Monday News: Recovery or stagnation?


ECONOMIC RECOVERY LEAVES MANY BEHIND IN NATION AND NC (Raleigh News & Observer) -- For all the talk of recovering, millions of middle-class Americans haven’t ever recovered from the monumental downturn that began in 2008. They may have jobs, but the jobs are for lower compensation. The lost ground hasn’t been made up, and the struggle is harder. Businesses have continued to trim their sails – pensions are in many cases a thing of the past – and education is more expensive for their children.

Utility-scale Solar development faces new challenges in NC

Economical, structural, and of course ideological:

That means that Duke is now paying Strata only wholesale electricity rates – without the subsidy – for power generated by six Strata solar farms that went online this year. “There is zero rate impact for rate payers,” O’Hara said. “And Duke is locking in a price for 15 years.”

As global solar prices went into a free fall and panel efficiency improved, solar farms became cost-competitive with coal-burning power plants and combined-cycle natural gas plants, two of the cheapest sources for generating electricity. The cost inversion, from priciest to cheapest, hasn’t won over all critics of renewables, but it has shifted their focus to new concerns: that solar panels may be toxic, and that solar farms conflict with agriculture.

That's typical of the anti-renewable, climate-change-denying crowd: When your main argument fizzles, you have to scramble to create a new (misleading) approach. But in their zest to find such, they also reveal their hypocrisy. Environmentalists have been pushing for decades for public officials to recognize the added costs associated with fossil fuel use, from ecological to human health issues, but that has fallen on deaf ears. And now that their "It's too costly!" argument no longer works, they want to create dangers from clean power production? Oh, hell no. As to the economics: Those of us who understood the true goals of Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards knew (or hoped) that prices would fall, and with that decline would come a decline in the demand from investors, who would see their profit margins shrink. This wasn't merely part of the plan, it was the plan. And it's working better than we'd imagined. That being said, it appears Duke Energy is doing what all monopolies do, leverage their competition out of the market:

Sunday News: Buyer's remorse edition


TRUMP NEVER WILL BE READY TO BE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF (Elizabeth City Daily Advance) -- We realize there are probably more politically correct words to describe Donald Trump, but in the interest of telling it like it is, here are a few that capture the essence of the presumptive Republican nominee for president: narcissistic, greedy, childish, petty, clownish, dishonest, racist, bigoted. We could go on.

REPUBLICANS SHOULD TRY TO BLOCK DONALD TRUMP (Charlotte Observer) -- There are new efforts to deny Trump the GOP nomination at next month’s convention;

These Democrats need your help

North Carolina delegates

Thank goodness the presidential primary is over. I hope you haven't given all your spare change to a candidate because now that we've reached the end of the primary, we need to pivot to helping everyday Dems reach fundraising goals.

If you aren't on Facebook, you may not have noticed the GoFundMe requests scrolling down your feed. I'm going to repeat something here that I wrote on Facebook, so if you have already seen this...bear with me, please.

Burr flip-flops on gun control measure

Trying to walk back his idiotic comments from a few days ago:

Burr, like many other Republicans this week, said he’ll work with Democrats leading the call for gun laws that would prohibit suspected terrorists from buying weapons. Monday will bring more Senate debate on at least four measures related to terrorist “watch lists” and access to guns.

He supports a “no-fly, no-buy” approach, Burr said Thursday, referring to a key provision. Democrats are seeking to ban gun sales to people whose names appear on the U.S. government’s “no fly” list. If the proposal includes a “due process” provision that would allow U.S. citizens to refute the evidence that’s landed them on the list, Burr says he supports the idea.

The bill Burr voted against back in December had that very provision as the 2nd line item, but he either didn't read the damn thing or is positioning himself to be the one who includes it in a "new" bill. And in case you've forgotten what he said five days ago: “These individuals are U.S. citizens, and we take their Second Amendment right away because the FBI interviews them?” The bottom line: Burr is well aware Deborah Ross will use that prior vote against him; heck, she already has. And now he's doing what he always has done, rewriting history. Ugh.

Saturday News: About protecting those taxpayers...


MCCRORY’S HR AGENCY USES TAXPAYER FUNDS TO PAY FACEBOOK FOR POLITICAL AD (Raleigh News & Observer) -- State government’s human resources department is using taxpayer dollars to pay for Facebook political ads ads to promote its leader’s criticism of the State Employees Association of North Carolina. SEANC has been calling for across-the-board raises for state workers, while Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget instead includes targeted raises for hard-to-fill positions.

More lessons in NC GOP over-reach

It's getting depressing to read Facebook anymore. Here's a post I found today:

So Republicans in Raleigh are going to gerrymander Asheville City Council elections into districts of their own choosing. Go look at the proposed map-- districts look like various southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Burma and Vietnam. They are splitting West Asheville into two districts, trying to draw in just enough red votes to secure right-wing seats in the west and south of the city center. They hate us, they really do. You can tell as much about a community by who hates it as who loves it.

Read all about it.

Greensboro N&R blasts Trudy Wade for anti-environmental stances


No ambiguity in this assessment:

The Republican state senator from Greensboro is, yet again, pushing more poisonous legislation that would trash critical protections for North Carolina’s groundwater and reservoirs. Call her Queen of the Landfills. High Priestess of Pollution. Grand Dame of the Dumpster. Goodness knows she’s earned it.

At this point, Wade’s latest attempt to kill and bury e-waste recycling, which was approved in the Senate Monday, seems unlikely to pass in the House. But odds are, she’ll be back. She has pressed in the past for reductions in air-quality monitoring, removal of some wetlands protections and softer penalties for companies that cause ground, air or water pollution. She is, in a way, a recycler herself — of bad ideas for special interests. And it’s a dirty shame.

Really don't need to add anything to that, other than the observation the idiots in her Senate District will continue to support her, because they hate the Democrat-dominated Greensboro City Council. Which of course reflects the demographics of the City itself, where Republicans only represent 17% of the population. Bitter, belligerent, and burn-the-house-down immature. Helluva combination.


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