Saturday, July 5, 2014 - 10:21am

A bright light in an otherwise dark environmental state:

In the last few years, the Tar Heel State has quietly become a leader in rolling out solar. The Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA, notes that last year, North Carolina added 335 megawatts of capacity—the third-best tally of any state in the country. With a total of 592 megawatts of solar capacity installed, North Carolina ranks fourth among the 50 states. So far this year, according to SNL Energy, North Carolina ranks second in the number of solar farms under construction, behind only California.

As the industry has gained critical mass, it has also gained clout. The SEIA says $787 million was invested in solar plants in the state last year, and Urlaub says 570 green energy firms in the state employ 18,400 people. That helps explain why in 2013, when Rep. Mike Hager tried to repeal the state’s renewable portfolio standards law, it died in the committee he chaired.

Unfortunately, Mike Hager is only one of several threats to NC's Solar boom. The next big threat is coming from a group that was not elected by the people, and it may be just as devastating as repealing the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards:

Saturday, July 5, 2014 - 9:42am

GOP tax laws took effect this week that will mean a net increase for many North Carolina tax payers. For some it may not be a huge increase, but the fact is we are paying more. Republicans will nickel and dime us to death.

Eliminated was the tax-free shopping days scheduled for back-to-school shopping. Many of us saved on clothes, calculators, computers, and basic school supplies. The savings on a laptop for high school and college students was a huge benefit to many of us. You can see the full list of potential savings here.

Also eliminated was the tax-free shopping weekend for those buying certified energy-efficient household appliances. This tax break may not have been as widely enjoyed as the back-to-school tax break, but it was a much-needed incentive to encourage people to buy appliances that are more environmentally friendly.

James @
Saturday, July 5, 2014 - 9:39am

North Carolina dodged a bullet this week, as Hurricane Arthur rushed by, producing only minimal damage on the coast. We're all grateful, and we all know that the main thing standing between us and disaster was dumb luck. All of us except for Pat McCrory.

“We are glad that the public took our warnings and because of that I think we have reduced the negative impact of Hurricane Arthur,” said Gov. McCrory.

One has to wonder what motivates a person want to claim credit for the god's simple mercy. It certainly isn't a sense of humility. Perhaps it has something to do with miserable polling numbers.

Pat McCrory
BlueNC @
Saturday, July 5, 2014 - 9:16am

For your reading enjoyment. Not.

Questions about coal ash not sinking Dan River business (WGHP-TV) -- North Carolina’s coal ash spill in February which dominated headlines for months and is still being cleaned up in Danville, Va., is not scaring visitors away from the Dan River. Dan River Adventures is seeing strong campground and river activity business this holiday weekend. “The main impact from that has been just answering the questions about it,” said Glenn Bozorth, the company owner. On Friday, tubers filled every spot on the bus. The river is expected to be just as busy on Saturday. Some of those visitors said the coal ash was something they talked about in the early stages of planning their trip but booked the trip anyway.


Daily dose
Friday, July 4, 2014 - 9:48pm

There was some good news this week for transparency in campaign finance. On July 1, an FCC rule took effect that will make it easier to find out who is paying for political ads on television.

In the past TV stations were required to keep paper records and to produce them if the records were requested in person. That has now changed and the information is easily found through documents stored on the FCC site.

Why is that important?

Friday, July 4, 2014 - 10:58am

A couple of months ago a group of Democrats in Mecklenburg County met to select Senator Dan Clodfelter's replacement, after he resigned his seat to serve as mayor of Charlotte. Of the four candidates running, only two had enough support from the delegates to be considered serious challengers. Jeff Jackson was one of the two and while it was not a contentious election, something happened that prompted Jackson to step up and show his true character.

Another candidate, Darryl Bonaparte, had apparently failed to line up anyone to nominate him or to speak on his behalf. Ultimately, Darryl nominated himself, but when it came time for someone to second the nomination there was awkward silence. This is when Jeff Jackson stepped forward and did what may seem unthinkable to most of us in politics - he seconded Darryl's nomination and gave a sincere speech in support of his opponent.

Friday, July 4, 2014 - 9:39am

open thread
Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 5:34pm

Born into the British aristocracy, Samuel Johnston was a nephew of a Colonial Governor, and would eventually become a NC Governor in his own right after the War of Independence. But conservative as he was, he remained loyal to the Crown prior to the Rebellion, and dealt with the Regulators and other malcontents harshly:

Samuel Johnston introduced the Riot Bill, and by January 10, 1771, both houses of the Assembly eventually approved it. On January 15, Governor Tryon signed it and legitimated An Act for Preventing Tumultuous and Riotous Assemblies, and for the More Speedy and Effectually Punishing the Rioters, and for Restoring and Preserving the Public Peace of This Province.

It was behavior exactly like this that would eventually propel the colonies into outright war, so it may be hard for those of us who are looking back to understand how somebody like Johnston could not only survive the conflict, but prosper in the wake of it. The answer: he was a lawyer, and a damned smart one, too.

James @
Thursday, July 3, 2014 - 11:57am

Is there no end to the damage caused by things named Art? And if corporations are people, then aren't hurricanes people too? Speaking of which, this is the best weather radar picture I've found. Courtesy of the mean ol' government, of course.

Friends down east, stay safe. And, as Guv Pat sez, don't put on your stupid hat.

Art Pope
Syndicate content