Raleigh News and Observer

Art Pope celebrates Tax Day

Art Pope, NC's Budget Director and purchaser of elections, editorializes in the latest News and Observer on how NC's tax reforms are a "benefit to working families".

We'll make a few observations and, first off, thank the News and Observer for publishing an editorial from the "horse's mouth", rather than one of the usual surrogates from Pope's Civitas or Locke Foundation stinktanks. However, we did notice this little tagline at the end of the PopeEd:

Art Pope is the state budget director and a former member of the N.C. House of Representatives.

Funny ... I didn't notice any disclaimer on Pope's piece, noting that he didn't speak for our state government, like other state employees have to do. Did Pope have to clear the op-ed with his boss like these other employees?

Well, let's see what the Popester has to say about tax reform:

Gene Nichol: NC must struggle for decency

Nichol: NC must struggle for decency on five fronts

Whether it comes from an awakened Democratic Party, a suddenly humane Republican one or from forces outside both camps, North Carolina is called to right itself - in an impassioned battle to define its future.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion-views/#storylink=cpy from law professor and guest columnist for the N&O, Gene Nichol of UNC-Chapel Hill.

Coal ash spill could push NC to move more aggressively

Coal ash spill could push NC to move more aggressively

North Carolina’s massive coal ash spill into the Dan River this month was decades in the making. But for much of that period, the lagoons where ash is stored attracted little attention or regulatory oversight.

In the past five years, that attitude slowly started to change, as it became increasingly clear that Duke Energy’s coal ash pits across the state were leaching toxins into the environment.

The blowout at a Duke lagoon near Eden on Feb. 2 has refocused attention on the power company’s 14 ash storage sites and raised a host of questions about how Duke and state regulators have dealt with an issue that was known to pose serious risks to the environment.

Read more at the Raleigh News and Observer. This is a long, comprehensive report.

Voting Rights Scandal in North Carolina

Cross-post from Daily Kos (by-line Justice and Hope):

Public boosterism in North Carolina for years has flourished as popular magazines selected North Carolina as a top choice as a place to live year after year. Now North Carolinians are seeing another side of being in the news frequently, as our state and local governments make national news--and not in a good way.

MSNBC has led the media pack with almost nightly stories of voter laws gone awry and students who have voted before being told they can no longer vote where they go to college. Rachel Maddow has excelled at getting this story before her viewers...

Dix Campus Action Plan: Why was it killed?

Dix Campus Action Plan: Why was it killed?

The Raleigh News and Observer and WRAL TV and WRAL.com have repeatedly quoted those who claim the Dix Property lease that was signed in December was the direct culmination of eight or more years work. But WRAL reported on another proposal that would have involved NC State University in a joint venture for future use of the Dix Campus. The N&O then also wrote in December 2012 about the Dix Campus Action Plan. WRAL’s Laura Leslie obtained the Plan from the Governor’s office according to emails I have just obtained from NCSU--after requesting them 12/12/2012.

Letter to the editor: re Dix Lease Bill HB319

Letter to the Editor, Raleigh News and Observer
March 16. 2013

While I acknowledge that HB319 is an unusual piece of legislation and not a good precedent in some ways, I support the Dix Lease bills and the sponsors who introduced them. Theirs is a far more fair and balanced approach to dealing with the Dix Campus than that of the Democrats in the legislature and on the Council of State in recent years.The elected members of the Council of State rushed to approve the lease and ignored anyone who gave any argument against the proposal that came from the Raleigh group, the so-called "Dix Visionaries."

What God do these people claim to believe in?

1 John 3:17-18

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

___________________________________________

So, after the deplorable acts of recklessness of this week, do "our" demonstratively heartless Governor and his rich, freedom-fried buddies in the NC House and Senate claim to be Christian? Can they do something in the interests of the people of North Carolina they are supposedly "serving?" All I've seen them do for their fellow man is to limit and deny care to the sick and the poor.

States Rights and the NCGA

Republican lawmakers say the bills reflect a desire to assert states’ rights and tell the federal government to “stay out of our business,” said Rep. Mike Hager, a top-ranking House Republican from Rutherfordton.

“I think at some point we’ve got to draw the line,” he said. “The 10th Amendment is in the Constitution, and we need to exercise our rights under the Constitution.”

Critics said the GOP is hurting working-class people, people without jobs, and the economy, all for the sake of ideology.

“The best I can read it, it’s an ideological play to their base,” said Sen. Josh Stein, a Raleigh Democrat.

Refusing to implement provisions of the Affordable Care Act places North Carolina within the sphere of states that have gone as far as they can to reject the law.

from the Raleigh N&O Thursday:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2013/01/30/2644718/gop-lawmakers-assert-stat...

N&O prepares pay wall for online access

From the IndyWeek: News & Observer prepares pay wall to charge users for online access. Looks like we'll soon have yet another reason to avoid linking to N&O articles.

Kudos to the News & Observer

I've been trying to keep my eye on editorials lately, but this one from a few days ago slipped by me:

When individuals make political contributions, at least they are making a personal sacrifice of sorts. But a CEO initiating an ad campaign for or against a candidate will simply be making a business decision as to how his company's funds should be invested in light of the potential payback. If the payback is favorable legislative treatment that could mean big savings in, say, avoidance of pollution controls, then the decision in the boardroom is likely to be, "Go for it!"

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