Posmo @
Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 1:29pm

North Carolina continues its headlong pursuit of fracking, accelerating the development of the rules that the NCGA requires to be in place before drilling starts.

The state commission that’s creating safety standards for fracking raced through 48 rules Wednesday under a legislative deadline to prepare North Carolina for shale gas exploration by next spring.

The Energy & Mining commission, charged with developing the rules, is stacked with industry pro-fracking members and it's pretty clear that the intent is just to get some rules in place that the industry will accept so that we can get on with poisoning the environment.

Their most recent meeting made that abundantly clear:

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James @
Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 12:01pm

Last fall I heard Ken Spaulding speak for the first time. As candidates for governor, we had both been invited to a meeting of the Chatham County Democratic Party.

When Ken took the podium, he talked personally and extemporaneously about the challenges facing North Carolina under the Republican reign of terror. He cited a litany of familiar insults to our state and our constitution, and called for those in attendance to wake up and step up. He promised he would not stand by while other candidates were "anointed and appointed" to represent the Democratic party. This veiled reference to Attorney General Cooper is one of the things that caught my interest and attention.

Fast forward to today and you'll see that Ken Spaulding has definitely not been standing by. Not only is he challenging the establishment with an aggressive grassroots campaign, he is also challenging the inevitability of Roy Cooper's nomination.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 10:54am

The NC Supreme Court is not as supreme as it thinks:

A year ago, the state Supreme Court struck down a rate increase that the state Utilities Commission awarded to Duke Energy Corp. and ordered the panel to reconsider the increase in light of its impact on consumers. Now, Cooper is appealing the same increase to the high court, arguing that the Utilities Commission ignored the ruling.

“The court has already ruled once that consumers must be taken into account when setting utility profits but it still hasn’t happened,” Cooper said in a statement. “Even when given a second chance to get it right, the commission didn’t really consider consumers and approved the exact same rate hike.”

And as long as we allow this flawed formula to continue, where a rule-making commission is tasked with being concerned about profits for wealthy shareholders, many of whom do not even live in North Carolina, the unfairness will be ever-present. Any other private industry would need to dip into profits or borrow to make infrastructure improvements, which would force them to calculate the true need and ROI for such, and Duke Energy should be no different.

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Friday, April 18, 2014 - 7:58pm

Raw Story has a heart-wrenching piece about the ties of Frazier Glenn Miller, the white supremacist who shot and killed three people at a Kansas City community center, to a highly publicized 1987 triple murder in Shelby, North Carolina. (Kudos to Matt Comer, editor of NC's Q-Notes, who co-authored the story.)

The brutal murders created quite a sensation at the time and was one of several crimes against gays in the South in the 70s and 80s - fires at gay nightclubs and murders and disappearances of gay men - that made being out much more dangerous than it is today.

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Friday, April 18, 2014 - 11:15am

When the truth doesn't fit your narrative, just change it:

House Speaker Thom Tillis’ claim to have fired two staff caught up in a lobbyist sex scandal in 2012 doesn’t stand up to scrutiny or the public record, and his campaign should remove it from North Carolina airwaves.

The ad, which has more than $500,000 backing it according to Roll Call, contains no backup to the claim that Tillis "fired" his staffers. And Tillis’ own spokesman has repeatedly refused to make the same claim -- that Tillis "fired" the staff in question -- when discussing the ad. The Raleigh News & Observer, upon asking for a justification of the firing claim, was told that Tillis “initiated the action of asking for their resignation.”

If Tillis did "ask" for their resignations, which is not a foregone conclusion, it's only because the affairs were made public and forced his hand. But over and above the parsing of words, the intent of the ad itself is false: to make people believe he dealt with the problem in a rapid and harsh fashion. Here's a little historical context which completely undermines that message:

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Friday, April 18, 2014 - 8:45am

Politico has an in-depth look at the financial ties between Tea Party PACS and prominent conservative radio personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. In deals with millions of dollars, Tea Party political groups are not only buying ads on top-rated conservative radio programs, but also paying the personalities for hawking membership to the groups. The sweetheart deals were exposed in memos from FredomWorks obtained by Mother Jones and Politco and FEC filings on spending by the groups.

On page two, NC Tea Party favorite Greg Brannon pops up:

Brannon, a Raleigh-area doctor, added more volunteers and raised more money in the month after his first appearance on Beck’s show than in any previous month, he told Beck during his second appearance.

Beck responded by urging his listeners, “If you have money, donate. If you have time, donate. GregBrannon.com.” But he also added a bit of shtick betraying his radio roots in the early 1980s as a Top 40 disc jockey in the then-emerging “morning zoo” genre. “I could tongue-kiss you and I’m not a guy who does that,” said Beck, who has become increasingly engaged in primary politics since the early days of the tea party and his partnership with FreedomWorks.

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loftT @
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 6:33pm

Howard Coble's retirement dinner brought out a bunch of statewide and local GOP dignitaries even if it didn't bring in any big bucks

The High Point Enterprise was leaked a copy of the email and other information reported to be preliminary financial numbers on the event. The information was provided by an anonymous source.
The information provided a list of revenue generated totaling $13,000. But total expenses amounted to $17,296, according to preliminary accounting provided to the Enterprise. The expenses included the dinner, a band and use of a piano and printing of programs.

See the whole story here

Oh how they claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility, but they must not have learned their numbers.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 12:32pm

And more high-dollar outside contracts:

Davis and DHHS Sec. Aldona Wos told lawmakers they have hired a consultant to help streamline the agency and help make budget forecasts more reliable. "We've got here another single-bid $3 million contract," Tucker said, expressing frustration that a large agency with thousands of staffers could not have found workers to do such a review.

Wos said that DHHS' staff has shrunk and didn't have the ability to both handle day-to-day tasks as well as plan for the future. "This was an example of success. if this was able to be done by the employees of DHHS over the past 14 years, it would have done," Wos said. She added, "We would love to be at our desk working but we are here to provide you with the information you requested."

Shorter version: "It's not my fault, it's your fault." Apparently Republicans in the NCGA don't understand how job evaluations amongst the 1% really work: you fuck up, you move up, and the more money you lose in mismanaging your organization, the bigger your bonus and golden parachute. I shouldn't have to explain these things.

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James @
Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 10:55am

Indyweek's Bob Geary does a great job cutting through the baloney to explain what's happening in the US Senate Republican primary. It's hard to summarize all the points, so go take a look and see for yourself.

Here are two highlights:

A "culture of corruption" surrounds Tillis and makes him unelectable, says Dr. Greg Brannon, the Cary obstetrician and tea party favorite who runs second to Tillis in most polls. Tillis ignores Brannon, who has ethical issues of his own. After a civil trial in February, a jury found that Brannon misled investors about a technology start-up and ordered him to repay $454,631.

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