Daily dose: Pigs fly edition

POLICY & POLITICS
McCrory needs to find up to $60 billon to pay for promised road projects (AP) -- Gov. Pat McCrory and North Carolina legislators praised each other for the new method they approved last year to fund transportation projects they say is based not on who you know but more on reducing gridlock and creating jobs. The result, the state Department of Transportation says, is efficiencies to fund 300 additional projects in its first 10-year road-building proposal released this month under new evaluation formulas. There will be pressure in 2015 upon GOP legislative leaders and the Republican governor to locate tens of billions of dollars to pay for needed but yet-funded projects. McCrory has said he'll offer options and a recommendation early next year. The gap between anticipated transportation funds and needs was estimated two years ago through the early 2040s from $32 billion to $60 billion.
http://www.reflector.com/ap/staten/mccrory-propose-new-nc-road-building-sources-2740851

Pope's Puppets swing and miss in defending UNC BOG

When Libertarians try to rewrite history:

In the 2012-13 academic year, the center hosted members of the AFL-CIO to discuss “the legislature’s war on labor”; screened clips from a “Story of America: A Nation Divided,” about “the fundamental divisions and the political struggle throughout America”; screened “The American Winter,” which “highlights the human impact of budget cuts to social services, a shrinking middle class, and the fracturing of the American Dream”; discussed “Wage Theft in North Carolina”; and invited people to projects sponsored by the Durham People’s Alliance and the N.C. Justice Center.

Where were the success stories of combating poverty through limited government and economic freedom – the approach that has saved millions from poverty in countries such as Taiwan, Estonia and South Korea? They weren’t mentioned, as far as one can tell from the archives.

To their main underlying complaint, that Conservative and/or Free Market proponents are not "invited" to such seminars: When you refuse to acknowledge that poverty and wage inequality and workplace discrimination and a bunch of other problems even exist, much less need to be addressed, why should you be included in these discussions? And we wouldn't be having many of these discussions if your bent ideology hadn't permeated the Legislature already, encouraging massive cuts to the social safety net. So thanks, but no thanks. And as far as your "missing" examples of small government success stories, you've (as usual) overlooked the obvious:

Daily Dose: Who wants to be like South Carolina?

The lead story today reports on the "incentives deficit" North Carolina faces in competing with South Carolina. For a variety of reasons, North Carolina isn't able to give away the many millions of dollars required to buy lure company interest. That's suits me just fine. I've visited South Carolina many times over the past year and, aside from excellent state parks, there is nothing about the Palmetto State that North Carolina should want to emulate. Yes South Carolina attracts new jobs, but those jobs come at a high cost to poor and middle class families. If you think poverty, racism, and environmental destruction are rampant here, just take a trip south of the border for an eye-opening experience. The whole state of South Carolina is little more than an abusive company town.

POLICY & POLITICS
Emails show NC faced long odds vying with SC for big companies (Charlotte Observer) -- North Carolina officials want to close the gap with South Carolina and other states that offer larger incentive packages and lower tax rates to lure companies --- sometimes causing Charlotte to miss out on hundreds of jobs. But emails and documents obtained by the Observer under a public records request show the state has hurdles to overcome if it wants to keep up with South Carolina and other rivals:
http://www.thestate.com/2014/12/20/3885842_emails-show-nc-faced-long-odds.html\

Boehner has invited Obama to give the State of the Union address

After a hissy fit in which he threatened not to invite the President to speak before Congress, Boehner has made the offer. Here's what Obama should say.

I come before you today to report on the State of the Union. And though it pains me to say it, I must tell you that our once-great country is well and truly screwed.

Progressive State Blogs round-up this week

Meteor Blades at Daily Kos tirelessly covers state political blogs, year in and year out. I read the coverage every week to see what other state blogs are doing, even when BlueNC isn't featured. There are lots of good story ideas to discover, and it's always good to show a little blog love to our colleagues in other states. Here you go.

Two tales of anthropogenic eagle fatalities

And they're both energy-related:

The U.S. Justice Department says 38 golden eagles and 336 other protected birds have been found dead at the company’s wind projects in Carbon and Converse counties from 2009 until now. The bulk of the fine money will pay for projects to preserve golden eagles.

It’s the second prosecution of a wind energy company for harming or killing protected birds. Duke Energy pleaded guilty last year to killing eagles and other birds at two Wyoming wind farms.

More than likely this is the result of siting wind turbines without taking into consideration local or migratory avian behavior. They did the same in California with horrific results, and it almost scuttled the wind power industry. But before you decide generating renewable energy from wind is not worth the cost in bird lives, know that they are dying from coal-burning power plant toxins as well:

Daily Dose: Corruption continues edition

BIG BICKERING
AP reporter who irked McCrory gets 'year of excellence' award (Raleigh News & Observer) -- When Gov. Pat McCrory complained — repeatedly — this week about an Associated Press story, he was complaining about one reporter in particular: Michael Biesecker. Last week, Biesecker and reporter Mitch Weiss each received “AP North Carolina Staffer of the Year Award: In recognition of a year of excellence” on an engraved plaque. Weiss and Biesecker co-authored the story on McCrory’s stock payout as well as many of the AP’s coal ash stories. The Raleigh-based reporter not only irked the governor for the story he co-wrote about McCrory receiving a large stock payout from an online mortgage broker, but Biesecker’s coverage of coal ash this year also got under the administration’s skin. McCrory distributed a 34-page report outlining his supposed “mistakes, mischaracterizations and omissions.”
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/12/19/4416942_ap-reporter-who-irked-mccrory.html?rh=1

Homeowners Insurance Decision: Zero Change = $600 Million Savings

It's been a long time since I've posted here but I thought folks would appreciate hearing some (good) news.

Here's a link to the press release and the full Order I issued on Thursday afternoon, plus additional information. This was the first hearing (i.e., trial) on the subject of homeowners insurance in North Carolina since 1992.

And, here is a link to the News & Observer article and a link to WRAL's coverage of the matter.

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