Coal Ash Wednesday: A fait accompli for Lee County

County Manager breaks the bad news:

If residents want to see who voted to place coal ash in Lee County, go to the North Carolina Legislature’s webpage and pull Senate Bill 729 from the 2014 session. Make sure you see who sponsored the bill. They are the ones who developed the plans to place coal ash in clay mine pits in North Carolina. Because Lee County is the clay/brick capital of North Carolina, the bill gave Duke the right to place coal ash in the county without approval of the local government.

A vote to move forward on the recent financial agreement offered by Duke is not a vote to put the coal ash in Lee County – that already was done by the legislature, just like fracking. A vote in favor of the agreement is to accept money from Duke that will hopefully help the community overcome the stigma of having a coal ash storage facility. Voting against the agreement will mean we won't get the money and coal ash will, in all likelihood, come anyway.

My initial reaction to this op-ed was to say, "It ain't over 'til it's over." Republicans in the General Assembly might consider themselves all-powerful, but the courts so far have shown that feeling to be mistaken. Several of their more outrageous moves have been delayed, blocked, or simply ruled unconstitutional. That being said, I'm not the one trying to manage a county on what has to be a shoestring budget. And he's right about the legislation he referenced:

Daily dose: McHenry's S&M fetish edition

McHenry, Scalise Go Forward, Move Ahead With ‘Whip It Good’ PAC (Roll Call) -- When the House Freedom Caucus comes along, you must whip it. When a close vote’s held open on the floor too long, you must whip it. Whip it good. These might not be the actual words to the infamous 1980 masterpiece by Devo, but GOP Reps. Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina and Steve Scalise are welcome to borrow from HOH’s mediocre parody lyrics when touting their new fundraising operation, which is named for the song’s seminal refrain. Over the weekend, the majority whip and chief deputy whip launched a joint political action committee called “Whip It Good,” which will raise money for their respective congressional campaigns and leadership PACs.
http://hoh.rollcall.com/scalise-mchenry-shape-it-up-start-whip-it-good-pac/?dcz=emailalert

Partisan School Board Elections

Representatives from Onslow and Forsyth want to make the elections to every local school board in the state into partisan elections. HB 324, filed by

Phil Shepard and George Cleveland, Onslow Repubs, and Donny Lambeth and Debra Conrad, Forsyth Repubs, will have all school board candidates, statewide, run with a party affiliation. If there are more party candidates than available seats on the board, there will be primary election to determine who will run.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Why worry about substance when empty rhetoric is so readily available?

The Affordable Care Act already does those things, and does them so well people like you are forced to talk about some nebulous other program that will supposedly eclipse it. It's time to find a new monster to fear, because Americans have outgrown this scary bedtime story.

Daily dose: Taking Tata to the woodshed edition

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Fox's Gen. Tony Tata (Raleigh News & Observer) -- N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata has cashed in trading on his status as a retired Army brigadier general. Despite no significant experience in education, Tata was hired as superintendent of Wake County schools. That didn’t end well. Tata gained a reputation for bullying staff and couldn’t get the buses to run on time and left with $250,000 in severance pay. Soon after he landed his current post. Upon announcing Tata’s appointment, Gov. Pat McCrory said that despite Tata’s lack of experience with state transportation issues, he had run complex operations as a general. Tata is working his one-star again on FOX News. The public learned all it needed to know about Tata’s judgment of military leadership when he publicly declared that Sarah Palin would be a better commander-in-chief than Barack Obama.
http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/editorials/article16130225.html

GOP jobs plan: Take your "Sleepy Hollow" somewhere else

Wilmywood fading into film industry obscurity:

Fox Television Group chairman Dana Walden had previously told the StarNews that if the show was renewed for a third season, it would move production to the Atlanta area in the wake of North Carolina’s new grant program that caps the amount of money projects can earn at $5 million.
Industry members say $5 million is considerably less than the 25 percent rebate of total spending the show got for each of its first two seasons.

According to several local crew members, people who worked on the show in Wilmington may have opportunities to apply for jobs whenever and wherever it resumes production. As of now, however, nothing is confirmed.

Cue the right-wing Twit brigade to proclaim: "Nobody is losing their jobs! They can keep them if they want to!" If they want to move to Atlanta, that is, where there are tens of thousands of unemployed and underemployed workers that will be scrambling to take those jobs away from the NC folks who do go there. Gee thanks.

Daily dose: Pledging racism and misogyny edition

N.C. State Suspends Fraternity for Offensive Notebook (Inside Higher Ed) – N.C. State University has suspended the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and banned alcohol at fraternity events (except those of historically black fraternities) after the discovery of what appears to be a "pledge notebook" with offensive statements. Among the quotations in the notebook: “if she’s hot enough, she doesn’t need a pulse” and “that tree is so perfect for lynching.” A man who answered the phone at the fraternity house referred questions to the national fraternity office, which issued this statement: “These statements are inconsistent with the values of Pi Kappa Phi and will not be tolerated.”
https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/03/23/nc-state-suspends-fraternity-offensive-notebook...

Wild gourds

Hi everyone.

This Monday (23rd) from 5 to 7 in Chapel Hill, SallyMack Home will host an opening reception for her newest vendor ... me! It's a grand experiment to see if some my stuff in her wonderful store might add up to something fun and noteworthy. I'm donating my proceeds to the North Carolina ACLU. Prices range from $3 to $300. I hope you'll come by to see us. Jane is out of town, and this social sort of thing is not one of my strong suits, as you well know. Here's a link to the Facebook event.

More lies from the master himself

And this time McCrory's lying to the US Congress:

Gov. Pat McCrory was in sync with this talking-points paradox Monday when he testified before a U.S. House committee in Washington. McCrory’s budget proposal depends on $475 million in increased gas tax revenues that will be available only if the legislature adopts the Senate plan or something similar. But when he spoke about the state’s need for more transportation money, he touted the legislature’s push for a short-term gas tax cut.

“I just supported an effort … to reduce the gas tax,” McCrory told the House committee, pumping his hand in a palm-down gesture to emphasize the point. “I supported an effort to stabilize the current funding source that we have now.”

Call it what it is, Bruce. It's not a "paradox," it's an outright lie. A lie that started with Phil Berger in the NC Senate and has now made its way to Washington, DC. And the reason such a blatant falsehood has made it so far is because our media outlets can't bring themselves to challenge Republican leaders for their casual twisting of the truth. It would be funny if it wasn't so ominous.

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