Daily dose: McCrory declares war on France

’FREEDOM CIGS?’ McCrory blasts France for smoking crackdown (The Local .fr) -- France’s ambitious bid to cut smoking rates in the country has not been welcomed by the governor of the state of North Carolina, Pat McCrory. The Republican wrote an angry letter this week to Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to the US, to “formally oppose the project of his government”, Le Figaro reported on Wednesday. McCrory, who is in charge of America’s biggest tobacco producing state, has taken issue with Paris’s pledge to end branding on cigarette packages, a move that proved a success in cutting cigarette use in Australia. He then hints at possible reprisals against France from across the pond. "Imagine if the United States demanded standard packaging on alcoholic drinks. Noteworthy French companies would be outraged, and they would be right to be," McCrory wrote possible referring to the likes of LVMH, Pernod Ricard, Rémy Cointreau.

Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon headed to the Big House

Where he'll have basic cable but no premium or a la carte channels:

Former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon was sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison Tuesday for his role in a bold bribery scheme in which he accepted a suitcase stuffed with cash in the mayor’s office, besmirching the city’s reputation for clean government.

Cannon, 47, was sentenced to 44 months by U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney at the federal courthouse in uptown Charlotte after a morning in which Cannon, who rose from the housing projects to the city’s highest post, admitted regret and asked for leniency.

This is a teaching moment for NC Democrats. Who apparently missed all the other teaching moments.

Daily dose: "Yes, students have Constitutional rights, too." edition

Judge orders Appalachian State early voting site (AP) — A North Carolina trial court judge said Monday that state election officials must retool Watauga County's early voting plan to include at least one center at Appalachian State University for later this month.

Wake Judge Orders Early Voting on ASU Campus (High Country Press) -- On Monday morning, Wake County Judge Donald Stephens ruled that the State Board of Elections (SBOE) must approve of an early-voting plan for Watauga County that includes a one-stop site on the campus of Appalachian State University for the general election in November, according to Bill Gilkeson of the law firm Bailey & Dixon. Gilkeson’s firm was hired by the Watauga County Voting Rights Task, an arm of the Watauga County Democratic Party and is representing local Democrat petitioners who filed a lawsuit against the Republican-led SBOE. Stephens ruled that the decision to deny a one-stop site on the college campus was “arbitrary and capricious “ and remanded the early-voting plan back to the SBOE and instructed the state board to include an early-voting site on the campus of ASU.

Watauga Board of Elections Voting Plan Unconstitutional

Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald W. Stephens has ruled the voting plan produced by the Republican majority on the Watauga County Board of Elections is unconstitutional and he has ordered that the early voting plan be redrawn with at least one polling location on the Appalachian State campus.

You can find the full ruling at Watauga Watch, but the two most scathing paragraphs follow:

Private sector water testing lab falsifies coal mine samples

So much for the fossil fuel industry's self-reporting credibility:

The Charleston Gazette reports that an employee of a state-certified company pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Clean Water Act after he faked compliant water quality samples for coal companies between 2008 and 2013.

John W. Shelton, who worked as a technician and then a field supervisor for Appalachian Labs Inc., a Beckley, W.Va., firm, admitted to diluting water samples taken from mine pollution discharge points with clean water, among other unlawful measures taken, to ensure pollution levels were in compliance with permitted limits. Prosecutors say Appalachian Labs conducts water sampling at more than 100 mine sites in West Virginia, but for now it’s unclear what mine sites or coal companies could be implicated in the case.

Which might shed some light on why Duke Energy's water samples almost always show lower levels of toxins than DWQ and third-party samples. And you're right, I'm repeating myself. Because I have absolutely no faith in relying on industry to report the truth of their own pollution, and any elected official who does have faith in that is either an idiot or a partner in crime.

Judge rules Charlotte airport to stay under city control

Alaska has its 'Bridge to Nowhere' and North Carolina has its 'Commission without a Cause.' Mecklenburg Superior Court Judge Robert Ervin has ruled that the Charlotte Airport Commission that was created by the Republican legislature cannot control Charlotte Douglas International Airport without an order from the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has said it would not grant the commission permission unless the city requests it and that is unlikely, since the city has been fighting to retain control of the airport.


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