Friday News: Dirty secrets edition


DUKE ENERGY'S (SECRET) DINNER WITH PAT (Charlotte Magazine column) -- The purpose of a June 1 meeting over dinner at the Executive Mansion among Gov. Pat McCrory, his chief of staff, his general counsel, the state’s chief environmental regulator; and Duke Energy executives, including CEO Lynn Good, may well have been, in McCrory spokesman Graham Wilson’s words, “a constructive dialogue” about “the economy, the environment, energy, and job creation.” Yet, Charlotte-based Duke Energy is more than just the nation’s largest utility. It’s also Pat McCrory’s longtime employer, and, at the time of the dinner, an established corporate polluter less than three months removed from the state assessing a record $25 million fine against Duke for years of coal ash pollution at a Wilmington power plant. That fine was later sliced to $7 million.

Dan Forest wants more happy talk in charter schools report

Because form over substance is so important in the education formula:

The State Board of Education is expected to vote Thursday on several charter school issues, including whether to give newer charter schools more chances to remain open if they are struggling to meet performance standards.

The board could also hear more about the annual charter schools report, which is due to the legislature on Jan. 15. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest advised the board to take more time to review the report and possibly make changes, saying he thought the statistics provided in the report were "negative" and "did not have a lot of positive things to say."

Statistics are what they are. That's why we go to the trouble to collect them, because they are untainted by ideology or preconceived notions. If you don't like the story they tell, change the factors that drove them, not the data itself. And one of the biggest factors driving those negative statistics is the mismanagement of resources, something a former Pope Puppet has positioned himself to take advantage of:

Thursday News: Not so fast, bond boy


N.C. BOND DRAWS OPPOSITION (Greensboro News & Record) -- Opponents say the Connect NC bond package consists of expensive pet projects.

OPPONENTS OF NC'S $2 BILLION BOND ORGANIZE (Raleigh News & Observer) -- There has not been any organized opposition to the statewide $2 billion bond on the March 15 primary election ballot, whose supporters kicked off their campaign on Tuesday, until now.

McCrory's dinner ex parte with Duke Energy

Hat-tip to Mark Binker for reading the tea leaves:

But on June 1, while in the midst of pressing legal action against and issuing news releases critical of the nation's largest utility, top state officials met for a private dinner at the Executive Mansion with Duke executives, according to calendar entries and other records reviewed by WRAL News.

McCrory, his top environmental regulator, his chief of staff and his general counsel attended, as did Duke Chief Executive Lynn Good, the company's general counsel and the president of the company's North Carolina operations.

Go read the whole story. As usual, Mark takes advantage of his freedom from column space restrictions to provide an in-depth exploration of the issue, as well as providing the context necessary to fully understand the ethics. Or lack of, as in this case. And this (lack of) commenting speaks volumes, as well:

I'm voting NO on Pat McCrory's $2 billion bond referendum

Pat McCrory wants North Carolina voters to approve his $2 BILLION bond package in March, and is pulling out the stops to promote it. A slick new website promises the world, and all we need to do is trust the Republicans controlling our government. With pork-barrel projects in 76 counties, McCrory has something for everyone, including all his friends slopping at the public trough.

NC GOP wastes no time in attacking Roy Cooper

They'll use anything as fodder, but this time it's Obama's executive actions on gun sales:

NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse said Tuesday Obama is not standing up for the constitutional rights of citizens. “Our question is if North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper will. Certainly there will be attorney generals across this country that will standup and fight these executive orders,” Woodhouse said.

“The president has done something here that he couldn’t get passed through the legislative process and that should concern all citizens,” Woodhouse said. “What the president has done here is assert authority we don’t think he has and what North Carolina citizens need is our state Attorney General Roy Cooper to do something about it.”

What the President has done is probably a far sight less than he should have, but you won't hear anything like that from the gun-nuts or GOP lawmakers and their political apparatchiks. Closing the gunshow loophole and cracking down on "private" sales is a critical step. Until that happens, it doesn't matter how accurate and up-to-date the federal database is, because somebody who would fail that test has a Plan B. And after all the harping about "mental illness" the gun lobby has used as a deflection, for them to condemn the very thing they've been promoting proves that was all just a sham. No logical ground to stand on.

Wednesday News: Hils vs. Pat edition


CLINTON CAMPAIGN SLAMS MCCRORY ON ABORTION LAW (Raleigh News & Observer) -- For the second time in recent months, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has weighed in on new North Carolina laws. On Monday, her campaign released a statement criticizing Republican Gov. Pat McCrory for allowing an abortion law to go into effect here. The new law requires abortion providers to send to state health officials records of all abortions and induced miscarriages after the 16th week of pregnancy, including ultrasound images of fetuses.

American Neocons bribed Congress, not Israel

Taken from (another) Facebook post:

Tom Cotton Accepted $1 Million From Israel To Sabotage Iran Nuclear Deal

How much money does it take for a foreign nation to buy a United States Senator? Just ask Republican Tom Cotton.

For a lousy $1 million paycheck, Israel hired Cotton to lead an effort to sabotage the Iran nuclear deal that the Obama Administration toiled for months to achieve.

Let me state upfront that I am not defending Israel or Netanyahu, who has bent over backwards to undermine the President's efforts to negotiate with Iran. But the real culprits in this story are not foreign, they are American citizens, and if we don't watch them closely, they *will* get us into another war, just like they did in 2003:


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