Daily dose: Clear as mud edition

Duke's coal ash warning late, lacking for North Carolina? (Greensboro News & Record) -- As the night wore on last Super Bowl Sunday, water plant operator Steven Johns’ world grew progressively scarier. The fixes in his chemical toolkit weren’t working against this new invader that threatened the Danville water supply. As Feb. 2 gave way to Feb. 3, Johns kept shaking his head while turbidity readings that normally signify dirt, bacteria and other nasty stuff zoomed ever higher in the future drinking water that his plant was drawing from the Dan River. “All the books I read and all the classes I went to — not a word about coal ash,” Johns said at the plant last week. “I had to find out on my own.” Happily, Johns teased out the solution and helped spare his city’s water supply any ill effects from the coal ash spill that began earlier that Sunday at Duke Energy’s retired Dan River Steam Station just across the state line. He did it using a tool that Virginia officials received from Duke Energy, a tool their counterparts in North Carolina didn’t get that day: a clear understanding that coal ash had been released in potentially troublesome amounts and that public water supplies might be at risk.


Clay for North Carolina NC2 & Lisa Baker (NC 36) listen & discuss policy with open minded GOP & unaffiliated voters

As a busy, but aware and concerned mom living in NC, I have my heart in many good and continued awareness initiatives this year.

2014 being one of the most important mid term elections since 2010 where we have the ability to make it a turning point to come together with common ground, because in one way or another all policy being passed effects all families. It was not too long ago where I was a voting Republican by virtue of being raised in an active, but moderate GOP public school household.

Esquire Magazine takes NC to task over private school vouchers

And it's fitting there's a Banana Republic banner ad running across the top of the story:

The legislature in the newly insane state of North Carolina had the brilliant idea of shoveling public money into private schools. Perhaps in an attempt to keep James Madison from spinning at 300 rpm, a state superior court judge named Thomas Hobgood went upside the legislature's melon in a big way.

You will be shocked, I know, that the fine hand of ALEC was behind this turkey, and that Thom Tillis, the current Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate who has moved into a small lead over Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan, thinks the program was just a swell idea. And you will also be shocked, I know, to learn that the judge concluded that education "reform" legislation was essentially based on a scam. The grift goes on. I'm sure, somehow, this is the fault of the teachers' unions.

Okay, it's "Robert" Hobgood, and North Carolina doesn't have a teacher's union, it's an association. But other than those things, I second your "insane turkey" observations.

Daily dose: Stagnation edition

‘CAROLINA COMBACK’ OR ‘NORTH STATE STAGNATION?’ -- There’s hardly a road-side vegetable stand or machine shop that opens in North Carolina these days that Gov. Pat McCrory and his Department of Commerce don’t seize the opportunity for a news release or ribbon-cutting to announce new job creations. It’s seemed McCrory announces new jobs in the 10s or 20s while South Carolina announces them by the thousands. In the two years that McCrory’s been in office, even with the tax cuts enacted specifically to attract more industry and jobs, the number of new jobs announced has dropped 17 percent; the new job project inquiries dropped 16 percent; new projects announced dropped 8 percent; and total capital investment in new and expanded businesses has dropped 56 percent. Many of those in the Commerce Department who’d been involved in business recruitment in the previous administrations have been dismissed and not taken on by the new private enterprise that has taken over the state’s job-hunting efforts. It appears to be a high hill for the new enterprise to climb, not only making up for the ground lost the last two years, but also dealing with making up for jobs, in a variety of sectors including new energy and films, that will be headed elsewhere because of the elimination of various tax incentives and state assistance.


McCrory takes Al's coal ash challenge!


Did you know our government doesn't allow gay and bi men to donate blood?

There is so much work to be done for LGBT equality beyond just fighting for marriage equality. Marriage equality is incredibly important to the emotional, financial, familial, and political equality for so many LGBT couples and it is something I've written about here often over the years. But it's not the only LGBT equality issue out there.

One way to mentally divide up the struggles the LGBT community faces is into those that actively ban gay people from participating, those protections that are missing under the law, and then just the hearts and minds battle to have truly lived equality.

From the Ethics Omission


Daily Dose: TGIF edition

Hagan says coal ash bill doesn't go far enough (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan says North Carolina’s new coal ash regulations don’t go far enough in cleaning up Duke Energy’s toxic waste ponds. Her opponent, state Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis, said the legislation would make the state a leader in dealing with the byproduct of burning coal for electricity. He said it would “help safeguard our water for future generations.” Hagan, a Democrat from Greensboro, said the state should require ash from every pond be placed in a “leak-proof area,” something the new law does not do.

Sierra Club: Coal ash bill falls short (Salisbury Post) -- N.C. Sierra Club response to final passage of S 729, Coal Ash Management Act: The legislature (Wednesday) gave final approval to the Coal Ash Management Act of 2014, a complex measure that for the first time regulates coal ash like other wastes but also undermines a court ruling that would have required immediate cleanup of coal ash. … Unfortunately, final changes to the conference report intended to protect against ongoing groundwater pollution at 10 sites do not go far enough to address a major issue that must be resolved to protect N.C. residents and communities.


Josh Stein's wrap-up of the legislative session

Received via email:

The 2013 – 2014 Legislative Session finally adjourned last night. The budget and Medicaid were two of the biggest items to be addressed during this legislative session, yet we are leaving with a budget that is unsustainable and without action on Medicaid. I am pleased, however, that we did enact bipartisan legislation to clean up the 33 coal ash ponds in North Carolina.

This session, the legislature unfortunately impaired our ability to grow economically in the future by damaging public education and our universities and rejecting the federal expansion of health insurance for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.

I voted against the short session budget because it harms North Carolina, primarily in education and health care.

App State not to have early vote site

The State Board of Elections (BOE) met this afternoon and part of their agenda was discussion on early vote sites in Watauga County. Although the final vote broke down almost as expected, 4-1, against a site on campus, some of the arguments are worth noting.

Watauga Democratic BOE member, Kathleen Campbell, was represented by Bill Gilkeson. He is from the law firm Bailey & Dixon, retained by the Watauga County Voting Rights Task Force, on behalf of the Watauga County Democratic Party.

Bill Aceto, Republican board member was present as was the BOE directory Jane Ann Hodges.

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