NC GOP

Wesley Meredith's Medicaid ghost haunting him mercilessly

This house (Senate, whatever) is not clea-uh:

This week Meredith’s Democratic opponent, Billy Richardson, accused the senator of collecting Medicaid benefits for his then-newborn son back in 1996 and 1997, despite the fact that Meredith had a (barely) six-figure income at the time. Richardson even has the documents, including copies of tax returns and Medicaid cards, to back up his story.

The Cumberland County Republican Party on Wednesday went with the latter theory, issuing a statement blasting Meredith for “financially abandon[ing] his wife and child,” before later deleting the post. Maybe because later that same day, Meredith’s ex-wife put out a statement that said, naw mang, he didn’t financially abandon me, we signed up for Medicaid together!

You gotta love Wonkette. When they come across stupid people, they're not afraid to have a little fun with them. As for Senator Meredith, take him out of the oven, 'cause he's done. If you're a Republican, it's okay to rip off investors or pocket big cash donations from out-of-state indicted gamblers, but when you get caught hitching a ride on the Welfare gravy train, you've crossed the Rubicon and will be tarred, feathered, rode out of town on a rail, and forced to wear a scarlet M. The "M" stands for Moocher, by the way.

McCrory backs Troxler on banning guns from state fair

Increasing the likelihood of Paul Valone's head exploding from rage and frustration:

Gov. Pat McCrory doesn’t want to allow guns into the N.C. State Fair, according to his office. That means he’s supporting Steve Troxler, the head of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, in trying to uphold a ban on firearms at the Fair in the face of a potential legal challenge.

Troxler is a supporter of the right to carry a concealed firearm, but believes that guns would be detrimental to the Fair’s family-friendly environment, he said at a press briefing on Tuesday. McCrory supports that position, according to Josh Ellis, a spokesman for the governor. “Commissioner Troxler called the governor yesterday to discuss the situation. The governor agrees with the commissioner’s conclusion,” Ellis wrote in an email on Wednesday night.

Just a warning to the Gubernatorial staff: You can expect a barrage of nasty phone calls incited by Grass Roots NC and NC Renegade, and you should record every single one of them for security purposes. There may be some e-mails as well, but it's hard to bark and growl in an electronic format

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke Energy to recreate the wheel, says it has a rounder version in mind

Reassessing water that's already been reassessed:

Duke Energy has met its first deadline under the regulatory framework codified in the state’s new coal ash law, providing regulators with detailed plans for assessing the groundwater issues at its 14 operating and retired coal plants.

Environmental groups have criticized the state for requiring the new assessment program. They contend the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources already has evidence of leaks from Duke coal ash ponds into groundwater.

There is abundant evidence that Duke Energy's water quality testing protocol is miserably flawed. Both DWQ and third party testing have found much higher concentrations of toxins than reported by the utility, so all this reassessment will accomplish is more conflicting data, and more delays for remediation. Future headline: "Duke Energy tests have confirmed coal ash ponds much safer than previously reported."

Something fishy going on with coastal Republicans

Apparently enforcing the law is bad for somebody's business:

The state budget, echoing a directive from the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission, gave Dr. Louis Daniel, NCDMF’s executive director, the authority to enter into an Joint Enforcement Agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service that would provide the state with an estimated $600,000 per year to allow the marine patrol and NMFS enforcement officers to respond to fisheries violations in either state or federal waters off North Carolina.

But Daniel is apparently waiting on directions from John Skvarla, director of the NCDMF’s parent N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, before doing anything. And Skvarla is apparently waiting for an okay from Gov. Pat McCrory. Why? Six weeks ago, Daniel, Skvarla, McCrory, Rep. Thom Tillis (speaker of the state house and a candidate for the U.S. Senate) and Sen. Rep. Phil Berger (president of the state senate) received a letter from 10 Republican legislators expressing their opposition to the JEA, despite its having been part of the budget that was passed by both Republican-controlled houses of the legislature.

They cut the Fishery's enforcement budget in lieu of receiving these Federal dollars, and now they're trying to block that partnership. And the only logical reason is: The big commercial fishing operations are profiting from violations of the law, and they want to sink the boats of those who are tasked with enforcing them. Law and order, indeed.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

We'll start today's edition with a call to words:

Just a heads-up: The MEC is going through these comments like a Florida Republican elections board, with an eye towards discarding anything that "lacks relevance." Or some such nonsense. So if all you have to say is, "Fracking is bad!", you need to do some more thinking and expound on that idea.

NC's environment suffers under voting public's lack of concern

Callous disregard or guilty conscience?

It’s been a big year for environmental news in North Carolina. First there was a major coal ash spill into the Dan River in February that raised concerns about water quality. And there’s been a push for more hydraulic fracturing – better known as “fracking.” It’s led to packed houses at town hall meetings across the region.

But these issues aren’t likely to change the political landscape. That’s according to Jason Husser. He’s an assistant professor of political science at Elon University and also works on the university’s poll. He spoke with WFDD’s Paul Garber about where the environment ranks among voters and where it could make a difference.

This is not surprising. For years, polls have steadily shown that only about 3% of voters put environmental concerns at the top of their list of most important issues. That may have increased slightly in the wake of the spill and the looming fracking problems, but hoping it will be a major factor in November is probably naïve. I explored some of the reasons for this in an op-ed I wrote earlier in the year:

Liddy Dole pens op-ed in favor of women's history museum

Reinforcing the stopped-clock theory:

The achievements and contributions of women, as individuals and collectively, are woefully missing from much of U.S. history. Is it any wonder that women throughout the nation have struggled to “lean in”? If the critical and indispensable contributions that women have made to our nation were woven into mainstream U.S. history, they would already be in.

To date, we have seen countless Democrats and Republicans come together to support the advancement of this important project. And yet opposition remains among a few members in the Senate.

Of course, being the loyal-to-the-last-breath GOP hack that she is, Dole doesn't supply readers the information they actually need, the names and/or political parties of those "few members" of the Senate. Who are (big surprise) right-wing extremist Republicans:

N&R continues to apologize for Mark Walker's crazy talk

If it walks like a Tea Party duck:

Mark Walker does not think Barack Obama may declare martial or Sharia law. He does not really believe the president has been spending billions of dollars — with a B! — on family vacations. He doesn’t actually have no qualms about bombings at the border that could start a war with Mexico. But he still says these things. Why?

Because there’s something in him that wants to please a crowd, be it a Tea Party rally or a small clutch of cynical journalists. He can’t help himself. He gets carried away. And that makes for some great performances — but it doesn’t help you understand who he really is, what he really thinks.

You have to say one thing about the News & Record: They are loyal to their locally-brewed candidates. If I had to place my bet this very moment, I would say the paper is going to (unwisely) endorse Mark Walker in the race for the NC-06 seat. All this hand-wringing about Walker being a really good guy but a "naïve" politician is likely cover for the real issue: Mark Walker has been a preacher and civic leader in Greensboro, while Laura Fjeld hails from way over there in Orange County. Case closed.

Fighting to keep Titan Cement air quality monitor in place

The anatomy of a deregulatory nightmare:

For Castle Hayne air advocates, the most worrisome proposals from the Legislature came this year. State legislators proposed to eliminate all air monitors that are not specifically required by federal environmental regulators and to limit citizens' ability to challenge air permits in court, taking away two important tools used by citizens to challenge projects they deem risky to public health. The changes were never enacted.

The air monitor provision would have eliminated an air monitor that lies across the road from the proposed cement plant and next to an experimental field for different varieties of blueberries. The monitor is 11 miles from downtown Wilmington and measures concentrations of ozone, particulate matter and other pollutants. The other provision would have hampered advocates' ability to challenge the cement plant permit's allowances of toxic air pollutants.

The battle over the Titan Cement plant is not about a handful of overzealous advocates trying to hold back industrial growth. The coal-burning monstrosity will increase the entire state's atmospheric mercury emissions by almost 10%, and it will be located in an area that is already saturated by industrial air and water pollutants. Read the entire article, it's a good one.

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