BlueNC @
Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - 8:03am

CAMPAIGN 2014

Candidates WIll Likely "Play It Safe" in First Senate Debate (WFDD-FM) -- Caution may be the key word in the upcoming first debate between incumbent Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican challenger Thom Tillis. At this point, the race is too close to call, with most polls showing that it is a dead heat. Kenneth Fernandez directs polling at Elon University. He says he’s expecting the candidates to play it safe to avoid making gaffes that could make the rounds on social media and in political ads. “With the Internet and with the TV ads, that one kind of foot-in-the-mouth can be played over and over again,” he says. Fernandez says that unlike a national presidential debate, the effects of senate debates are harder to measure because so few people watch them. But with a race this close, there may be a chance for the candidates to gain some ground.
http://wfdd.org/post/candidates-will-likely-play-it-safe-first-senate-de...

Banks reliable source of campaign cash for Hagan (McClatchy Newspapers) -- U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan has received $962,000 since 2008 from employees and political action committees of industries that are under the jurisdiction of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, where she has served for a large portion of her first term in Congress. The industries are some of the biggest sources of money for both Democrats and Republicans. Historically they’ve been particularly generous to members of the committee and its House of Representatives counterpart, the Financial Services Committee. An examination of the financial sector’s campaign contributions in this year’s highly competitive North Carolina Senate race, tallied and analyzed by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, shows that Hagan’s Republican opponent, Thom Tillis, also has collected large sums from some of the same industries. The sector’s political action committees, however, have given more to Hagan.
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/09/01/238275_banks-have-been-a-reliable-...

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BlueNC @
Monday, September 1, 2014 - 8:40am

CAMPAIGN 2014
Moral Monday movement looks to show its clout at the polls (MSNBC) -- Despite the Moral Monday movement’s righteous rhetoric and grassroots enthusiasm, as November approaches, it faces its toughest test yet: Can it turn the progressive energy that it has generated into actual votes?
http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/moral-monday-movement-looks-show-its-clout-th...

In N.C. and 5 other states, ‘Citizens United’ gives GOP 10-point advantage (Washington Post) -- The Supreme Court ruling on political spending has given Republicans an advantage.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/08/28/study-citizens...

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BlueNC @
Sunday, August 31, 2014 - 10:15am

AFP highlights a big study by the American Energy Alliance and (surprise) it finds that people LOVE pollution, climate change, and more profits for Duke Energy!

AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY: Proposed EPA standards to hurt N.C. (Burlington Times-News column) -- The Environmental Protection Agency is on a cross-country roadshow this summer to sell its newest mandate, which will cut the country’s carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent. The agency’s and the Obama Administration’s sales pitch is simple: This will usher in a “cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous future.” The slick marketing campaign isn’t working. The more people learn about the mandate, the more they oppose it — especially here in North Carolina. That’s the conclusion of a new survey of registered voters in North Carolina commissioned by the American Energy Alliance. According to the survey, 59 percent of our state supports the regulations when hearing about them for the first time — who doesn’t love Mother Earth? When they hear both the pros and the cons, however, support evaporates. The first thing to know is that the mandate forces North Carolina to cut its carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent — 10 points higher than the national average. Although the national target is 30 percent, the Obama administration has assigned different reduction targets to each state. Ours is one of the highest in the country. This will unavoidably hurt North Carolina’s ability to compete for jobs.
http://www.thetimesnews.com/opinion/opinion-columns/proposed-epa-standar...

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BlueNC @
Saturday, August 30, 2014 - 8:23am

CAMPAIGN 2014
For Tar Heel time, set your clock back 100 years (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- For many years, North Carolina was known as the Rip Van Winkle state because it was so backward. Stingy public officials and business tycoons wanted low wages and low taxes so there was little investment in civic needs. Roads and other public facilities were ignored while education of the state’s youth was minimal. The state was governed by the whims of a plutocracy of landed aristocrats, then tobacco barons, monopoly industrialists and eventually bankers and insurance executives. They had little use for an educated workforce or civic infrastructure. Too often they viewed things through a racist or misogynistic prism. The constitution of 1898, established after the political coup in Wilmington, effectively suppressed African-American voting.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/08/29/4106160/for-tar-heel-time-set-you...

What you should read to get ready for the fall elections (Washington Post) -- Labor Day is almost here, which means the 2014 midterms are only slightly more than two months away. Unfortunately, political consultants have not found a way to make summer not precede fall, so it is likely that you and many of your fellow voters haven't paid much attention to politics or polls since the solstice. Fortunately for you, many reporters and election aficionados have. Here are a few of their recommendations; some are on specific races, some tackle the big picture, some are on the midterms, some are on American politics writ large, some are long, some short -- all are quite good. The New Racism: This is how the civil rights movement ends -- The New Republic: I'd recommend Jason Zengerle's recent cover story in The New Republic: "The New Racism: This is how the civil rights movement ends." In it, Jason details how a generation of African American lawmakers in the South feel as though they're watching the political progress they took years to build vanish practically overnight. It's a rich, historical narrative that describes a hugely important shift in American politics. And it's a compelling read.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/08/29/summer-is-almo...

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BlueNC @
Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 8:37am

A MODEST, UNOFFICIAL, AND UNSOLICITED,
PROPOSAL FOR A SPEECH YOU'LL NEVER HEAR

TO: Gov. Pat McCrory and John Skvarla

RE: Senate Bill 729 “Coal Ash Action Plan”

Your disposition of Senate Bill 729, which passed with veto-proof majorities in the state House of Representatives and the state Senate, presents a unique opportunity for you, governor, to demonstrate leadership and independence. The legislation raises serious questions about separation of powers among the branches of North Carolina’s government and whether you, and governors that come after you, will have the authority they need, and that’s mandated by the state Constitution, to effectively carry out your duties. While you’re clearly uncomfortable in formal, “stick-to-the-script” situations, this proposal will require discipline if it is going to work. You have expressed some very valid concerns about the Coal Ash legislation the General Assembly sent you in its closing hours. While you were probably a bit premature in going to the press to talk about your reservations before it had been fully hashed out by your legal staff and experts at DENR, the criticism you’ve taken can be overcome. Here’s what you might consider doing sometime before the Sept. 20 deadline to act:

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BlueNC @
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 8:55am

MONEY TALKS, WHO’S LISTENING? -- One of the biggest challenges any political campaign faces is figuring out how to dominate the conversation – determining what issues get the most attention and who’s views are driven home to the voters. It’s why all that money is raised and all those ads flood the airwaves. On Tuesday, the Washington Post declared: “North Carolina is the race on which the Senate will pivot. … If you assume that Montana, West Virginia and South Dakota are gone for Democrats and that Arkansas and Louisiana are going to be tough, then the majority maker for Republicans looks increasingly like the swing state of North Carolina. … Spending by outside groups suggests they think North Carolina is the pivot; it's the race where the most outside money has been spent to date this cycle.” All that outside money – more than $16.5 million and it isn’t even Labor Day -- can be a blessing or a curse for candidates and their campaigns. For candidates short on cash, it can help keep their names and criticism of their opponents in the public eye. Campaign laws forbid, except in narrow cases, any coordination between the campaigns and these outside, independent, super PACs and flood of outside money. While often these outside groups take their messages from the theme and issues the candidates they favor are pushing, that isn’t always the case. The agendas of these outside groups aren’t always completely sync with the candidates they favor. With the mega tsunami of outside money coming into North Carolina, it could be a huge struggle for either Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis or Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan to get their message heard over the over the billion dollar bullhorns of the Koch brothers and others on the right and left. Currently, for example, the Tillis campaign is trying to stress education and the candidate’s boot-straps background. Meanwhile Carl Rove’s American Crossroads is flooding the airwaves with messages about balancing the federal budget – a distant third in priorities of voters according to last week’s USA TODAY North Carolina poll. As much of a struggle it will be for the two candidates to figure out how to dominate the discussion, that challenge will be even greater as they seek to navigate with, around and over the tens of millions these independent groups will be spending to press their message on North Carolina voters.

‘YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS, A …’ -- The political conventional wisdom (The Old CW) echoed “GOP glee” over incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s photo op with President Barack Obama. Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis’ U.S. Senate campaign asked: “Will a photo doom Kay Hagan?” There were plenty of snaps of the incumbent Democrat with the president Tuesday in Charlotte. But who else was in an uncropped photo – is that Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr? Who’s the guy giving Vice President Joe Biden a big hug a while back? And that same guy giving his pal Barack Obama a friendly slap on the back? Seems Hagan has some GOP company. Sure, Barack Obama isn’t the most popular political figure in North Carolina – with a 46 percent favorable rating in a recent USA TODAY statewide poll. Who might be less popular to stand beside? House Speaker Tillis recorded a 24 percent favorable rating in the poll; Gov. McCrory, a mere 38 percent.

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BlueNC @
Monday, August 25, 2014 - 8:14am

DELUSIONS
Legislature addresses coal ash cleanup, safety (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- Creating legislation can be an ugly, contentious business, even when everyone is a member of the same party. Future legislatures probably will be asked to tweak and update the coal ash legislation of 2014. But passing a bill to address cleanup and safety was critical. It couldn’t wait. For that, North Carolina legislators are to be thanked and commended.
http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/opinion/our-views/legislature-addresse...

CAMPAIGN 2014
The Kochs' commercial appeal (Politico) -- The Koch brothers are showing up in so many campaign ads for Democrats, you’d think they were on the ballot. The commercials are full of images designed to make ordinary Americans bristle, from private jets to limousines to handshakes in dark rooms. They often feature the same images of Charles and David Koch in blazers and ties — portraits that could have appeared in the billionaires issue of Forbes magazine. And many of the ads point out that the wealthy industrialist brothers are behind rival ads that support Republicans. … Democrats’ decision to give the Kochs the Mitt Romney treatment highlights the degree to which the brothers’ unprecedented spending has upended American politics. This cycle, Koch-affiliated groups, such as Americans for Prosperity, are expected to spend up to a staggering $290 million to support conservative causes and candidates, much of it on advertising. … Senate Majority PAC, the main Democratic outside group trying to keep the Senate, has used the Kochs in its television spots in states including Michigan, Louisiana, Iowa and North Carolina. One ad it ran during the NCAA basketball tournament had a bracket showing a picture of the Kochs and the narrator saying: “A special interest bracket brought to you by the out-of-state billionaires the Koch brothers. They picked Thom Tillis to play for them. As speaker, Tillis passed a tax cut for the wealthiest while raising taxes on 80 percent of North Carolinians.”
http://www.politico.com/story/2014/08/koch-brothers-commercials-110270.h...

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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.

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BlueNC @
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 8:43am

THE SPILL
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.
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/08/21/hagan-says-coal...

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.
http://www.salisburypost.com/article/20140822/SP05/140829860/1012/sierra...

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BlueNC @
Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 9:35am

THE SPIILL
Environmentalists slam new coal ash bill (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Critics of compromise coal ash legislation agreed to by North Carolina House and Senate conferees faulted the measure Wednesday for allowing the toxic material to remain in place at most of Duke Energy’s leaking dumps. The legislation requires the removal of ash within five years from the utility’s Asheville plant and three other facilities, but would let the material be capped in place at 10 other plants if they are deemed “low risk” by a new commission.
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/08/20/environmentalis...

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