An open letter to Pat McCrory

Dear Deputy Assistant Governor.

Of all the disappointments I have known in my 40 years as a North Carolinian, none matches my deep disappointment in you. Over the past three years, you have proven yourself to be both a liar and a political coward, an empty suit of the vilest sort. You betrayed millions of women by signing new abortion restrictions into law, and you have staffed your administration with a collection of self-interested hack that make Mike Easley look like a choir boy.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

When parental choice (or grandparental) turns dark:

Tell me again how we're allowing overly-sensitive students to dictate policy because they are easily offended? Adults who don't even have children at this school forced the closure of an LGBT students club. Every penny of taxpayers' money should be revoked from this charter school.

Burr already on the campaign trail

And using the Paris victims shamelessly:

“The president talked the other morning about ISIL was contained. America learned within 24 hours it’s not contained,” Mr. Burr said on “Face the Nation.” “It’s rampant everywhere in the world that they intend to carry out these horrific acts. It just so happens the United States is a target. But Paris was easier.”

“Look, we’ve had boots on the ground there for over a year,” said Mr. Nunes. “The problem is, as Chairman Burr said, trying to use pinpricks with our airstrikes.” He added, “The first rule of war for the Obama administration is not to take collateral damage. Well, that’s not war. And if you’re going to strap down the United States Air Force and our allies with these types of rules of engagement, we are never going to win and you’re going to see more and more refugees flood into Europe.”

Burr is taking the President's quote out of context, and he's doing it deliberately. Obama was referring to the fact ISIL is no longer gaining real estate in Iraq/Syria (for the time being), and is in fact losing ground on a couple of fronts. He wasn't saying the bad guys can't escape in small numbers and do bad things elsewhere, he was updating us on the strategic situation of their military capability. And if anybody would/should know that, it's the frickin' Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Burr needs to go in 2016, before he ends up getting a bunch of US soldiers and innocent ME civilians killed.

Monday News: Government for sale edition

HOW $32,000 IN CAMPAIGN DONATIONS SPARKED A HIGHWAY PATROL CAMPAIGN AGAINST NAPPING TRUCKERS (Raleigh News & Observer) – A state Highway Patrol enforcement effort concerning vehicles parked illegally along state roads was sparked by complaints to Gov. Pat McCrory from a longtime political supporter: Charlie Shelton, a business executive, Republican fundraiser and former state Board of Transportation member who lives in Surry County. On June 3 in Raleigh, the Highway Patrol announced a statewide effort to reduce crashes that involve vehicles illegally parked along interstate highways. But the Highway Patrol had quietly launched its no-parking push three months earlier, focusing at first on I-77 in Surry and Yadkin counties.

EPA takeover of DEQ's authority a distinct possibility

Stifling the voice of the public is not an acceptable practice:

North Carolina’s recent tactic of blocking citizens from challenging state permits for industrial polluters could result in a federal takeover of the state’s regulatory program. The EPA regional administrator stated that court rulings prohibiting the groups from seeking judicial review of the permits “cast serious doubt” on whether North Carolina meets minimum federal requirements to protect its residents from environmental pollution.

This is the first such warning to North Carolina since the federal government authorized the state to oversee air and water regulation in the 1970s. If the federal government were to follow through, North Carolina would be among a handful of states that have been deemed incapable, or unwilling, to enforce federal anti-pollution laws.

And DEQ's initial and contradictory reactions of denial and deflection simply drive the nails deeper into their casket. On the one hand they claim the EPA "misunderstood" their findings, and needs to be "instructed" on what the law really means. But then the other hand, which can't pass up a political opportunity, tries to pass the blame to Roy Cooper. This illogical, self-defeating type of argument is a product of both hubris and incompetence, a rare combination usually only witnessed on a middle-school playground. Needless to say, they are not the characteristics of an effective regulator.

Sunday News: Definitely not one of McCrory's three "E"s


STATE ETHICS PROCESS NEEDS AN OVERHAUL (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- It was perfectly fitting last week when the Center for Public Integrity gave North Carolina a letter grade of D in a nationwide State Integrity Investigation. Recently, Gov. Pat McCrory announced that the State Ethics Commission had dismissed two complaints which spotlighted his repeated failure to disclose serious conflicts of interest. The same study also gave the Ethics Commission a D grade. The dismissed complaint likely had no influence on the poor grade, but they both underscore a state government ethics process which is derailed, discredited and in need of repair.

Advocates for womens' choice eyeing Supreme Court case

The struggle continues:

Legislators in this state in recent years have tried to enact the two provisions that are the legal issues in the Texas case: requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and requiring abortion clinics to meet the same building standards as same-day surgery centers.

Neither of those provisions survived in bills that became law in North Carolina, although a string of controversial new requirements limiting access to abortions have been enacted.

This may seem more like a "technical" issue than one of rights gained/lost, and that's exactly what the ant-abortion movement is counting on. The real-world impact of Texas' law caused the closure of over half of the geographically huge state's clinics, and it would have a similar effect here in NC. And the purely deceptive tactics of the anti-abortion zealots needs an airing, too:

Saturday News: Les chars disparus

HOLLANDE BLAMES ISIS FOR ATTACKS IN PARIS AS DEATH TOLL RISES TO 127 (New York Times) -- President François Hollande, speaking Saturday from the Élysée Palace, said the attacks were “prepared, organized and planned from abroad, with complicity from the inside.”

AT LEAST 127 DEAD; ISLAMIC STATE CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY (LA Times) -- The City of Light turns into a deadly combat zone as a series of explosions and shootings rip through Paris.

Possibly of interest: Now or Never NC

A "Now or Never NC" member came to our recent Democratic Women meeting.They are not party-affiliated and have no litmus tests but they are sane. They are raising funds for state house races. Please check them out. If you are thinking about running for the G.A. they may be able to provide funds for your campaign.
(I've included their recent email below the fold)

Duke Energy's bullying tactics could backfire on them

No matter how much self-righteous indignation they sputter:

Duke Energy welcomes the discussion over the future of energy. And we welcome competition on a level playing field for all. Groups like NC WARN and their allies are certainly welcome to their own point of view on these issues, but not their own facts.

Any company in any industry would be against allowing newcomers to avoid rules, while the same newcomers support continued regulation of others. What NC WARN is doing is similar to driving a car on the highway and saying the rules of the road apply only to others.

Uh, no. That's not what they're really trying to achieve. They're trying to push you into the light, to force your hand in showing everybody how viciously you will protect your monopoly. And you're doing exactly what they thought you would. And when those "free market"-lovers in the General Assembly finally pass meaningful legislation to free up the grid, all you'll need to do is look in the mirror to find someone to blame.


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