Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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LEGISLATURE'S BUDGET: MORE COMFORT FOR THE COMFORTABLE: Want to know what the priorities and motives are for the leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly? The budgets produced by the state House and Senate provide a clear view. The themes are consistent in both documents -- those who already have the most, get even more. And those with the greatest need are considered freeloaders who refuse to work and want to bilk state government to finance their indolence. So what if we prevent 500,000 people from getting health insurance? They could get a job if they just tried – particularly the elderly and children. How responsible is it to continue to spend millions on private school vouchers when there is practically no accountability or transparency in where the money goes nor how the students perform academically? Not to mention that some of the schools discriminate on admissions.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-legislature-s-budget-more-comfort-for-the-comfortable/16735398/

The General Assembly's latest Jordan Lake boondoggle: Algaecide

Because what could possibly go wrong dumping dangerous chemicals into the drinking water?

A year after state environmental regulators called the SolarBees experiment a failure, state lawmakers are trying another unproven method to control pollution in Jordan Lake.

The $22.9 billion budget that the House approved early Friday includes a $1.3 million provision requiring the Department of Environmental Quality to use chemicals that either kill algae or bind with phosphorus, which algae feeds on. The technique is usually used in ponds and small lakes, not in a body of water as large as Jordan Lake.

This marks the ninth year since the Jordan Lake Rules were developed by state water quality specialists and approved by the EPA, and it also marks nine years of whining, plotting, and the embracing of pseudo-science in order to avoid implementation of those rules. And of course, since Crisis = Opportunity, revolving-door Republicans are also lining their pockets over this institutional aversion to responsible governing:

Saturday News: AHCA dead in the Senate?

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BURR SAYS NO HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL LIKELY THIS YEAR: U.S. Sen. Richard Burr said Thursday he doesn’t expect the Senate to agree on a comprehensive plan to repeal and replace Obamacare by the end of the year. Burr, the Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said the America Health Care Act the House passed is “dead on arrival” in the Senate and “it’s not a good plan.” In May, Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis told a conservative group in downtown Raleigh that he and his colleagues in the Senate would wait for a nonpartisan financial analysis of the health bill to be released, but that they would work to address needed changes to the House version of the bill. “I’m confident we’re going to get a bill to the president’s desk,” Tillis said at the time.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article15...

Coca-Cola, Duke Energy, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Sponsoring Violent Hate Speech

Facing South has the news that the Civitas Institute is holding the Art Pope backed Conservative Leadership Conference in mid-June in Raleigh.

North Carolina's right-wing propaganda problem

A plethora of bent "news" organizations are dotting the landscape:

Few are the issues where the differences between conservatives and leftists are more striking than those involving air and water. Under the Obama administration, policies were put in place in the name of environmental stewardship that highlight these issues. One such policy is the Clean Power Plan, and another is the Waters of the U.S. Rule.

Unfortunately, the Cooper administration is clearly taking the side of these Obama-era regulations, despite their potential for harming North Carolina.

Mark Shiver and the "NC Capitol Connection" is an offshoot of the Civitas Institute, which has been seeking to expand its influence via the creation of "fresh new" media outlets with names not directly associated with Art Pope's traditional propaganda factories. Aside from churning out misleading observations and analyses about NC's political environment, Shiver is a frequent flyer of the ncpol Twitter feed, linking to his own drivel and (of course) anything crafted by JLF/Civitas. Another of these new propaganda outlets is the North State Journal:

Friday News: Mixed messages

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PENTAGON WORRIED ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE, EVEN IF TRUMP IS NOT: President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement puts him at odds with the Pentagon, which has been warning for years that climate change poses a critical national security threat. At his confirmation hearing, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis called climate change a “driver of instability” that “requires a broader, whole-of-government response.” For more than a decade, military leaders have said that extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels are aggravating social tensions, destabilizing regions and feeding the rise of extremist groups like al Qaida and the Islamic State.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article153908859.html

Majority of NC House opposes moratorium on wind energy

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Hopefully they will stick to their guns and keep it out of Budget compromise:

The state Senate’s budget plan took an ax to the Department of Environmental Quality, while the House dipped in with a scalpel, setting up major differences to bridge when the two sides sit down to negotiate a final spending deal. In all, the Senate wants to eliminate a total of 45.5 positions, most of them currently filled. The House plan retains the assistance and customer service and education programs and only cuts 6.5 positions that are currently vacant.

What House budget writers did cut is aimed at a handful of programs and special provisions championed by their Senate counterparts, including a provision pushed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, that would impose a moratorium on new wind energy projects through 2020, a move that has the backing of some House members, but has been strongly opposed by a majority of its members.

This is critical. A 3-year moratorium would set us behind, and those projects will not wait for us to come to our senses, they will go to another state. And who knows what the investment environment will be like after 2020; we might never have this opportunity again. There is no science, or economics, or any other legitimate driving factor behind this moratorium, it's just ideology fueled (literally) by propaganda. Propaganda paid for by Kansas billionaires who don't give two shits about North Carolina's future, they just want to keep enriching themselves from leaky oil & gas pipelines. And those who would do their bidding (I'm looking at you, Civitas) have forfeited the right to claim they represent the interests of NC's citizens.

Thursday News: Trump's America

SECOND HANGMAN'S NOOSE LEFT IN AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSEUM AT SMITHSONIAN: Tourists found a noose Wednesday on the floor of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the second left at a Smithsonian site in less than a week, officials said. The gallery containing an exhibit on segregation was closed for about three hours while U.S. Park Police investigated the incident in the nation's capital, Smithsonian officials said. "The noose has long represented a deplorable act of cowardice and depravity — a symbol of extreme violence for African Americans, ..." Bunch said. "This was a horrible act, but a stark reminder of why our work is so important." Another noose had been found Friday on the grounds of the Hirshhorn Museum, which features contemporary art and culture.
http://www.wral.com/noose-found-inside-smithsonian-s-african-american-museum/16735167/

Join MomsRising in opposition to reckless House Bill 746

Getting rid of concealed-carry permits is dangerously stupid:

Guns are deadly weapons. No one who hasn’t been properly screened or trained should be able to pick up a firearm and carry it around North Carolina’s streets and neighborhoods, no questions asked. And anyone wishing to purchase a pistol in our state should first be background checked.

But right now, the gun lobby and its allies in the state legislature are pushing forward a bill (HB 746) that would allow people to carry hidden, loaded handguns with no license, no background check, and no safety training. They are also considering a potential change that would eliminate NC's successful pistol permit process, which provides background checks on guns purchased through unlicensed dealers.

This one needs no editorializing on my part, and it shouldn't even be under consideration by those who claim to serve the public.

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