James @
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 8:52am

Film crew leaves and Charlotte's out $40 million (Fayetteville Observer) -- The first reviews are in and they're bad: The audience walked out. The sequels may be worse. Somebody needs to rewrite the script. Fast.

N.C. official rebuts environmentalists' coal-ash claims (Greensboro News & Record) -- The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources fired back Thursday at claims by environmentalists that it has failed to enforce clean-water laws in regard to Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. In an 11-page letter, Deputy DENR Secretary Donald van der Vaart said essentially that recent claims the agency hasn’t been enforcing the federal Clean Water Act properly are all wet. “This administration has undertaken enforcement actions to address long-ignored environmental problems associated with coal ash ponds,” van der Vaart wrote. “These problems ranging from unauthorized discharges to groundwater contamination have been well known and documented for decades. “Yet virtually no initiative was undertaken by any non-governmental organization or governmental agency to address these problems until quite recently,” the deputy secretary said, contending that stepped-up enforcement only began with the onset of Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration.

Environmental advocates to file new ash suits (Charlotte Observer) -- North Carolina’s environmental agency said Thursday it won’t file further coal ash lawsuits against Duke Energy, as advocacy groups prepared to sue the utility next week.

Daily dose
James @
Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 5:33pm

Watch this.

Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 3:48pm

A detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups — including one backed by Karl Rove — paints a dismal picture for Republicans, concluding female voters view the party as “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion” and “stuck in the past.”

Women are “barely receptive” to Republicans’ policies, and the party does “especially poorly” with women in the Northeast and Midwest, according to an internal Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report obtained by POLITICO. It was presented to a small number of senior aides this month on Capitol Hill, according to multiple sources...

Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 11:07am

And it may be the people's only defense against an overreaching government:

Since Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2011, the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, redrawn legislative and congressional district voting maps, a law requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls, a law requiring a doctor to narrate an ultrasound before providing an abortion, a law creating a "Choose Life" license plate and a budget provision eliminating the tenure rights of veteran teachers all have led to lawsuits against the state.

Michael Gerhardt, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law and director of the Center for Law and Government at the University of North Carolina School of Law, said he doesn't find the raft of lawsuits unusual. "When you have a legislature that was fairly aggressive like this one was to try and change a lot of areas of life in North Carolina, then you can expect some push-back," Gerhardt said.

Republicans are outraged that the courts became involved in these issues, but they should have thought about that when they decided to attack certain groups of citizens. Prejudice and misogynistic leanings have no place in the halls of government, and the products of those twisted beliefs should be challenged.

Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 10:20am

You really have to wonder have many thousands of dollars went into the "Math" 7% commercial. No offense, all defense. Under the whiteboard reads "Parts of Speech". Perhaps a reference to what Tillis either leaves out and or lies about.

James @
Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 9:43am

Hell yes.

Expansion of Medicaid can hugely benefit rural areas by addressing insurance coverage gaps, especially given that rural residents tend to be less well covered than their urban counterparts with employer-provided health insurance. Medicaid expansion promises rural health providers much needed increased payment levels, which help struggling rural hospitals maintain operations against better-funded suburban and urban competitors.

But it's even worse than that:

Senator Ron Rabin who represents Harnett, Lee and a small portion of Johnston County not only voted in favor of not taking the Medicaid expansion money but is listed as one of the co-sponsors of the Senate bill that refuses to take the Expansion of Medicaid.

BlueNC @
Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 8:37am


TO: Gov. Pat McCrory and John Skvarla

RE: Senate Bill 729 “Coal Ash Action Plan”

Your disposition of Senate Bill 729, which passed with veto-proof majorities in the state House of Representatives and the state Senate, presents a unique opportunity for you, governor, to demonstrate leadership and independence. The legislation raises serious questions about separation of powers among the branches of North Carolina’s government and whether you, and governors that come after you, will have the authority they need, and that’s mandated by the state Constitution, to effectively carry out your duties. While you’re clearly uncomfortable in formal, “stick-to-the-script” situations, this proposal will require discipline if it is going to work. You have expressed some very valid concerns about the Coal Ash legislation the General Assembly sent you in its closing hours. While you were probably a bit premature in going to the press to talk about your reservations before it had been fully hashed out by your legal staff and experts at DENR, the criticism you’ve taken can be overcome. Here’s what you might consider doing sometime before the Sept. 20 deadline to act:

Daily dose
James @
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 8:34pm

I've worked for some of the world's largest consulting firms, so when I write about big-time professional services, I know what I'm talking about. And today, I'm talking about Thom Tillis. Again.

As you may know, Thom Tillis spent most of his career working up through the ranks at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, one of the Big Eight, Big Six, etc., before it was acquired by IBM in 2002. His job before and after the acquisition involved selling technology and services to help big banks operate efficiently and comply with federal regulations.

Thom Tillis
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 6:06pm

The grass isn't the only thing greener on the other side:

After helping to develop the governor's plan, which emphasizes the development of local doctor networks to care for Medicaid patients, Peal is going to work for a company whose lobbyists have worked on behalf of a competing measure put forward by state Senate leaders. That Senate plan would have relied more heavily on companies such as WellCare to manage the state's Medicaid population.

Mullins said the administration would continue to push for a Medicaid reform model that relies on local providers and emphasized Peal was part of a group that had developed the accountable care organization model put forward by McCrory. Mullins said Wednesday that Peal did not want to comment for this story.

I bet she didn't.

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