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NC's Biofuels Center withers on the vine

Republican Legislature slashes funding for innovative clean energy research:

The 5-year-old Oxford-based organization, which is created to help the state develop biofuels made from energy crops other than corn, lost its $4.3 million in annual funding under the reigning Republican majority in the state legislature. "The Center, a growing biofuels community statewide, and companies considering new facilities here share dismay that North Carolina has visibly pulled back from the nation’s lead state biofuels agency and from long-term commitment to comprehensive biofuels development,” Burke says in the release. “No longer pursuing advanced biofuels with a focused, comprehensive strategy will lessen opportunity to create rural jobs, strengthen agriculture, and create an enormous biofuels and biomaterials sector."

This really shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody. The Koch Brothers have been very active politically in North Carolina, and not just through their astroturf-powered Americans For the Prosperous. Any government-funded project that wants to take a bite out of the fossil fuel industry will likely get its teeth pulled, regardless of how promising economically it is. As a matter of fact, the more promising it is, the more likely it will suffer under the current regime.

Take a field trip with teachers in Raleigh today

Permission slip from your parents not necessary:

North Carolina Association of Educators vice president Mark Jewell says busloads are coming to Raleigh on Monday to protest budget cuts to public education that are hurting classrooms and kids. The $21 billion state spending plan for this year offers no raises for teachers, who are among the lowest-paid in the country. The group also is angered by the coming end of job security rights for veteran teachers.

Today's event will be a little different from previous Moral Mondays. Stretch your legs for social justice:

The most backward legislature in America

Pat McCrory said he was going to focus on three E's. One of them was supposed to be education. Maybe that's why he's attracted so much attention lately, as he did in this report in Education Week.

I realize many of you in states like Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Florida, and Tennessee could tell similar stories, but the North Carolina General Assembly, with its GOP super-majority and leaderless Governor, who is also a member of the Republican Party, have managed to destroy the reputation of a state. Once known for having the most innovative and progressive public school system in America, North Carolina is now a trajectory of backwardness.

Nice going, Pat.

Blatant play-to-play politics displayed by Tillis

More fodder for his doomed US Senate campaign:

“I would estimate he is directly responsible for more than $100,000.00 in financial support through personal contributions to my campaign committee and other candidates and through the Hospitality Alliance,” Tillis wrote in a March 21 email to House leaders.

The chilling part of this is that it's apparent Thom Tillis considers campaign donations to be a perfectly legitimate reason to appoint somebody to a board or other position, as do most of his colleagues. And as to a Democrat giving such large sums to a Republican's campaign, well. With enemies like that you don't need friends.

Another writer joins BlueNC in call for uprising

Time to rise up and become champions for the middle class.

Once upon a time both Democrats and Republicans fought for middle class support but Democrats became advocates for the poor and disenfranchised while Republicans grew into the party for big business and the rich. This “silent majority” watched both parties cater to big money contributors and special interests. Curiously, the middle class votes in numbers sufficient to change their situation but they no longer have a political party or leaders advocating for them and feel too beaten up to rise up.

Justice coming for NC GOP's tyrants

We're not a collection of colonies anymore, we are a nation:

The Justice Department is preparing to take fresh legal action in a string of voting rights cases across the nation, U.S. officials said, part of a new attempt to blunt the impact of a Supreme Court ruling that the Obama administration has warned will imperil minority representation. In the coming weeks, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is expected to announce that the Justice Department is using other sections of the Voting Rights Act to bring lawsuits or take other legal action to prevent states from implementing certain laws, including requirements to present certain kinds of identification in order to vote.

In their zeal to be considered the most radical Republicans in the nation, the NC GOP is going to attract more legal heat than they can possibly handle. Something they should keep in mind for the next few days as they try to force all their remaining bad ideas down the throats of the people. And that depth of legal scrutiny is bound to uncover some criminal activity as well. See you in court, jackasses.

Is that a Glock in your pocket?

Or are you just glad to see me?

The Republican-backed bill approved by the House and Senate on Tuesday allows concealed-carry permit holders to take firearms into bars, restaurants and other places where alcohol is served, parades and funeral processions as long as owners or organizers don’t expressly forbid it. Permit holders can also carry their firearms at public recreation areas and playgrounds.

And this new law would allow hunting with silencers, which is a real head-scratcher. Aside from the fact it gives hunters the unfair advantage of multiple shots to bring down their quarry (not very sportsmanlike), it also prevents other hunters (or hikers, or campers, or farmers, or horseback riders, or ____) from being warned there's a firearm being used in the area. Then again, Republicans don't really understand or care about "safety", since God has already decided if you're going to live or die, and lawmakers have no business getting involved in such matters.

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