Posmo @
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 10:59pm

WRAL has posted the coal ash records released by DENR and they're encouraging folks to review them and report anything they find.

You can browse the full text of most of the documents on WRAL.com. If you want to search for terms like "Dan River," "coal ash" or other keywords, enter them in the search box and hit "Enter." Double-click on a file to open it in a new window (you may need to disable your pop-up blocker).

Find anything interesting? Contact our @NCCapitol team by email or via Twitter with the hashtag #coalashdocs to let us know.

Why? Because there are 900 files and 13,000 pages. So having a crowd review these makes sense. We're sure that the folks here at BlueNC are interested and can help.

James @
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 5:07pm

I continue to be baffled by the ongoing idiocy of the State Employees Association of North Carolina. Glad I'm not a member, hope you're not either.

Altogether, the association backed 12 Republicans and nine Democrats through its political action committee EMPAC. The majority (16 of 21) are incumbents. In three open House seats, SEANC picked three Democrats.

Monday, March 31, 2014 - 3:36pm

Setting the wrong example:

Mr. Rumpler of Environment America says he worries cash-strapped states would feel compelled to "weaken their standards and endanger public health and the environment in a bid to get more business coming into their state." State legislation could also be particularly subject to changes in administrations.

The Duke Energy spill, for one, has focused media attention on North Carolina's Republican governor, Pat McCrory, a former Duke Energy employee. He appointed businessman John Skvarla to head the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Secretary Skvarla views industry leaders such as Duke Energy as "customers," according to several former DENR officials who say they quit because they were kept from doing their jobs.

The sad part is, people like John Skvarla actually believe they're serving the best interests of the public by giving industry a free hand. It's not just a minor character flaw for the person in charge of DENR, it's a major one, which is why the US DOJ and the EPA are being drawn into NC's politics. And why the rest of the nation is looking on in disbelief.

James @
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 2:31pm

If you think Republican legislators aren't scared to death of public school teachers and parents, think again. That's why they're planning to wrap up the short session "no later than June 10," which just happens to be the last day of classes in all of North Carolina's public schools (except for year round schools). Yes, legislators will be scurrying out of Raleigh like rats before they risk the ire of few hundred thousand pissed off educators.

Tom Tillis, of course, is totally irrelevant because of his US Senate bid, and Pat McCrory totally irrelevant because he is Pat McCrory. That leaves only two people who matter: Art Pope and Phil Berger, in that order. Neither man gives a flying flip about public schools or teachers, and neither has a plan to address the growing unrest in the teachers' ranks.

It's going to get ugly.

Monday, March 31, 2014 - 12:08pm

Apparently the truth won't set you free:

Attorneys in a trio of lawsuits challenging North Carolina’s voter identification law say that as of the middle of last week, the State Board of Elections had not turned over a single electronic document, despite a plan agreed to by both sides earlier this month to produce that material.

In a motion filed last week, lawyers who object to the voting law say the other side is stalling. Defense attorneys contend that the plaintiffs are to blame for any delay by asking for copious amounts of documents, including some that pertain to a portion of the law that doesn’t take effect until 2016.

Not sure what is worse, failing to turn over documents or waiting until 5 p.m. on a Friday and then crashing your system, which is what DENR did last week.

James @
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 10:38am

Moral Monday
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 9:13am

The Corps of Engineers has started the 30 day comment period on the NCDENR boondoggle. This might be our only chance to stop this travesty.


James @
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 8:57am

If the senior senator from North Carolina is known for anything, he is known for doing nothing. A hapless slacker by any standard, Senator Burr is at best an empty suit, except when he is doing outright damage. Today, the New York Times editorial board takes Burr to task for, well, doing nothing.

The job of federal judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina has been vacant for more than eight years, one of the longest vacancies of 83 on the federal bench around the country. Last June, President Obama nominated Jennifer May-Parker, a federal prosecutor, for the position, but she hasn’t even received a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee because Richard Burr, the state’s Republican senator, is blocking her.

The strange part is that Mr. Burr himself recommended her for the seat in 2009. But now he’s changed his mind and won’t say why, exploiting an archaic Senate tradition to make sure Mr. Obama can’t fill that vacancy.

Burr's obstruction, of course, has been enabled by arcane rules in the US Senate, a place the illusion of collegiality trumps democracy at every turn.

Richard Burr
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 6:55am

The News and Observer reports on a surprise for the May primaries. State Supreme Court Justice Robin Hudson - one of only two Democrats on the state's highest court - thought she was only going to have one challenger for her seat.

One of only two Democrats on the seven-member court, Hudson assumed she would be facing a general challenge in the fall from Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Eric Levinson, a Republican. But near the end of the filing period, a second opponent emerged, Jeanette Doran.

“She came out of nowhere,” Hudson said.

James @
Sunday, March 30, 2014 - 7:27pm

As many of you know, my wife Jane Brown hosts a political salon every month, and has been doing so for more than 20 years. Tonight our guest is Graig Meyer, who is running for the North Carolina House.

Got questions? Send them along. In the meantime, I'll be doing some light live-blogging.

Graig Meyer
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