The Phil Berger Memorial Bridge

After much traipsing around in North Carolina state parks, Jane and I finally discovered this spectacular span, one of many that should be tagged with the Phil Berger moniker. Mr. Berger's budget for the year ahead represents a 24% cut in the state parks budget, which means there will be many more naming opportunities ahead. Thanks, Phil!

Foxx gets caught in the fraudulent for-profit college henhouse

Fruit from the contaminated tree:

Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit "educational" special interest that has been busted for defrauding students (and the general public), has long had its tongue on Congresswoman Virginia Foxx's private parts. Open Secrets lists Corinthian Colleges among Foxx's biggest contributors. They've held fundraising receptions for her for several years.

Aside from the unsettling mental image I'm dealing with from that less-than-oblique oral sex reference, Jerry deserves several back-pats for taking on the unholy task of monitoring Virginia Foxx and her greedy supporters. We really need to spend the time and money to send her packing from Congress. Or test all the water wells in her Congressional District. Something is wrong with those people...

NC's wildly successful REPS law under attack

And big surprise, Mike Hager is leading the charge:

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard, called REPS, was the first in the Southeast when lawmakers adopted it in 2007. The law says utilities have to generate increasing amounts of energy from the sun, wind and organic wastes, or from energy efficiency. It set an ultimate green-energy target of 12.5 percent of retail sales by 2021.

A bill sponsored by two chairs of the House Public Utilities committee and Majority Leader Mike Hager cuts that target by half. It makes the final target 6 percent, this year’s benchmark, and ends the mandate in 2018.

Most of you are probably aware of what our Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard is and what it does, but for those who aren't, I talked about this on our radio program five years ago (about the 18 minute mark). The program was already working well back then, but I wouldn't have dreamed it could be where it is today. In a time when most government programs fall well short of their original goals, to tear down one of the few that actually works the way it's supposed to is just plain stupid. And so is smothering this kind of needed rural revenue:

Daily dose: The truth hurts edition

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McCrory gets defensive after Obama’s comments about N.C. public schools (WFAE-FM) – Democratic President Barack Obama’s lament about the declining state of education in North Carolina drew a defensive reaction from Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. "This used to be the state in which the promise of education was understood at the state government level and the reason North Carolina did better economically than many in of the other Mid-Atlantic and Southern states was because of the Research Triangle and the emphasis on education." Obama said. That comment drew the ire of McCrory, who’d spent the day in Washington asking members of Congress to allow oil and gas drilling closer to the state’s seashore and beaches. "I was disappointed to learn that the President used a portion of his quick visit today to unfairly and incorrectly malign our education system," McCrory said in a press release, citing last year’s teacher pay increase – that, in fact, hiked pay for starting teachers but left most teachers with little or no pay increase.
http://wfae.org/post/potus-pitches-mommy-bloggers

Taxes, the Price of Civilization

Those pesky, liberal universities are at it again, as a doctoral thesis reveals that Americans don’t mind paying taxes after all!

In national surveys, over 95 percent of Americans agree with the statement, “It is every American’s civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes,” and more than half see taxpaying as “very patriotic.” One man from Ohio called it a responsibility to “the Founding Fathers.” A former Marine said taxpaying is “the cost of being an American,” while a man from California said tax avoidance is the equivalent of “shorting the country.”

More proof that charters are resegregating NC classrooms

And more embarrassing national media exposure:

The most recent cautionary tale comes from North Carolina, where professors at Duke have traced a troubling trend of resegregation since the first charters opened in 1997. They contend that North Carolina’s charter schools have become a way for white parents to secede from the public school system, as they once did to escape racial integration orders.

“They appear pretty clearly to be a way for white students to get out of more racially integrated schools,” said economics professor Helen Ladd, one of the authors of the draft report released Monday.

The sad and frustrating thing is, Republicans in the General Assembly probably think that's a legitimate desire for white parents to have, and the government should actually help them to achieve it.

Whitehurst steps up

Taking a stand isn't that difficult. Especially when it's the right thing to do. Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat in Raleigh, North Carolina has now voiced his concerns regarding divisive legislation heading towards the North Carolina General Assembly. Religious Freedom Laws, as they are currently being portrayed, are nothing more than bigoted attempts at exclusion. While some may suggest that this is a back burner issue in light of recent backlash, it remains in full view of staunch ideology. Whitehurst is direct........

Our business is deeply rooted in the principles of collaboration and inclusion, where people from diverse backgrounds and experiences come together to share ideas, challenge the status quo, and spur innovation. We've seen first hand the impact of this collaboration among diverse groups of people. We cannot see any economic benefit from divisive legislation, and would prefer to see more attention given to issues that would have a demonstrable positive impact on all citizens.

I commend Mr. Whitehurst for speaking out. The Republican controlled North Carolina General Assembly and their continued zest for an improved business climate, should heed Mr. Whitehurst's words.

Tax filing deadline stress-relief thread

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With friends like this, citizens don't need enemies:

The more the Republicans in Raleigh talk about “tax reform,” the clearer it becomes that what they’re pushing isn’t reform at all.

What it amounts to is a haphazard, poorly planned, rather chaotic series of steps designed for one overriding purpose: to win favor with the corporations and wealthy individuals who bankroll legislators campaigns — while at the same time repeatedly undercutting poor and middle-class North Carolinians who can least afford it.

Yeah, if I was really concerned about easing your stress, I probably wouldn't have posted a picture of a lady pulling her hair out by the roots. Most of you are smart enough to have already taken care of this, but for those who haven't: What the hell were you thinking? You're almost out of time, for God's sake! ;)

Coal Ash Wednesday: Duke plays "no power for military bases" card

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"You can't convict us of a crime, because the world will end if you do.":

If Duke Energy pleads guilty to federal criminal violations of the Clean Water Act, will the lights go out at Ft. Bragg, N.C.?. The nation’s largest electric utility raised that possibility in federal court Tuesday, suggesting that a federal law could prevent a guilty Duke Energy from supplying power to military bases and federal facilities in North Carolina.

The issue arose in court Tuesday when the judge referred to earlier motions filed by Duke regarding possible threat to electric power at federal facilities in the state.

They always have an angle, don't they? If Duke Energy put a fraction of the energy they expend to avoid responsibility into operating cleanly and safely, they wouldn't need to be in the courtroom to make this argument.

Faux Twitter accounts to be a Felony offense?

And you thought I was using hyperbole in describing NC's government as a third-world dictatorship:

AN ACT making impersonation of an actual person over the internet for certain unlawful purposes a class h felony.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts: SECTION 1. Article 20 of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
"§ 14‑118.8. Online impersonation.
(a) The following definitions apply in this section:
(1) Credible impersonation. – If another person would reasonably believe, or did reasonably believe, that the defendant was or is the person who was impersonated.
(2) Electronic means. – Includes an electronic mail account, text or instant messaging account, or an account or profile on a social networking Internet Web site in another person's name.

(b) Any person who knowingly and without consent engages in a credible impersonation of another actual person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person is guilty of a Class H Felony. A violation of this subsection is punishable by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

Republicans have cooked up a lot of crazy in the last few years, but this one sets a new standard.

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