BlueNC @
Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 9:01am

‘CAROLINA COMBACK’ OR ‘NORTH STATE STAGNATION?’ -- There’s hardly a road-side vegetable stand or machine shop that opens in North Carolina these days that Gov. Pat McCrory and his Department of Commerce don’t seize the opportunity for a news release or ribbon-cutting to announce new job creations. It’s seemed McCrory announces new jobs in the 10s or 20s while South Carolina announces them by the thousands. In the two years that McCrory’s been in office, even with the tax cuts enacted specifically to attract more industry and jobs, the number of new jobs announced has dropped 17 percent; the new job project inquiries dropped 16 percent; new projects announced dropped 8 percent; and total capital investment in new and expanded businesses has dropped 56 percent. Many of those in the Commerce Department who’d been involved in business recruitment in the previous administrations have been dismissed and not taken on by the new private enterprise that has taken over the state’s job-hunting efforts. It appears to be a high hill for the new enterprise to climb, not only making up for the ground lost the last two years, but also dealing with making up for jobs, in a variety of sectors including new energy and films, that will be headed elsewhere because of the elimination of various tax incentives and state assistance.

Daily dose
James @
Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 8:57am


Friday, August 22, 2014 - 5:29pm

There is so much work to be done for LGBT equality beyond just fighting for marriage equality. Marriage equality is incredibly important to the emotional, financial, familial, and political equality for so many LGBT couples and it is something I've written about here often over the years. But it's not the only LGBT equality issue out there.

One way to mentally divide up the struggles the LGBT community faces is into those that actively ban gay people from participating, those protections that are missing under the law, and then just the hearts and minds battle to have truly lived equality.

James @
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 3:14pm
BlueNC @
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 8:43am

Hagan says coal ash bill doesn't go far enough (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan says North Carolina’s new coal ash regulations don’t go far enough in cleaning up Duke Energy’s toxic waste ponds. Her opponent, state Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis, said the legislation would make the state a leader in dealing with the byproduct of burning coal for electricity. He said it would “help safeguard our water for future generations.” Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, said the state should require ash from every pond be placed in a “leak-proof area,” something the new law does not do.

Sierra Club: Coal ash bill falls short (Salisbury Post) -- N.C. Sierra Club response to final passage of S 729, Coal Ash Management Act: The legislature (Wednesday) gave final approval to the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014, a complex measure that for the first time regulates coal ash like other wastes but also undermines a court ruling that would have required immediate cleanup of coal ash. … Unfortunately, final changes to the conference report intended to protect against ongoing groundwater pollution at 10 sites do not go far enough to address a major issue that must be resolved to protect N.C. residents and communities.

Daily dose
James @
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 8:32am

Received via email:

The 2013 – 2014 Legislative Session finally adjourned last night. The budget and Medicaid were two of the biggest items to be addressed during this legislative session, yet we are leaving with a budget that is unsustainable and without action on Medicaid. I am pleased, however, that we did enact bipartisan legislation to clean up the 33 coal ash ponds in North Carolina.

This session, the legislature unfortunately impaired our ability to grow economically in the future by damaging public education and our universities and rejecting the federal expansion of health insurance for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.

I voted against the short session budget because it harms North Carolina, primarily in education and health care.

John Stein NCGS
Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 11:27pm

The State Board of Elections (BOE) met this afternoon and part of their agenda was discussion on early vote sites in Watauga County. Although the final vote broke down almost as expected, 4-1, against a site on campus, some of the arguments are worth noting.

Watauga Democratic BOE member, Kathleen Campbell, was represented by Bill Gilkeson. He is from the law firm Bailey & Dixon, retained by the Watauga County Voting Rights Task Force, on behalf of the Watauga County Democratic Party.

Bill Aceto, Republican board member was present as was the BOE directory Jane Ann Hodges.

James @
Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 4:46pm

Governor Liability.

Despite (false) hopes of a reset, the governor continues to damage himself and his party. The evidence is it will continue. Like Charlotte’s business oligarchy, of which McCrory is so fond, bank on it.

This reminds me of the diggers and fillers we had back at the Naval Academy. They were the guys who dug holes and filled them up again, usually to fix things, but often to break things.

In this case, McCrory's the digger. Duke Energy, the Chamber, and Art Pope? They're the fillers. Same as it ever was.

Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 11:28am

From an LTE in the Char-O:

Separation of government and business is important to prevent abuse of influence and power by the parties to these alliances. Without protections, we are at risk of our nation’s local, state, and federal governments of being controlled by the increasing influence of government-business relationships. Those relationships subject citizens to ever-increasing and unnecessary government excesses.

The author (a doctor) makes some pretty good points, but he appears to be placing the blame more on the advent of income taxes than on the politicians and businessmen who engage in this "abuse of influence and power." He also (like many other critics of incentives) ignores the private-sector elephant in NC's living room, the creation of the Economic Development Partnership, a group of influential businessmen that will be playing around with taxpayer dollars. Which is leaps and bounds more screwed up than traditional government incentive approaches, and opens up several huge Pandora's Boxes of ethical concerns. But instead of talking about a real-world ethical monster, we get this ideological jibber-jabber:

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