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More concerns over political pressure being applied to DENR

Working under the sword of Damocles:

Put more bluntly, if those employee aren't doing what the governor and his appointees want, they get sacked. It's a deeper intrusion of politics into the bureaucracy than has previously been allowed. Most worrisome is that many of those employees losing protection are in the ranks of DENR managers and directors - about 150 of them. Exposing more of this state's environmental managers and regulators to political pressure may threaten the air and water quality that are keys to our tourism industry and a powerful lure bringing new residents and industries to North Carolina.

Having a clean and fertile environment is not just important for the health of the people and wildlife in North Carolina, it's a state asset that brings in billions in revenues each year. Trading that asset for the short-term revenues associated with offshore drilling and inshore fracking is questionable at best, and doing so while putting political pressure on regulators only serves to answer that question. And it's not a good answer.

NCDP State Executive Committee meeting in Greensboro today

Should be a big day in the Gate City, when the State Executive Committee of the North Carolina Democratic Party convenes to do whatever it does. What might that be, you ask? Well, the agenda is here, which provides some insight into the inner workings and hidden mechanisms of the party apparatus. Perhaps more important, here's a list of prepared resolutions that will be considered today, covering everything you can imagine, and then some. And finally, there are three "inside baseball" proposals, one of which would reduce the number of SEC members by half. Good luck with that.

If all goes according to plan, BlueNC's Steve Harrison will be on hand at the meeting to report on interesting developments and behind-the-scenes sentiment. If you have questions you'd like Steve to look into, just drop them into the comments below.

Is the Wolfpack coming for your personal information?

Dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight:

A $60.75 million grant from the NSA is the largest research grant in NCSU’s history – three times bigger than any previous award.

The Laboratory for Analytic Sciences will be launched in a Centennial Campus building that will be renovated with money from the federal agency, but details about the facility are top secret. Those who work in the lab will be required to have security clearance from the U.S. government.

And no vacations to Moscow, either. You can, however, order a White Russian at your favorite bar. But only one, and then you have to follow it with a Shirley Temple.

DAG McCrory stumbles through another interview

Whining and obfuscation are the tools of the inept:

Pointing again to the less than accurate claim that 34 states have a comparable ID law, McCrory added “I’m not sure where this national media is saying that we have the most restrictive laws.”

Perhaps McCrory really doesn’t understand this one, but just for the sake of clarity: the reason the law has earned that title is not just because of its strict photo ID provision, or just because of the cuts to early voting, or even just the end of pre-registration for students in their later teens, but instead because it has all of those suppressive measures rolled into one.

He may not understand it, but the people pulling his strings do. Each one of these items might be arguable on its own, but the combination clearly shows a pattern of voter suppression.

The nation is watching NC's slide backwards

Front page of the New York Times:

The Republicans not only cut taxes and business regulations, as many had expected, but also allowed stricter regulations on abortion clinics, ended teacher tenure, blocked the expansion of Medicaid, cut unemployment benefits, removed obstacles to the death penalty, allowed concealed guns in bars and restaurants, and mandated the teaching of cursive writing. In an interview, Mr. McCrory said that critics had obscured what he called a pragmatic and fiscally responsible agenda. “It’s a combination of people on the two extremes wanting to bring up and exaggerate controversial issues,” he said, adding that he had pushed back against earlier versions of the abortion and tax bills, and was planning to veto other bills this week.

It will be interesting to see if he follows through on the Veto "plan", and which insubstantial bills will be the sacrificial possums. More on these alleged Vetoes from the Washington Post:

Two word Tuesday

Last week we had some fun on the first "Two Word" Tuesday here at BlueNC. The idea is to say everything that needs saying using two words and two words only. And to get the ball rolling, here's a meme we should work to spread, something that could very well dog Pat Mac for the next three years given the fact that he clearly doesn't understand half the laws he's signing. These two great words are courtesy of NC Policy Watch.

Watauga's GOP board of elections makes sweeping changes

No more voting on campus:

Amid shouts and boos from an audience of about 60 people, the board -- with Campbell's disapproval -- eliminated the early voting site on the ASU campus and recombined the Boone precincts into one with 9,340 registered voters and one polling place.

They also approved a new public comment policy that accepts feedback only in writing and assigned new rules to Board of Elections Director Jane Ann Hodges and employees.

It also appears they decided to shuffle some other polling sites around just to confuse some people:

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