Breaking: The end of marriage in North Carolina

RALEIGH - In a shrewd legislative maneuver, Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger today ushered North Carolina into a new post-coital era. The end of marriage is upon us.

"We're letting any public official who wants to opt out of marrying queers do just that," says Berger. "Unfortunately, they'll also have to opt out of marrying anybody else too. But whatever. At least queers won't be getting hitched."

The new law promises to decimate marriage in North Carolina. Magistrates, county clerks, registers of deeds, and everyone else involved in marriages can now say, "Thanks, but no thanks," knowing they have job protection no matter how little work they actually do.

"That's fine by me," says Berger. "I'm all for white Republican Christians getting paid to sit on their asses. It's only darkies that get under my skin."

In response to the action, a spokesperson for the North Carolina ACLU shook her head and laughed. "Here we go again," she said. Extremists passing laws that won't pass any constitutional smell test. So now the state will be spending millions of taxpayer dollars defending this crap in court."

UPDATE: Read the bill itself. And then encourage every public official you can think of to "just say no" in enabling any marriage.

What does it mean to be a good corporate citizen?

I want to like Duke Energy. Really I do. They're a giant company and they could do so much good. In fact, they do do a lot of good. Except when they lie. The Dan River spill was the result of convenient neglect and what should be considered criminal coverup. The risks were created knowingly over decades in concert with a toothless DENR. And now we get a bunch of double talk?

You can't lie and be a good corporate citizen.

My advice to Duke Energy is to come clean. Confess your transgressions and promise to do everything you can to be a better company. Use this as a learning moment. Move us rapidly toward renewables. Embrace citizen producers. Be honest and fair in your dealings. Actually put people before profits. You could do this if you wanted to. And you'd win beyond your wildest dreams. So why don't you?

Coal Ash Wednesday: Friday news dump with Kool-Aid chaser

It's pretty bad when Florida doesn't approve of your behavior:

The country's biggest power company, the parent of Duke Energy Florida, invoked a classic PR move last week by issuing a news release at 4:20 p.m. on a Friday, shortly before the end of the workweek.
That timing often signals something bad has happened that the culprit hopes will get ignored in the weekend crush.

After reading Duke's spin, I felt like I should send flowers to the company for going the extra mile in hard times. But let's skip the Kool-Aid and look at what Duke chose not to acknowledge. Duke's is not pursuing a "proposed agreement" but pleading guilty to multiple environmental crimes — nine violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

All things considered, it is a fairly hefty fine for environmental wrongdoings. The massive TVA spill of a few years before, which released over a billion gallons of coal ash downstream, only cost the TVA $11.5 million in fines and $27.8 million in a class-action suit from affected landowners. But the funny (or not-so-funny) thing about comparing the two is: TVA has cleaned up and properly disposed of between 75%-85% of that 1.1 billion gallons spilled, while Duke Energy left over 90% of their spilled coal ash in the Dan River. One of many reasons their $102 million in fines is simply not enough.

Daily dose: AWOL Tata version

As winter storm snarls N.C. traffic, DOT chief promotes book (WRAL-TV) -- A winter storm that dumped inches of snow across North Carolina Tuesday caught state transportation crews by surprise . But when state Transportation Secretary Tony Tata appeared on CNN Tuesday afternoon, it was to talk about his new military thriller, not problems on the roadways.
http://www.wral.com/as-winter-storm-snarls-traffic-transportation-chief-promotes-new-book/14467992/

Changing horses in mid-stream?

Thanks to NC Policy Watch and Lindsay Wagner for attending today's Education Appropriations Committee meeting and for her interview with Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph).

“They [private schools] are not regulated and we don’t know what they teach there, do we? Do you know?” said Tillman at the conclusion of Tuesday’s joint education appropriations meeting. A proponent of “school choice,” Tillman said he prefers the charter school model over private school vouchers.

Raleigh based organization introduces: The NationBuilder Field Guide

Many of you here at BlueNC may be familiar with the widely used software platform for digital grassroots activism called NationBuilder. For those of you who aren't NationBuilder is a combination CMS/CRM platform that fosters online organizing. Last election cycle North Carolina saw hundreds of progressive campaigns (at all levels) flock to the platform to run the online operations of their committees to elect. What is interesting is that hundreds more non-profits in the state rely on the software everyday.

Daily dose: McCrory can't hide edition

Bad budgets hurt 2016 hopefuls (Politico) -- At the National Governors Association meeting in Washington this weekend, Republican Gov. Pat McCrory said he knows what his counterparts are going through as they put the finishing touches on their budget plans. “You can’t hide as a governor,” he said. “There’s nowhere to hide in a crisis, there’s nowhere to hide during a legislative session, and there’s nowhere to hide regarding just basic leadership skills. You’re in a bubble that’s extremely visible and people are expecting results. “But that’s why we all love the job,” he added. “You hear congressmen and senators go, ‘I hate it.’ I’ve yet to hear a governor say they hate their job … It’s much more difficult … but you can see the results.”
http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/2016-elections-governors-bad-state-budgets-115411.html

SCOTUS plays Dictionary

Will North Carolina ever see the establishment of an independent commission to draw boundary lines for redistricting? Polls say 70% of our citizens would support an impartial effort. But what happens at the Supreme Court Of the US this year may be more important than the bill currently in our legislature. (SB 92)

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