the latter has merely fueled that patently deceptive practice. Instead of getting paid, the parks people get a proclamation:

WRAL: McCrory's workers compensation stats questioned

Good work by Mark Binker and Cullen Browder:

Gov. Pat McCrory's claim that more 40 percent of the costs associated with workers compensation claims filed by state employees were related to fraud and abuse is raising skeptical questions from lawyers, union representatives and academics familiar with the issue.

"Our examination of workers compensation estimates that 40 percent of workers costs are related to abuse or outright fraud," McCrory said Wednesday night during the State of the State address. He used that figure to announce a shift in how those claims are handled and declare a new program to fight workers compensation waste.

The WRAL reporters made contacts with the DOI and the Industrial Commission to get confirmation of the statistics McCrory used in his speech Wednesday. They could not find anyone who would or could could make those figures available. They even contacted an academic, who said the only figures he had seen were not even close to 40%--they were more like 2-3%.

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