James @
Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 8:34am

Duke's coal ash warning late, lacking for North Carolina? (Greensboro News & Record) -- As the night wore on last Super Bowl Sunday, water plant operator Steven Johns’ world grew progressively scarier. The fixes in his chemical toolkit weren’t working against this new invader that threatened the Danville water supply. As Feb. 2 gave way to Feb. 3, Johns kept shaking his head while turbidity readings that normally signify dirt, bacteria and other nasty stuff zoomed ever higher in the future drinking water that his plant was drawing from the Dan River. “All the books I read and all the classes I went to — not a word about coal ash,” Johns said at the plant last week. “I had to find out on my own.” Happily, Johns teased out the solution and helped spare his city’s water supply any ill effects from the coal ash spill that began earlier that Sunday at Duke Energy’s retired Dan River Steam Station just across the state line. He did it using a tool that Virginia officials received from Duke Energy, a tool their counterparts in North Carolina didn’t get that day: a clear understanding that coal ash had been released in potentially troublesome amounts and that public water supplies might be at risk.

Daily dose
James @
Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 8:57am


James @
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 3:14pm
James @
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 8:32am

Received via email:

The 2013 – 2014 Legislative Session finally adjourned last night. The budget and Medicaid were two of the biggest items to be addressed during this legislative session, yet we are leaving with a budget that is unsustainable and without action on Medicaid. I am pleased, however, that we did enact bipartisan legislation to clean up the 33 coal ash ponds in North Carolina.

This session, the legislature unfortunately impaired our ability to grow economically in the future by damaging public education and our universities and rejecting the federal expansion of health insurance for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.

I voted against the short session budget because it harms North Carolina, primarily in education and health care.

John Stein NCGS
James @
Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 4:46pm

Governor Liability.

Despite (false) hopes of a reset, the governor continues to damage himself and his party. The evidence is it will continue. Like Charlotte’s business oligarchy, of which McCrory is so fond, bank on it.

This reminds me of the diggers and fillers we had back at the Naval Academy. They were the guys who dug holes and filled them up again, usually to fix things, but often to break things.

In this case, McCrory's the digger. Duke Energy, the Chamber, and Art Pope? They're the fillers. Same as it ever was.

James @
Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 11:24am


The challengers have described the program as a broad assault on the state’s public schools. They also contend it violates fundamental provisions of the state constitution. Hobgood agreed Thursday that the program also violates the state constitution.

The state received more than 5,500 applications for vouchers before a February ruling in which Hobgood froze distribution of the funds. Hobgood said that he had heard enough evidence to question the constitutionality and allowed the lawsuit to proceed despite requests for a dismissal.

ncgop Vounchers
James @
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 3:28pm

It's hard to imagine a more privileged gang of upper-crust conservatives than those who are founding members of The 12th State Forum. Take a look for yourself.

And then consider the contradictions. 12SF promises itself to be above partisanship, working only for North Carolina, yet 100% of its leadership are Republican hacks and operatives. 12SF says it wants prosperity for all, and yet it advocates policies that have been proven again and again to divide, conquer, and perpetuate a permanent underclass here in North Carolina. And of course, they're all white fratboys.

It must be said that 12SF has positioned itself between a rock and a hard place. As they try to preserve shrinking influence in our growing population, they will inevitably become more strident, more afraid, and more dangerous.

Propaganda from their website:

12th State
James @
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 8:51am

McCrory and the NCGOP now proudly claim:

How about this one? The North Carolina General Assembly now contains the biggest bunch of liars in the history of the Old North State.

James @
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 8:15am

More and more it appears that Phil Berger will end up being the winner – at least as far as getting done what you want done is concerned – by the time all the air goes out of the current legislative session. House Speaker and GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate Thom Tillis just wanted to somehow look in charge. He’s looked desperate and victimized by circumstances that he hasn’t been able to control. Republican Gov. Pat McCrory wanted a teacher pay increase to get educators and parents off his back. Instead got a Senate-designed confusing mess that left teachers dissatisfied and feeling they’d been hoodwinked. McCrory wanted the legislature to pass his wife’s priority, a bill to regulate puppy mills. Didn’t happen. McCrory wanted Medicaid reform. See puppy mill bill. On the other hand, Berger and his allies in the Senate wanted to cut education spending and flatten the salary scale. Check. He wanted to deliver some action on the coal ash mess, since it happened in his district. Check. He was happy to come out with nothing, if the House didn’t go along with the incentives legislation. Check. Phil Berger isn’t running statewide and he’s got himself a custom tailored district to make sure his re-election isn’t threatened. Check. There’s more, but that would be piling on, and Berger’s too polite for that kind of thing.

James @
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 10:53am

Gary Pearce's blog post today hits some of the highlights of why I'm optimistic about the November election.

Republicans strode up to the plate in Raleigh with big bats and high hopes, then whiffed on three straight pitches.

Strike one was teacher pay ...
Strike two was coal ash ...
Strike three belonged to Governor McCrory alone. He stepped up to the plate to be the hero on coal ash after the legislature struck out. But he tied himself in ethical knots by wrongly reporting his Duke stock on his ethics statement.

How big a sin is this? Well, look at it this way: If Bev Perdue had done it, the legislature would have impeached her.

Gary Pearce