James @
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 12:05pm

You end up with a significant shortfall in tax revenues. Surprise, surprise.

The report shows a recession-like drop in personal income tax withholdings since the start of the calendar year, and personal income tax collections now lag forecasts by $221.3 million.

James @
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 8:59am

It just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser.

"Just a week after the state publicly abandoned its sweetheart deal with Duke and promised to "enforce" the law, it has appealed a judicial ruling that confirmed the state's legal authority to enforce a real solution for coal ash contamination," Gerkin [of the Southern Environmental Law Center] said in a statement. "We’re disappointed that this administration remains so determined to delay through litigation rather than move forward to stop ongoing pollution of North Carolina's rivers, lakes and groundwater."

Here's the translation:

James @
Friday, April 4, 2014 - 11:51am

Given past transgressions by some Democrats, the appeal of Republican reformers was understandable. "Send us to Raleigh and we'll work for democracy and freedom, and we'll be accountable every step of the way." It was a seductive promise, except it turned out to be bullshit.

We've seen more backroom dealing, more legislative shenanigans, more attempts to block public oversight, more schemes to divert tax dollars to private profit, and more unvarnished subversion of voting rights than at any time in recent history.

Putting an end to this Republican reign of terror is Job One, and it's going to be tough. We'll claw back seats this year, hopefully enough to put a dent in the GOP's super-majority. We'll win back the governor's mansion in 2016, bringing to a close the hapless career of Duke McCrory. And we'll implement non-partisan redistricting in 2020, which will forever level the playing field for state elections.

But in the meantime, there are a couple of races that matter enormously in 2014, and one of them is the race for North Carolina Supreme Court. I'm supporting and voting for Robin Hudson, and I hope you will too. With Art Pope continuing his multi-million dollar shopping spree, we simply must come together to blunt the effect of his spending.

James @
Friday, April 4, 2014 - 8:20am

A real progressive gets the nod to fill Senator Nesbitt's seat. And even better, it's a woman. Way to go, Asheville!

Van Duyn is a well-known fundraiser, volunteer and activist who was among those arrested in Raleigh during a June Moral Mondays protest last year. She also participated in the recent Moral March on Raleigh. Her victory is also a victory for the progressive end of the party though she does have support among mainline Democrats.

James @
Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 3:03pm

If you are in the Triangle area and are able to help, please join Jane Brown, Laura Edwards, Deborah Hylton, Verla Insko, Sue Jackson, Florence Peacock, and the NARAL Pro-Choice America at a reception honoring ALMA ADAMS in support of her election for U.S. Congress-North Carolina’s 12th District.

Today, THURSDAY, APRIL 3RD, from 5:30PM – 7:30PM at the home of Jane Brown and James Protzman, 451 Lakeshore Lane, Chapel Hill.

Minimum suggested contribution: $50

Please RSVP to erika@almaadamsforcongress.com, or contribute online at http://almaadamsforcongress.com/contribute


I'm not really on the fundraising circuit this year, but am giving to selected candidates based on their records of progressive action and on the company they keep. Alma Adams is on my short list of candidates to support.

James @
Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 12:54pm

James @
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 2:45pm

If hypocrisy were still a sin, the McCrony administration would be toiling in the seventh level of hell until all eternity. Chris Fitzsimon breaks it down.

James @
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 2:04pm

There's enough money in furniture to feed an army of workers, but not enough to feed the corporate profit machine. Sad news.

And what's the McDecker solution? Play golf!

James @
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 9:20am

This week brings a flurry of lawyering, with Duke Energy working at every turn to shut citizens out of the process and keep communications secret, with a helpful assist from John "Long-Standing Crony" Skvarla. Here's a sampling:

Duke Energy is asking a judge to prevent citizens groups from taking part in any enforcement action that would make the company clean up nearly three dozen coal ash pits across North Carolina.

Duke Energy worked with North Carolina environmental regulators for years to ensure information about potential fallout from dam breaches – including those at coal ash ponds – would stay exempt from the state's public records law. Emails between Duke and officials at the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources show that after an initial request from an engineer at the company in May 2011, the department sought legal advice for ways to keep dam emergency action plans away from public inspection, reversing the department's earlier position.

Duke Energy says a judge should dismiss state lawsuits filed over coal ash contamination because any releases were “specifically or impliedly authorized” by its state permits.

State environmental groups are suing Duke Energy to clean up a ribbon of sludge in the Dan River as well as its 14 coal ash-containment sites across North Carolina.

As underlined by an environmental group last week, there are no clear answers about where the more than 100 million tons of Duke Energy coal ash is supposed to go to make it safe and secure.

James @
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 3:31pm

Republican legislators did everything but pull teeth to get Mike Walden to give a rosy picture about offshore drilling. Much to my surprise, he didn't.

Republicans on the committee pushed Walden to say the outlook could be brighter if it turns out North Carolina has more oil and natural gas than estimated. Rep. Trudy Wade of Greensboro cited North Dakota's low unemployment rate and high average salaries amid that state's oil boom, and asked Walden if the same thing couldn't happen here.

"I do not foresee that kind of economic boom in North Carolina," Walden replied.

On the other hand, Walden conceded Sen. Buck Newton's point that if the state has more natural gas offshore than expected, the job picture would improve by that amount. "That's fair, as a first cut," the professor said.