Rampant sexual harassment in Mark Meadows' staff office

And he knew all about it:

According to a report in the Huffington Post on Monday, Meadows was told by multiple women about his chief of staff’s behavior in March. The report says Meadows barred West from his D.C. office but reassigned him to an office in the 11th congressional district, and continued paying him; West has since been released with a “sizable severance.”

The report says that payments made to West after the complaints were filed—a full of rate of $38,750 for the period of April 1 through June 30, and continued payment through August 15—could have violated House Ethics rules. The Foundation of Accountability and Civic Trust has asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate West’s severance payment.

Gee, thanks. Send him back home so he can harass a whole new set of women, all the while drawing a six-figure salary from taxpayers. Many of whom are also women, by the way, which adds one more layer of WTF to this story. And once all the threads from this debacle get unraveled, Meadows himself may be the subject of ridicule:

Conflicts of interest abound in NC Fracking "regulation"

Starting with the suppression of local government:

Before adjourning their session last week, North Carolina lawmakers passed a law prohibiting towns, cities and counties from adopting any regulations or ordinances on natural gas drilling or the controversial practice commonly known as fracking.

The provision appears to have put the kibosh on efforts by the city of Sanford and the Lee County commissioners, who had wanted to consider additional regulations of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.

For those who have been following this issue closely, it will come as no surprise that Lee County is the epicenter of this legal earthquake. Between coal ash dumps and being in the crosshairs of frackers due to likely shale deposits, citizens are understandably concerned. But it's also home to a small group of influential pro-frackers determined to enrich themselves and their friends, no matter the environmental cost:

Blistering editorial on #NCGA big-government bullying tactics

And the courage of those who stood up to them:

Before ending its session early Wednesday morning, members of the legislature took one more crack at government overreach, trying to pass measures that would limit the authority and decision-making ability of local city and county governments. And they did so through underhanded methods that should put them to shame.

Fortunately, watchdogs from the media and advocacy groups, as well as other legislators, were paying attention, and the Rules Committee killed the bill.

Unfortunately, there have been many more bills that weren't killed in Committee, that passed floor votes, and were signed by the Governor, that were just as deserving of shame as this piece of Legislation. Including this unnecessarily cruel attack on unemployed hungry people:

Art Pope's crusade against Eastern NC wind farm

Sure to earn him kudos at the next Koch Brothers retreat:

Jillanne Gigi Badawi and her husband Stephen Owens, residents of Perquimans County, are asking the N.C. Office of Administrative Hearings to force state regulators to subject the Amazon wind project to a new regulatory review. The couple is being aided by the Civitas Institute, a conservative think tank that has criticized renewable energy as a costly boondoggle.

Iberdrola has secured about a dozen permits, approvals and certificates for the wind farm. They include the N.C. Utilities Commission, state erosion-control and storm-water permits, county conditional use permits, and approval from the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse.

Talk about hypocrisy. Renewable energy apparently has the dubious honor of being the only business sector that faux-Libertarians in JLF and Civitas believe is not regulated enough. Maybe the puppets need another lecture from el Presidente John Hood:

Hog farmers upset with waterkeepers

These little piggies went to Raleigh:

The North Carolina Farm Families organization announced earlier this week that activists will gather Thursday at noon in Raleigh's Capitol Square to stand up for hog farmers in the face of recent billboard ads erected by the New York City-based environmental group Waterkeeper Alliance.

The activists say they have gathered 11,000 signatures for a petition in which residents affirm their support for the hog farmers.

Bolding mine. This approach to prejudicial language in public statements will henceforth be dubbed the "Pace Picante Sauce" gambit, in which you frighten country folk with references to New York City.

The power of working together

From an update on Facebook:

THE POWER OF COALITION WORK: When I woke up yesterday morning and checked my email around 6:45 AM, I had an email from Chris Sgro about an emergency staff meeting for Equality North Carolina that I was invited to regarding a sneaky attempt by members of our North Carolina General Assembly to try and stop cities and towns in North Carolina from enacting local ordinances that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT citizens in housing, employment and public accommodations. At 8:30 AM, we met and mobilized.

Considering the roughshod behavior exhibited by the current leadership in the General Assembly, it's very easy to become discouraged and feel completely powerless. But always keep in mind: The reason Republicans favor the "divide and conquer" approach to dealing with their detractors is because they fear the power of unity:

Coal Ash Wednesday: DEQ rolls over for $7 million


They might as well join Duke Energy's legal team:

The company is settling a fine from earlier this year for $7 million. The amount is short of what the state originally wanted, and it looks like Duke could get a lot more out of the agreement in the future. “And under the terms of that agreement, duke energy will pay $7 million and resolve all of the groundwater issues past, present and future at all 14 of our coal plants,” said Sheehan.

“It's one of those situations where if you're not outraged, you're not paying attention,” said Southern Environment Law Center Senior Attorney Frank Holleman.

Let's see, originally it was $25 million for just one plant, and now it's $7 million for the whole shebang. Yep, I'd say "outrageous" is not an overstatement. DEQ is either horrifically inept, or they're simply playing a part in a Kabuki theatre, like we've been speculating about since they first began to insinuate themselves into lawsuits against Duke Energy.

Rebuttal to muni-broadband opponents

And unlike some corporate puppets, this guy knows what he's talking about:

By supporting U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ legislation to remove local authority for building broadband networks, the two lawmakers are siding with big cable and telephone firms over their own communities.

It is hardly a secret that Time Warner Cable, AT&T, CenturyLink and others are investing too little in rural communities. The majority of residents and local businesses in North Carolina have no real choice today and can expect their bills to go up tomorrow.

And yes, he's responding to the op-ed we talked about a few months ago. As somebody who's running for local government office, I have had my fill of state legislators dictating what duly elected town/city officials can and cannot do. And now we can add US Senators to that list of meddling, power-hungry tyrants.


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