Daily dose

A liar by any other name:

McCrory breaks his promise on abortion (Charlotte Observer) -- On Friday, N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory reneged on his promise not to allow further restrictions on abortions in the state. Yes, he did some fancy footwork, dancing around his broken promise, telling reporters that a “recent House version (of proposed legislation) allows the medical professionals at the Department of Health and Human Services to write the rules which will ensure women’s safety.” And he added that he would still veto a Senate version that opponents said would close virtually all abortion clinics in the state. But McCrory isn’t fooling anyone but himself with this parsing. The House bill varies little from the Senate version other than making a couple of concessions.



McCrory says he'll sign updated abortion bill (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said Friday he would sign a new version of an abortion bill into law if it reaches his desk because Republican legislators made changes that he said won't limit abortion access. “If the General Assembly sends me the Senate-approved bill (HB 695), I will veto it. If I get the House-passed bill (SB 353), I’ll sign it,” said Gov. McCrory. “The recent House version allows the medical professionals at the Department of Health and Human Services to write the rules which will ensure women’s safety. I want to thank those who worked on an improved bill which will better protect women while not further limiting access.”


What McCrory said in Oct. 24, 2012 campaign debate on Abortion restrictions (WRAL-TV) -- Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory discuss abortion restrictions during the third and final gubernatorial debate on Oct. 24, 2012. Q: What further restrictions on abortion would you agree to sign? PAT McCRORY: “None!”


McCrory would sign abortion bill that passed in N.C. House (Washington Post) -- The Republican governor approves of a bill that would trigger stricter standards on abortion providers.


McCrory says he would sign House version of abortion bill (WRAL-TV) -- Gov. Pat McCroy said he would sign the version of a bill placing stricter regulations on abortion clinics passed by the House.


McCrory says he will sign House abortion bill (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Gov. Pat McCrory on Friday said he will sign the House version of the abortion bill, but that he would veto the Senate's version if it comes to his desk. Abortion-rights groups say he has reneged on his campaign pledge not to sign any new restrictions


McCrory to sign motorcycle-turned-abortion bill (MSNBC) -- With remarkable speed this week, Republicans in the North Carolina state legislature amended a bill on motorcycle safety, included new restrictions on reproductive health, and got to work passing it. Would the state's freshman Republican governor, Pat McCrory, go along with this? As it turns out, yes.


McCrory is in danger of throwing away his credibility (Greensboro News & Record) -- Gov. Pat McCrory's office issued a statement today saying he will sign the motorcycle abortion bill if it reaches his desk as is. If he does, he will break his word. During a campaign debate last year, he said in one word -- "none" -- that we would not sign any measure further restricting abortion. The governor is couching his support now in terms of women's health. There may be parts of the bill that would lead to improved safety at abortion clinics. There are other parts, however, that add restrictions. …If the governor signs this measure, he will directly contradict his statement in that debate.


In state legislatures across the country, (Washington Post) In state legislatures across the country, the battle over abortion rights is raging once again. But what neither side of the abortion debate seems to want to acknowledge is that there is a middle ground on the issue. The problem for both of them: The middle is where you can find the vast majority of Americans, who see the abortion issue not as a battle, but as a balance. Public opinion on the issue, as complicated as it is, is remarkably steady — as a new report by the General Social Survey, a project of the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago, shows.


Lack of transparency always a hallmark of NC legislature (WRAL-TV) --Democrats have repeatedly cried foul during the six-month session, saying the Republican majorities in the House and Senate are circumventing public debate by introducing bills with little notice, if any, and using their numerical advantage to push them through the chambers quickly.


Surprises not surprising near session's end (Charlotte Observer) -- Surprises keep on coming in the waning days of North Carolina's legislative session.


Teacher assistants hold breath as state legislators discuss budget cuts (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The summer months often bring worry to teacher assistants as the legislature contemplates budgets that could cost them their jobs. Teacher assistants are 7.5 percent of the state's public education budget.


Legislator answers credit card lawsuit (Greenville Daily Reflector) -- A Pitt County legislator has answered a lawsuit filed against him by a credit card company. Rep. Brian Brown, R-Pitt, filed a response to a suit brought by American Express Bank on May 16 seeking payment of $12,981.94 in credit card debt. The suit alleges Brown had stopped paying off the debt earlier this year. Brown’s response, which was filed on July 3, included a document entitled “debt settlement agreement,” which outlined his plans for repaying the debt. The response stated that a copy had been sent to Sessons & Rogers P.A., the law firm representing American Express Bank. The firm has filed no additional paperwork with the court, according to records at the Pitt County Courthouse.


NC Lawmakers Embrace Koch-Backed Pledge Against Climate Action (Facing South) -- More legislators in North Carolina than in any other state have signed Americans for Prosperity's pledge that discourages action on climate change. Credit for the pledge's political success goes to the billionaire brothers of Koch Industries who founded AFP -- but also to North Carolina's own Art Pope, a conservative mega-donor and longtime AFP leader.


Feds take issue with new NC unemployment law (WRAL-TV) -- Lawmakers made provisions dealing with when workers could be denied unemployment benefits too strict, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Lawmakers say federal regulators never raised issues before.


Another McCrory priority on hold (WRAL-TV) -- A bill rewriting the state's personnel law now has the backing of state government's largest employees union, but Senate leaders aren't in a rush to move it along.


Parody Twitter account puts McCrory in the middle of the action (Raleigh News & Observer) -- It was bound to happen. Someone started a parody Twitter account that plays off Gov. Pat McCrory's claim that he has mingled with protestors in Raleigh. Patwasthere is a gathering place for “photoshopped” images that put McCrory - Zelig-like - in interesting spots.


Ex. lawmaker, top N.C. Commerce official Folwell, accused of lobbying against stadium deal (Winston-Salem Journal) -- N.C. Rep. Ed Hanes, D-Forsyth, is accusing former Republican Rep. Dale Folwell of misusing his position by helping influence a House committee to pull the plug on Winston-Salem State University’s plan to buy Bowman Gray Stadium.


Brunstetter still backs sale of Bowman Gray Stadium to WSSU (Winston-Salem Journal) -- N.C. Sen. Pete Brunstetter, R-Forsyth, said Friday that he still supports legislation to allow Winston-Salem State University to buy Bowman Gray Stadium, and would try to restore the measure when state House and Senate members go to conference over the bill.


NC House passes state bill that ends protest petitions on rezonings (Charlotte Business Journal) -- North Carolina lawmakers are close to killing the process that allows residents to file protest petitions against rezoning requests.


How do lawmakers juggle legislative duties, regular jobs? (Wilmington Star-News) -- Serving in the N.C. General Assembly is technically a part-time gig.



BACK-PEDDLING: McCrory says he meets ‘critics,’ but not ‘protesters’ (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory backed away from a statement that left the impression he frequently waded into crowds of protesters angry with Republican legislative initiatives, saying Friday he often interacts while walking near the demonstrations though he doesn't mingle among his critics.


McCrory lashes out at ‘very liberal worldview’ (New York Times column) -- The North Carolina I’m leading today is on a powerful comeback. After just six months of problem-solving leadership and making the tough decisions that we were elected to do, there is significant movement on vital reforms to tax policy, energy, education, economic development and transportation. While it may not be apparent to the very liberal worldview of The Times, North Carolina’s new focus on reform is paying off.


New York Times Most E-Mailed Last 7 Days -- 1.The Decline of North Carolina -- Republicans are systematically dismantling the state’s reputation for progress and tolerance.


New York Times Most Viewed Last 7 Days -- 3.The Decline of North Carolina -- Republicans are systematically dismantling the state’s reputation for progress and tolerance.


Governor's words in Wilson spark statewide controversy (Wilson Times) -- Gov. Pat McCrory’s words are under the media microscope as critics accuse him of lying about mingling with Moral Monday protesters. The governor’s remarks in a Wilson Times story Thursday set off a firestorm of controversy. His communications director said Friday that he’s spoken to demonstrators outside the legislative building on many occasions. "Gov. Pat McCrory interacts with many people, including protesters,” spokeswoman Kim Genardo said in a statement. "Every day, he walks to and from work, to meetings in government buildings and throughout the city of Raleigh. When possible, the governor will stop and chat with the people of North Carolina.” McCrory’s words in a Wilson Times interview led many to believe he’d claimed to have walked through the crowd during Moral Monday protests. The General Assembly police chief and the state NAACP chapter that organizes the weekly protests said they haven’t seen McCrory in the crowds. "We have not seen nor heard from the governor,” the Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, said in an email to the Times. "And his description of Moral Monday once again reveals he hasn’t seen or chosen to really listen to us, but instead, continues to be dismissive of the very citizens he was elected to serve, which is disrespectful to the purpose of his office as governor.” McCrory raised eyebrows across the Tar Heel State when he said he "go(es) out into the crowd all the time” in response to a question about the Moral Monday protests. Dozens of newspapers, television stations, websites and blogs reported the statement.


McCrory says he mingles with protesters in the streets, not at Moral Mondays (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Amid questions about comments he made earlier in the week, Gov. Pat McCrory clarified that he has not been in the throngs gathered for Moral Monday demonstrations.


McCrory walkin' in the rain (New Bern Sun Journal) -- “When I need a shot of adrenalin, I come to New Bern,” said N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory Friday, who flew into town for a campaign promised “Main Street Tour.” Before he sat down for lunch at Capt. Ratty's with a group of bipartisan local elected leaders and some invited guests, the first-term governor got a tepid taste of some Middle Street comments that gave thumbs down to current Republican leadership. In his Middle to Craven streets walk, McCrory walked among mostly smiling admirers and made stops at several shops including The Pepsi Store and Mitchell's Hardware. More than a dozen demonstrators held their ground in the rain as well as signs objecting to what some called anti-abortion legislation quickly-compiled and squeezed into a laundry-list House bill on unrelated matters that passed Thursday.


With jobless aid gone, hopes are fraying for Cape Fear region's unemployed (Fayetteville Observer) -- Out of work for more than six months, Mary Wood and André Harris of Fayetteville were among 65,300 North Carolinians looking for jobs who lost their federal unemployment benefits June 30.


Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to visit Fort Bragg for town hall Monday (Fayetteville Observer) -- Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is scheduled to visit Fort Bragg Monday for a town hall-style meeting to discuss military readiness, sequestration and civilian furloughs, Army officials said Friday.


Cooper won't block ACLU's NC gay marriage ban case (AP) — A legal attack against North Carolina's constitutional ban on same-sex marriages is taking shape after state Attorney General Roy Cooper's office said Friday he would not oppose adding that challenge to an existing lawsuit.


Cooper 'will not oppose' expanding lawsuit to include NC marriage ban (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Attorney General Roy Cooper will not oppose an amendment to an existing case that would allow the ACLU to challenge North Carolina's ban on gay marriage. To move forward, the amendment must be approved in court.


NC Lawmakers Take Center Stage In Student Loan Debate (WUNC-FM) -- The issue of rising interest rates on government subsidized student loans wasn’t a topic on most people’s minds until about a year ago. That’s when President Barack Obama stepped onto the stage at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Memorial Auditorium and “slow-jammed the news” with late show host Jimmy Fallon.


Federal grant to aid whirligig park (Wilson Times) -- U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield announced that Wilson will receive a $75,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that will promote economic development.


Veteran Asheville police officer files complaint (AP) — Two veterans with the Asheville Police Department have filed formal complaints with a federal agency voicing concerns about leadership.


Event to remember Zeb Alley set for 6 p.m. Tuesday (Raleigh News & Observer) -- A celebration of life will be held for lobbyist Zeb Alley on Tuesday evening. The event for Alley, who died on Thursday, will be held at the NC State University Varsity Club at Hillsborough Street at 6 p.m. Alley, a former legislator, will be laid to rest next Saturday in Waynesville.


Lobbyist, former NC senator Zeb Alley dead at 84 (AP) — A former state senator from the North Carolina mountains who later became one of most prominent lobbyists at the Legislature has died.


NC State Fair book adds information for 2013 (AP) -- The book which provides information for competitions at the North Carolina State Fair has some new information as the 2013 event approaches.


Raleigh mayor's media coordinator seeks 'racists' on Twitter (Raleigh News & Observer) --Nancy McFarlane's campaign media coordinator, Logan Smith, runs a Twitter account called "Yes, You're Racist" that reposts comments he deems racist. His efforts have made international headlines.


N.C. firefighters to return home by the weekend (Charlotte Observer) -- Firefighters in the North Carolina Air National Guard who left on Sunday to help battle Arizona wildfires should be able to come home by this weekend, according to a statement from Lt. Col. Robert Carver, spokesman for Air Expeditionary Group.



Film industry has spent $250 million in N.C. so far in 2013 (Wilmington Star-News) -- Halfway through 2013 the film industry has already spent more than half of what it did last year in North Carolina.


Report says N.C. film industry strong at mid-year–but can it match 2012? (Port City Daily) -- Television and movie productions in the Wilmington area figured prominently in a positive report issued Thursday on the state’s filming industry.


TWINKIES RESURECTED? Hostess plant in Rocky Mount poised for new ownership (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Flowers Foods has received permission to acquire several bread brands, depots and bakeries formally operated by bankrupt Hostess Brands, including a Merita bread bakery in Rocky Mount.


Carolina Panthers T-shirt confuses 2 Carolinas (AP) — The people who print Carolina Panthers T-shirts for Nike apparently could use a geography lesson.


U.S. Marshals, local law enforcement arrest 47 people in joint operation (Port City Daily) -- The U.S. Marshals Service Violent Fugitive Task Force led a multi-agency operation this week that targeted fugitives and verified locations of registered sex offenders in the area.


Chaperone charged in sex crimes led Bible studies (Wilmington Star-News) -- Stanly County man is accused of coercing four boys to strip naked during card games at a youth church camp.


Police report: Hairston got rental from 'Fatts' (AP) — P.J. Hairston, North Carolina basketball's leading scorer last season, told police on the night of his June arrest on a drug charge that he was given the rental vehicle he was driving to visit friends in Atlanta, according to a detailed police report.



After 30 years, a new advocate for utility customers (Charlotte Observer) -- The state agency that stands up for utility customers, the Public Staff of the North Carolina Utilities Commission, has its first new executive director in 30 years. Christopher Ayers was appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory and began a six-year term on July 1, supervising a staff of about 80 people. He succeeds longtime director Robert Gruber, who retired.


Drinking from the firehose, Chris Ayers settles in with NC consumer advocate (Charlotte Business Journal) -- Chris Ayers, the new executive director of the Public Staff of the N.C. Utilities Commission, recused himself from this week's hearings on Duke Energy.


Group frustrated as Duke Energy rate hike hearing ends (Charlotte Business Journal) -- Hearings on Duke Energy Carolinas’ proposed 5.1% rate hike ended Friday with the state’s customer advocate defending the proposal


Sudden Spike in Gas Prices, but Increases May Be Short-Lived (New York Times) -- Gasoline prices have been rising, mainly because of higher global crude prices that have been gaining because of Egyptian and Nigerian unrest.


N.C. judge's widow upset over absence of rip current warnings (Wilmington Star-News) --Beth McLean eventually wants to be an advocate for lifeguards and flags.


NC judge's widow wants rip current warnings (AP) — Beth McLean had just greeted her husband, a judge who was finally off work and able to join the family vacation at Sunset Beach.


Court Strikes Down EPA Delay on Biomass Power Plant Standard (Wall Street Journal) -- A federal appeals court on put pressure on the EPA to move quickly on a rule that addresses carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants that burn timber and agricultural waste to generate electricity.


Ideas to Bolster Power Grid Run Up Against the System’s Many Owners (New York Times) -- A fragmented system, with conflicting interests, poses hurdles for improvements that the past three presidents have called a priority.


Climate bus tour brings message to Asheville (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- Local communities like Asheville have taken significant strides to address climate change, but it will take serious action at the federal level to get the job done. That was the message from speakers as the 'I Will Act On Climate' bus tour stopped at Pack Square Park on Friday to promote alternative energy sources and other measures to limit carbon pollution.


'Act on Climate' bus comes to town (Greensboro News & Record) -- Group gathers to talk about climate issues when the “I Will Act On Climate” bus tour stops in Greensboro.


New Study To Research Local Hurricane Evacuation Behaviors (WUNC-FM) -- A new survey will gather information about coastal residents' attitudes and behaviors regarding hurricane evacuations. For the next month, local and state emergency officials will be conducting phone interviews to find out how residents react to evacuations and how to better implement emergency practices, like transportation and sheltering decisions. The study is being conducted for North Carolina Emergency Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District.


Smokies tourism rebounding, still trails 2012 (AP) — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park says visits are up since a major road has been reopened.


Dwane Powell: Sleazy riders and the abortion bills (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Here’s this week’s Dwane Powell offering.



Getting put down: North Carolina, PETA and a thing called hope (OHMIDOG Column) -- In the course of just one week, the New York Times has badmouthed both my home state (North Carolina) and the animal rights group that most entertains me (PETA). But then what would you expect from the liberal news media? In the case of good old N.C., the Times, in an editorial entitled “The Decline of North Carolina,” pointed out that Republicans — in control of the legislative and executive branches for the first time since Reconstruction — are systematically destroying the state’s tradition as that rare southern state that had some compassion for the “least fortunate.” In the case of PETA, a Times article last week focused on how, despite our country’s movement toward no-kill shelters, PETA — though they say they do it in the name of compassion — continues to put down dogs and cats at its Norfolk shelter at an alarming rate, about 2,000 a year, with only about 1 percent of those who enter getting adopted from shelter. PETA is an organization that does much good, generally loudly, and with dramatic flourishes. North Carolina is a modest state full of quiet wonder. I love them both, in different ways.


McCrory lashes out at ‘very liberal worldview’ (New York Times column) -- The North Carolina I’m leading today is on a powerful comeback. After just six months of problem-solving leadership and making the tough decisions that we were elected to do, there is significant movement on vital reforms to tax policy, energy, education, economic development and transportation. While it may not be apparent to the very liberal worldview of The Times, North Carolina’s new focus on reform is paying off.


McCrory breaks his promise on abortion (Charlotte Observer) -- On Friday, N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory reneged on his promise not to allow further restrictions on abortions in the state. Yes, he did some fancy footwork, dancing around his broken promise, telling reporters that a “recent House version (of proposed legislation) allows the medical professionals at the Department of Health and Human Services to write the rules which will ensure women’s safety.” And he added that he would still veto a Senate version that opponents said would close virtually all abortion clinics in the state. But McCrory isn’t fooling anyone but himself with this parsing. The House bill varies little from the Senate version other than making a couple of concessions.


Proposed rules are about cutting abortion access, not protecting women (New Bern Sun Journal) -- It's difficult to ignore the similarities between Republican legislators and their Democratic predecessors. Both seem to have perfected the art of sneaking controversial provisions into bills without prior notice to the public. The latest example is a bill that would impose regulations on abortion clinics that only one now meets, making abortion inaccessible to many women in North Carolina.


McCrory all wrong (Robesonian) -- At times of great tumult, great leaders lead, not gratuitously make things more tumultuous. North Carolina would be in a better place today if Gov. Pat McCrory remembered that. He needs a good dose of Rudyard Kipling and his definition of what it means to be a man: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,” the British poet wrote in 1910. “If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too…” McCrory has not been able to keep his head when others are blaming him, and while he surely trusts himself, he’s not making allowance for his critics’ doubting, too.


The Ninja Governor (Greensboro News & Record column) -- To hear him tell it, it is a myth that Gov. Pat McCrory has not engaged “Moral Mondays” protesters in Raleigh. … Could the governor actually slip in for a while, be “cussed out” and then leave relatively unnoticed? Does he moonlight as a ninja? Did Scotty beam him in and then quietly beam back to the bridge of the Enterprise? Taking Gov. McCrory at his word, let’s assume he was there. Then he ought to stay engaged. And going forward, perhaps do it in a manner that the rest of us would actually know he was there.


McCrory Should Draw the Line (Southern Pines Pilot) -- Gov. Pat McCrory has an opportunity to show some backbone and help get our beloved state back on the right track — instead of the wrong one it has been roaring along on for too long, giving itself a national black eye in the process.


McCrory should make Moral Monday claim true (Wilson Times) -- As political truth-stretching goes, it’s not as salacious as Bill Clinton’s denial of his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky or as consequential as George W. Bush’s claim


Protesters, lawmakers need a dialogue (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- For a year in which there has been no giant disaster inside our borders (knock on wood), no inflated swing-state importance and no Tar Heel celebrity chef saying something hateful and stupid, North Carolina sure is drawing a lot of attention these days. The New York Times this week published an editorial that highlighted some of the goofiness of Raleigh in 2013 – everything from the state’s rejection of federal unemployment benefits to Gov. Pat McCrory’s “no thanks” to federal Medicaid expansion to the N.C. General Assembly’s attempt to push abortion restrictions into the lives of everyone – even over the protests of McCrory. … The Moral Monday protesters have benefited from the national spotlight. But now that they have everyone’s attention, it’s time to put that leverage to good use. Stop blocking access, and open good-faith talks with Tillis and other legislative leaders. Surely, a conversation is better than a standoff – no matter which side you’re on.


North Carolina's tax-cutting program is broken (Fayetteville Observer column) -- North Carolina's tax-cutting program is broken. We must reform it at once.


'Anti-Shariah' bill clumsy and dangerous to all people of faith (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- One of the great virtues of American law is that it allows people to incorporate their religious faith into their most personal affairs. This "freedom of contract" is thus intertwined with America's freedom of religion.


Tea Party Group Responds To NC Protest Movement With 'Marxist Mondays' Song (Facing South) -- As another Moral Monday protest got underway this week at the North Carolina General Assembly with musicians getting involved, a tea party-affiliated group known for its campaign against nonexistent voter fraud offered its own song for the occasion. Someone owes The Bangles an apology. (7/8/2013)


North Carolina as the new Wisconsin (Reuters column) -- North Carolina, a state traditionally associated with Southern hospitality, college basketball and barbeque, is bucking its genteel reputation this summer as state politics reach fever pitch. “Nowhere is the battle between liberal and conservative visions of government fiercer,” wrote David Graham of The Atlantic, “than North Carolina.” NBC Political Director Chuck Todd cited Graham’s piece as “a good argument that the best — and most important — political story that no one has probably heard about is taking place in North Carolina.” … Like Walker in Wisconsin, McCrory and the North Carolina state Republicans inherited a budgetary mess from their Democratic predecessors. Rather than raising taxes, and bleeding more revenue from the private sector, as was standard operating procedure under decades of Democratic rule, these Republicans changed course — putting spending in line with revenues. This is what North Carolina voters elected a new Republican majority to do. Liberal pundits will try to portray what is happening in North Carolina as dysfunction. But it is the opposite. Washington politicians and political commentators bemoan the lack of compromise there. If they want to see what compromise looks like, however, they should watch Raleigh — where Republicans are now compromising on how much tax relief to provide and how best to cut government waste. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill would be wise to take note.


NC Redistricting Decision Setback For Voting Rights (Facing South) -- A three-judge panel has ruled that North Carolina's GOP-drawn voting districts should stand despite charges of gerrymandering. What does it mean for voters of color -- and for voters in general?


State House committee wrong to stop WSSU from buying stadium (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The state House Finance Committee acted wrongly Thursday when it halted Winston-Salem State University’s plan to buy Bowman Gray Stadium from the city of Winston-Salem. We join WSSU officials in hoping that the plan will be restored when the House and Senate reconcile the bill affecting it.


Expansion of food stamps a concern, but don’t slash benefits for needy (Wilmington Star-News) -- Of all the government social programs, this is one that most directly addresses the hunger that still persists.


ACLU right to test NC’s same-sex marriage amendment (Raleigh News & Observer) -- The American Civil Liberties Union, in what should not be a surprise, is going after North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban.


Fracking offers energy potential (New Bern Sun Journal) -- President Barack Obama was right when he conceded recently that the boom in U.S. natural gas production is both good for the environment and good for the economy.