On the streets of Raleigh NC...

...Of the shining Coal-Ash-Water,
Stood McCrory, the old guvnor,
Pointing with his finger backward,
O'er the water pointing backward,
To the purple ponds of coalash.

Yes, folks, Guvnor Pat is taking nominations for the next Poet Laureate of North Carolina. This time there are a few new criteria beyond Pat's original requirements (Republican, easily controlled person):

Deception at a public forum

Nothing should surprise me anymore, but I confess, this did. It seems so many anti-frackers turned up at the NC Mining and Energy Commission public hearings that someone decided Steps Had To Be Taken.

The Asheville Citizen-Times is reporting:

Homeless men unfamiliar with fracking were bused from Winston-Salem to a state hearing Friday on the controversial technique for extracting natural gas, an effort to bolster a pro-fracking turnout, according to an environmental group and a published report.

Coal Ash Wednesday: "Cap and leak" bill overshadowed by GOP power struggle

Fighting over who gets to rule the contaminated sand box:

But as the proposed law progressed through the General Assembly, McCrory objected to the proposed independent legislative commission that would bar his executive office from any influence over the cleanup of coal ash. Most of the commission’s members would be appointed by the legislature.

He and his counsel wrote strongly worded letters to legislative leaders, warning them that the commission would create useless bureaucracy and could violate North Carolina’s constitution. “We’ve been doing this for years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right,” McCrory said. “I need to raise these questions, not only for the executive branch but for future governors.”

I've been here at BlueNC, looking at state-level politics and policy since 2007, and I've paid particular attention to newly-created boards and commissions. The character of these bodies often gives you a glimpse into what they will do in the future, the direction in which the legislation will lead the state. Strictly from memory (without researching), the power shift proceeded thus:

Tholl-Road Thom meets Lane-Closing Christie in an orgy for over-sized egomaniacs

Big fundraising to-do in Wilmington last night, when the sleaziest governor in America, Chris Christie, showed up to support the sleaziest candidate in America, Thom Tillis. A good time was had by all.

And Christie, who said he couldn't wait to shake hands with all the protesters, quietly ducked out the back door and escaped without meeting a single person.

Birds of a feather, couple a scumbags, whatever. Tillis is toast.

Daily dose: Citizens United Unleashed edition

Hagan holds steady lead in N.C. Senate race (Public Policy Polling) -- Kay Hagan continues to lead by 4 points, with 44% to 40% for Thom Tillis and 5% for Libertarian Sean Haugh. Haugh's impact on the race is waning- since June his support has dropped from 11% now down to this 5% standing. He's also no longer disproportionately drawing supporters away from Tillis- when Haugh's supporters are reallocated to who they would choose between Hagan and Tillis, Hagan continues to hold a 4 point lead at 46/42. Hagan's image is improving some as the election nears.

Heated Battle for Senate Draws Deluge of Outside Group Ads, Dark Money (Wesleyan Media Project) --With prognosticators giving even odds that Republicans will take over the U.S. Senate after this November’s elections, outside groups are taking notice. Almost 52 percent of ads aired in favor of Republican candidates have been sponsored by interest groups, and that figure is 40 percent on the Democratic side. Groups have spent an estimated $97 million on advertising in Senate races this election cycle, which is up from the estimated $78 million spent to this point in the 2012 election cycle. While the volume of Democratic advertising trails the volume of Republican advertising somewhat in races for the Senate, the disparity in the volume of advertising is stark in U.S. House races, where Democrats are being trounced by Republicans. … The race with the highest number of advertisements is in North Carolina, where incumbent Kay Hagen and challenger Thom Tillis face off. Over 44,000 ads, at an estimated cost of $25.2 million, have aired. Remarkably, 80 percent of the ad airings were sponsored by outside groups. It is a pattern that repeats in many of the most competitive Senate races: Interest groups sponsored the majority of the advertising.

The other most important race in North Carolina: Robin Hudson for Supreme Court

Everyone who's paying attention knows that control of the US Senate rests with the election here in North Carolina. Moderate Kay Hagan has her hands full with extremist Thom Tillis, a race that is being covered to death by media around the world. The stakes couldn't be higher.

And yet they are. Because there's an equally important election for the North Carolina Supreme Court, where Justice Robin Hudson is up against the dark lord, Art Pope. Having already acquired the legislature and the governor's office, Mr. Pope would have absolute control over the future of North Carolina with a hand-picked NC Supreme Court.

The recent retirement of Chief Justice Sarah Parker has left Robin Hudson as the highest-ranking woman in the entire NC court system. In addition, she is the senior Democrat on the NC Supreme Court. With her seat, justice truly hangs in the balance.

There is only one way to combat the millions the right wing is pouring into our state. Word of mouth. And no matter how much money you have or don't have, you do have an email list and a voice you can use.

1. A personal note to your friends is a powerful and motivating force. Here's what I'm saying to mine:

Fracking brings jobs, for homeless t-shirt wearers

A new low for the mother frackers fossil fuel industry:

Another 18 or so men sported turquoise-colored “Shale Yes” T-shirts. Some of them expressed confusion about why they were in Cullowhee. A handful removed their shirts or turned them inside out after anti-fracking supporters quizzed them about their knowledge of fracking. One of the men told The Herald he stays in a Winston-Salem homeless shelter and came because he had been told it would help the environment. He said he felt misled. The man, an Army veteran receiving mental-health care, refused to provide his name or additional details, saying he didn’t want any trouble. To prove his story, he fished in his pocket and produced a Bethesda Center For The Homeless business card.

The men who would talk – none were willing to provide their names -- seemed nervous. They asked reporters to close their notebooks when other people approached. One warned another to be quiet. They denied receiving money to attend the hearing.

This was somebody's "bright idea," and that somebody needs to be splattered all over the nightly news and the front pages of newspapers.

McCrory is less creepy than Tillis, but they both have the same baggage

It's not surprising that Tillis wants to cozy up to somebody, anybody, who could possible help burnish his miserable personality. But Pat McCrory? Seriously?

Chris Fitzsimon has a good take on the very odd couple:

But there’s somebody else who is surely watching the Senate battle carefully— Governor Pat McCrory—and not just because of his own political affiliation or his close relationship with Speaker Tillis. The race is in many ways a preview of what McCrory will face in 2016 when he presumably will be running for reelection. Despite his efforts to claim independence from the powerful leaders of the General Assembly—most notably his incessant claim that he is “stepping on the toes of the right and the left”—he has been a willing if not enthusiastic partner of the hard-right agenda of the legislative leadership that is so unpopular.


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