Monday News: As crazy as Don Quixote

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LEGISLATIVE LEADERS NEED TO END WAR ON RENEWABLES, BACK GROWING CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY (Capitol Broadcasting Co. editorial) -- Luddites in the General Assembly reflexively oppose renewable energy as some kind of alien plot foisted on North Carolina by zombies wearing bellbottom jeans and beads. The effort to shut down the Amazon wind farm is misguided. It hurts rural economic development efforts and thwarts a bright spot of North Carolina growth. While these legislators may be getting their kicks at tilting -- quite literally in this case -- at windmills in their misguided effort to crush the state’s growing renewable energy industry, they need to more deeply consider the consequences of their actions.
http://www.wral.com/editorial-legislative-leaders-need-to-end-war-on-renewables-and-back-growing-the...

For what it's worth

Here is my letter to my senators and representative (Holding) regarding the ACA. I don't pretend to think it will do any good, but at least maybe they will know that they are being held accountable for their role. Or maybe the effort will make me feel a little better.

Senator Burr
Senator Tillis
Representative Holding

US Navy keelhauls Bill Cook's anti-wind attempt

Exposing his severe lack of knowledge and research:

The U.S. Navy did not contact state lawmakers about shutting down Amazon Wind Farm US East, nor does it have evidence the farm can't co-exist with its nearby radar facility, a Naval spokeswoman reported Friday.

“The MIT Lincoln Laboratory modeling of this wind farm determined the acceptable number of turbines and acceptable distance from the ROTHR receive site,” she wrote, also noting its modeling was based on the “specific turbine model proposed by the developer.” She continued the Navy agreed in November 2014 to let the developer build 104 turbines, reduced from 150, and then “conduct post-construction testing of the Avangrid wind farm this year to validate the compatibility modeling that was performed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory.”

I was actually waiting for something like this, because Cook tried to pull the same BS with his "military flight path" bill, which would have outlawed wind farms on about 85% of Eastern North Carolina land. In that case, the FAA was (and is) intricately involved in mapping flight paths and the potential for obstruction for each turbine tower. Of course the Navy was already involved, and had taken steps to make sure its operations wouldn't be disrupted. And Bill Cook just made fools out of everyone who signed that stupid letter.

Sunday News: So they can blame it on Trump

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JUDGE ISSUES 2-WEEK HALT TO MEDICAID EXPANSION EFFORT (AP) -- A federal judge late Saturday temporarily blocked the U.S. government from quickly approving any proposal by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper designed to expand Medicaid coverage to potentially hundreds of thousands of uninsured people through President Barack Obama's signature health care law. The order for now lasts two weeks, which could defer the matter to regulators in the administration of Donald Trump, who backs the Republican-led Congress in wanting to repeal the health care overhaul that provides the expansion offer.
http://www.wral.com/judge-temporarily-halts-n-carolina-medicaid-expansion-effort/16434363/

In pursuit of fairness and transparency, let the Carolina Journal in

Because it's not about them, it's about us:

The conservative Carolina Journal, which is published by the John Locke Foundation, says that its reporters have been banned from covering the new governor’s news conferences. The publication was not able to cover the governor’s Dec. 15 news conference, and the report says email requests for notice and access to other events went unanswered.

Cooper spokesman Ford Porter told the (Raleigh) News & Observer on Thursday that no one is being frozen out of news conferences or events, and if any reporter has been denied access, it was an “oversight.”

No doubt the truth is somewhere in-between, because the controversy of exclusion is a juicier story than witnessing department heads being introduced. That being said, favoring or disfavoring individual media outlets or their reporters is already a huge problem in this country, and we have a chance in this administration to show how it should be done. If Art Pope's people choose to write a skewed story, let's make sure it wasn't due to a lack of information or exposure.

Saturday News: Shaming Bill Cook

OFFICIALS SLAM COOK FOR WIND PROJECT SHUTDOWN EFFORT (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- Pasquotank County officials said Friday they will oppose state lawmakers' efforts to shut down Amazon Wind Farm US East. Several of them also accused state Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, of acting against his district's interests by joining those efforts. One said Cook is “no longer my senator,” while another said the senator owes the region an apology for being part of the effort to shut down the wind project. Dixon described the letter as an “underhanded sneak attack” driven by opposition to renewable energies, noting Cook's background in the utility sector. He said the wind farm went through years of thorough study and the military signed off on it.
http://www.dailyadvance.com/News/2017/01/13/Officials-slam-Cook-for-wind-project-shutdown-effort.html

An open letter to Richard Burr UPDATE

UPDATE

I wrote this earlier today, but just found that hearings will be held. I am proud of Burr. It feels good.

Dear Richard.

It's a new year, and I've resolved to be nice. Thank you for reading.

When people ask me to call members of Congress, I find it hard to comply. It almost always seems like wasted effort. Especially when I'm calling you. You don't seem to care what I think, and your mind seems already made up about everything.

Koch Brothers on campus: HBCUs in the cross-hairs

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These aren't the opportunities you're looking for, move along:

The concept for the efforts the Koch gift will fund is in place, but many of the details have yet to be established. Broadly, the $25.6 million will go toward original research, creating three campus research centers and funding research efforts. It will also go toward scholarships and fellowships for students in education, sociology, economics and criminal justice. It will also support on-campus programming, funding speakers like educators and entrepreneurs. And it will pay for research and polling, helping Gallup create an opportunity index and survey fragile communities, which are defined as those where residents face barriers to economic advancement and which exhibit high crime rates, low-quality education options and limited mobility.

Attempts by the Koch Brothers to infiltrate universities and expand their free-market ideology has been spotty at best. Where they have succeeded, these entities have been under harsh scrutiny by faculty groups (rightly) concerned about interference and the reputation of the school itself. But Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been (for the most part) also historically underfunded, which presents a prime opportunity for the oil-drenched billionaires to poke their noses in. But not everybody is gung-ho for this "partnership" to proceed:

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