James @
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 4:52pm

James @
Friday, August 29, 2014 - 8:52am

Film crew leaves and Charlotte's out $40 million (Fayetteville Observer) -- The first reviews are in and they're bad: The audience walked out. The sequels may be worse. Somebody needs to rewrite the script. Fast.

N.C. official rebuts environmentalists' coal-ash claims (Greensboro News & Record) -- The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources fired back Thursday at claims by environmentalists that it has failed to enforce clean-water laws in regard to Duke Energy’s coal ash ponds. In an 11-page letter, Deputy DENR Secretary Donald van der Vaart said essentially that recent claims the agency hasn’t been enforcing the federal Clean Water Act properly are all wet. “This administration has undertaken enforcement actions to address long-ignored environmental problems associated with coal ash ponds,” van der Vaart wrote. “These problems ranging from unauthorized discharges to groundwater contamination have been well known and documented for decades. “Yet virtually no initiative was undertaken by any non-governmental organization or governmental agency to address these problems until quite recently,” the deputy secretary said, contending that stepped-up enforcement only began with the onset of Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration.

Environmental advocates to file new ash suits (Charlotte Observer) -- North Carolina’s environmental agency said Thursday it won’t file further coal ash lawsuits against Duke Energy, as advocacy groups prepared to sue the utility next week.

Daily dose
James @
Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 5:33pm

Watch this.

James @
Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 9:43am

Hell yes.

Expansion of Medicaid can hugely benefit rural areas by addressing insurance coverage gaps, especially given that rural residents tend to be less well covered than their urban counterparts with employer-provided health insurance. Medicaid expansion promises rural health providers much needed increased payment levels, which help struggling rural hospitals maintain operations against better-funded suburban and urban competitors.

But it's even worse than that:

Senator Ron Rabin who represents Harnett, Lee and a small portion of Johnston County not only voted in favor of not taking the Medicaid expansion money but is listed as one of the co-sponsors of the Senate bill that refuses to take the Expansion of Medicaid.

James @
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 8:34pm

I've worked for some of the world's largest consulting firms, so when I write about big-time professional services, I know what I'm talking about. And today, I'm talking about Thom Tillis. Again.

As you may know, Thom Tillis spent most of his career working up through the ranks at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, one of the Big Eight, Big Six, etc., before it was acquired by IBM in 2002. His job before and after the acquisition involved selling technology and services to help big banks operate efficiently and comply with federal regulations.

Thom Tillis
James @
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 8:23am

Lawmakers have finally brought an end to the marathon “short” session which lasted over a month longer than planned, and wasted $1.1 million in taxpayer money. Unfortunately, they left a great deal of work undone -- or even worse, done poorly.

Teacher Assistant Jobs at Risk

The General Assembly adjourned without fixing the budget’s cuts to teacher assistant funding, forcing districts across the state to cut TA positions. Funding for textbooks has dropped by 79% over the past five years, according to the Dept. of Public Instruction. In many schools, students are forced to share textbooks. Teacher turnover in Wake County jumped over 20% since last year. Veteran teachers across the state will continue to leave after seeing almost no pay raise at all.

The Coal Ash “Cleanup” Bill That Wasn’t

PM Progress NC
James @
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 1:23pm
medicaid veterans
James @
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 8:01am

Pope beneficial to state (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Art Pope is to be commended for his many years of public service, especially for his 20 months as the state’s budget director.

McCrory: I’ll sign coal ash bill that violates constitution (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory says he will likely sign a coal ash cleanup bill approved last week by the North Carolina legislature into law, even though he suggested a key provision violates the state Constitution.

Daily dose
James @
Monday, August 25, 2014 - 4:43pm

End corporate taxation. And then tax the hell out of individuals for capital gains.

James @
Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 12:35pm

A great column in the Asheville Citizen Times today, one worth reading for its sheer brilliance, let alone the horrific substance. Check it out.

The NC Department of Transportation project to widen I-26 here in Buncombe County may not be shovel-ready, but in his Mecklenburg County district Tillis supports widening I-77 from Charlotte to Mooresville. With toll lanes. “Lexus lanes,” opponents call them. Other critics call I-77 “Thom’s Tholl Road.”

And this:

Oh, there will be new lanes all right, but to use them drivers will pay tolls to a foreign developer. What Raleigh saves today, Tillis’ neighbors will pay out of pocket for the next 50 years. Or else spend more time in traffic and less with their families or sleeping.

And this:

Tillis told opponents that with state revenues shrinking (because of tax cuts?) they had a choice: toll lanes “or no improvements to I-77 for 15 or 20 years.” It’s Thom’s way or no highway.

And this:

Cintra opened a new toll road in San Antonio in November 2012. Revenues there fell far short of projections. By June 2014, Cintra was struggling even as it signed agreements with the NCDOT. In July, Moodys declared the project in default. U.S. taxpayers are on the hook to bond holders for any bailout.

And my favorite:

“Limited government” is their code for stripping America for parts.

Tom Sullivan