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More climate change denial

After the hullabaloo that ensued when NC's Coastal Resources Commission previously predicted dire consequences from sea level rise, causing the NCGA to pass a law making sea level rise (or at least its scientific prediction) illegal, the CRC is at it again.

This time they're going to look only 30 years into the future, rather than about 90 years into the future, because...well...when they predicted what is likely to happen in the year 2100, developers and legislators got themselves all in a lather -- because there's money to be made, dammit!

Hoping to avoid a repeat of the uproar sparked in 2010 when a state science panel warned of a possible 39-inch rise in sea level by the end of this century, the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission decreed Thursday that the next official forecast will look no farther than 30 years into the future.

Never mind that their original prediction was most likely pretty accurate, according to scientific consensus.

Pat's pretend budget

Pat has issued his "budget adjustment recommendations". It should be no surprise to anyone that he:

  • trumpets sorely needed increases, such as teacher and state employee pay;
  • tries to divert attention from the cuts necessary to fund the increases;
  • makes up numbers in an unsuccessful attempt to pretend his budget balances; and
  • keeps the tax cut for his boss, Art Pope.

Let's have a look at each, below the fold.

Pay to play in Raleigh

The legislature reconvenes tomorrow.

That means that the pols rake in the money tonight.

Tonight North Carolina’s Republican and Democratic lawmakers are taking part in what’s become a ritual in Raleigh – the pre-session fundraisers.

Republican House members are gathering in a downtown restaurant, GOP senators in a private home. House Democrats are convening in a downtown office building and senators in a nearby wine shop.

Joining them all will be the usual cohort of lobbyists and political action committees, many making a circuit between events.

Once the short session begins Wednesday at noon, lawmakers will no longer be able to take PAC contributions. (They can never take them from lobbyists.)

It's pay to play, pure and simple. It's sleazy. It's both parties. And we don't know who's paying to play until after their investment pays off.

Magistrates sue over pay

Teachers aren't the only ones in North Carolina putting up with terrible pay. Magistrates have filed a lawsuit, alleging that they've been underpaid for years.

Forty magistrates from across North Carolina sued the state Tuesday, alleging that going years without raises amounts to a breach of contract and violates their constitutional rights.

The magistrates are seeking back pay, plus interest, and want a judge's approval for a class-action lawsuit, noting all North Carolina magistrates are in the same position.

Pay scales for magistrates are set by statute and are based on the number of years of experience, which according to the suit creates a contractual obligation for the state to pay those rates. The state hasn't fulfilled that obligation since 2009, the suit states.

We find it oh-so-fitting that the state's budget director is one of the defendants!

NC lawmakers committing voter fraud?

Via Greg Flynn, we learn of ABC's report that 4 NC lawmakers appear on the list of "duplicate" voters that the NC GOP has been railing about. You remember, NC joined the red-state coalition that uses bad data from Kansas's secretary of state, Kris Kobach, a leading vote suppressor, to attempt to show that voter fraud is rampant.

The group Democracy North Carolina presented documentation Monday that it says shows four state lawmakers have duplicate voter registrations in other states.

The GOP endorsement-fest

It's getting hard to keep track of, but we think it goes something like this:

  • Rand Paul endorses Greg Brannon
  • Mike Huckabee endorses Mark Harris
  • Jeb Bush endorses Thom Tillis

and in the latest news, Newt Gingrich endorses Juniorberger.

We can only imagine the conversations during the various campaigns' strategy sessions:

"Hey, does anyone know any failed presidential candidates?"
Harris: "Yeah, Mike Huckabee. He's a highly respected commentator religious nut just like me"
Juniorberger: "What about Newt? He is an icon of integrity makes headlines about marriage just like me"

The Brannon and Tillis campaigns, having not identified any sufficiently tarnished failed presidential candidates, move on to Plan B:

"Hey, does anyone know any unpopular future presidential candidates?"

Jackson & Brock hate trees

Continuing their war on the environment and war on cities all in one fell swoop, the extremist loons of the NCGA, led by Brent Jackson & Andrew Brock, now propose to do away with all types of tree protection.

State legislators may act this summer to bar cities, towns and counties from imposing tree-protection rules on private property owners, if a study committee gets its way.

The language on tree-protection laws is direct, barring both cities and counties from adopting or enforcing any ordinance or regulation that governs “the removal, replacement and preservation of trees on private property within its jurisdiction.”

Of course, Guvnor McCharlotte is caught in the middle again, because he liked to at least pretend to be a moderate in his previous elected job.

Duke Energy shareholders meeting occurs amid protests

Protesters greeted shareholders at Duke Energy & Pollution's headquarters in Charlotte.

A loud crowd of people protesting Duke Energy’s activities packed the sidewalk outside its corporate headquarters in uptown Charlotte Thursday morning as people arrived for the company’s shareholder meeting.

Protesters carried signs and pulled “crime scene” tape along the sidewalk. They chanted and banged drums. One woman dressed up like they Statue of Liberty.

Much of the ire of the crowd was focused on Duke’s response to a Feb. 2 coal ash spill in the Dan River.

Guvnor McCoalash was there in spirit:

Supremes let North Carolinians breathe easier

The Supreme Court (with the predictable exceptions of Crazy Clarence & Screwball Scalia [and Alito, who recused himself]) sided with the Obama administration, upholding the EPA's rules to prevent cross-state pollution; that is, air pollution (significantly from coal-fired power plants) generated in one state that blows downwind into another state.

The Supreme Court handed the Obama administration yet another major win for its environmental agenda on Tuesday, upholding an EPA rule aimed at preventing some states from polluting their downwind neighbors with harmful emissions from sources like coal-burning power plants.

The 6-2 decision overturns a lower court’s judgment that the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule overstepped the agency’s Clean Air Act authority. The rule’s opponents included utilities, industry groups and “upwind” states like Texas, Virginia and Ohio.


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