Daily dose: No comeback edition

POLICY & POLITICS
N.C. Comeback? Not Quite, As Analysts Question McCrory's Assessment (Public News Service) -- Not everyone is buying Gov. Pat McCrory's claim of success after October unemployment numbers indicated the state had recovered the jobs lost during the Great Recession. While the number of people employed last month is slightly above pre-recession levels, John Quinterno with South By North Strategies in Chapel Hill says that's not the whole story. "Just because we have the same number of payroll jobs we did almost seven years ago is not the same thing as a recovery," he says. "In no way, shape or form should that be taken as a sign we won the battle against unemployment in North Carolina." Quinterno said a healthy economy needs to add jobs to support population growth. Analysts estimate more than 280,000 workers are not counted in the unemployment data because they have given up on finding a job. If they were included, the unemployment rate would be 12.5 percent, versus the reported 6.3 percent.
http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-11-25/livable-wages-working-families/north-carolina-economy-re...

Recommitting to my local party

Since Election Day folks have asked me what’s next. Some of those people asked me to consider running for state party chair or for one of the other positions in state party leadership. However, I have decided to run for re-election as the chair of the Orange County Democratic Party while working with new state party leadership to make a stronger state party.

Do good. Be nice. Have fun.

One of my missions in life is to spread the word about dgbnhf. It's a simple philosophy, in principle, but always brings up a mess of practicalities. For example, is it "good" to help people who are homeless, or is it "better" to withhold help and force people to help themselves? What's the right balance? Is it "nice" to spin unemployment statistics knowing you'll confuse people, or is it "nicer" to tell the truth? Sure different people have different points of view, but the practice of doing good and being nice and having fun all at the same time seems worthy of aspiration. It's harder than it looks.

I get these kinds of notes often, and am always happy to send a treasure trove of stickers to anyone who asks. So ask. It's a cool sticker (suitable for bumpers), if I do say so myself.

Terrific Tapas

Jane enjoying tapas

Another downtown success story has unfolded in our neighboring Durham.

Had a delicious lunch today with a good friend who has moved into a new co-housing apartment building a couple of blocks from downtown Durham. Easy walk over to enjoy four Taberna Tapas dishes, including locally grown sweet potato fries, seared salmon, a Portobella cap with saffron rice, and green beans with anchovies. Yummy!

Then over to the busy Credit Union past the modern bus terminal and train station as the Amtrak to NYC pulled out.

Wos and Tucker clash over DHHS funding

Apparently it costs a lot to mismanage a state agency:

At the height of the exchange, Wos made an impassioned request for committee members to see that her funding requests have to be done, in part, “for the future of the state.”

“Don’t talk down to me,” Tucker said to Wos. “I’m responsible to the taxpayer to see if there’s any savings” in the requests. Wos, attempting a cool down, told Tucker “we will continue to give you whatever information you like. We will present our business case more accurately if this was not sufficient.”

The first step in securing "the future of the state" is for Wos to return to the only occupation she seems qualified to do, hosting dinner parties. That may not completely stop the drain on taxpayer resources, but at least they won't be sucked into the event horizon of the black hole that is Aldona Wos:

Living in Dukeville: The epitome of corporate irresponsibility

Just one more reason Duke Energy can't be trusted:

"It's bad to live in the United States and don't have good water to drink," said Ron, whose family farm sits just a couple hundred yards from the plant's three ponds housing more than 5 million tons of coal ash. "One neighbor is even bathing her young children in bottled water," JoAnne added, explaining that many in their community are worried about their drinking water.

"It's terrible," explained Dukeville resident Tyson Beaver. "We immediately switched from drinking well water and started buying bottled water to drink and to cook with and to wash dishes."

Water contamination is the main issue where fracking and coal ash converge, and what's happening in Dukeville will soon be happening in numerous other communities across the state. The Legislature needs to pass a bill (don't hold your breath) that will dictate whoever contaminates private drinking water wells must supply fresh water to replace the tainted water, at the expense of the entity who tainted the well. That's not radical, it's the bare minimum of what we expect from our elected officials.

Daily dose: corporate welfare edition

POLICY & POLITICS
McCrory, Other Governors, Let on Industry-Funded Group Call Shots on Offshore Drilling (TIME/Center for Public Integrity) -- It was a brisk February morning, and the governors of North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia were seated around a ring of tables draped with pleated beige fabric in the ornate Nest Room of Washington, D.C.’s Willard InterContinental Hotel. Sitting across the tables was Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, whom the governors had invited so they could make their case for expanding offshore energy production. It was a long-awaited meeting for the governors, and they’d armed themselves with specific “asks” — that Jewell’s department open access to oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic, for instance, and improve “regulatory certainty” for energy companies operating rigs off the coasts. Republican governors from coastal states has been lobbying the Obama administration to expand access to the nation’s offshore oil and gas deposits, working through an organization called the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition. While the message from the governors that morning would have come as no surprise to Jewell, less clear, perhaps, was that the governors were drawing on the research and resources of an energy lobbying firm acting on behalf of an oil industry-funded advocacy group. the background materials handed to the governors for the meeting, right down to those specific “asks,” were provided by Natalie Joubert, vice president for policy at the Houston- and Washington D.C.-based HBW Resources. Joubert helps manage the Consumer Energy Alliance, or CEA, a broad-based industry coalition that HBW Resources has been hired to run. The appeal for regulatory certainty, for example, came with a note to the governors that Shell, a CEA member, “felt some of the rules of exploration changed” after it began drilling operations in the Arctic. … The Center requested interviews with staff of each of the governors … but none made anyone available, though Alaska responded to questions in writing. … There’s been little effort to explain CEA’s relationship with the coalition, which is currently chaired by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. The coalition’s website made no mention of CEA until recently, when one page was edited — after the Center began reporting this article — to acknowledge the organization provides “information and administrative support.” In March, when the Center first asked who staffs the coalition, Ryan Tronovich, a spokesman for McCrory, said the governors provide the staff (records show McCrory’s press aide Tronovich actually consulted with CEA to answer the Center’s questions). When the Center asked again after learning of CEA’s involvement, Tronovich said in an email that he “should have been more clear,” and compared CEA’s help to that given by an intern. (The Republic Report, an investigative news website, first reported a possible connection with CEA in February when it noted that a coalition letter appeared to have been written by Joubert.)
https://time.com/3601760/governors-offshore-drilling-oil/

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