Berryliction of duty

One wonders just what NC Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry does all day. She doesn't go after businesses who break labor laws. Heck, she doesn't even bother following the law that mandates that the state safety panel must meet at least twice per year.

North Carolina Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry has 11 citizens she can rely on for guidance about worker safety issues.

It’s been five years, though, since Berry and her team called them together for a meeting.
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The law is clear: the council “shall hold no fewer than two meetings during each calendar year.”

While Berrry merrily tarries, things get very scary.

Tuesday Twitter roundup

Good leadership means recognizing an opportunity for what it is:

And not what national political campaign advisors tell you that it is. Expanding Medicaid is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do as well.

Daily dose: Justice for Nisour Square edition

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Blackwater guard sentenced to life in Iraqi shooting (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) -- Defense lawyers are vowing to appeal the convictions of four former Blackwater security guards after a federal judge handed down lengthy prison terms for their roles in a 2007 shooting of unarmed civilians in Iraq.
http://hamptonroads.com/2015/04/blackwater-guard-sentenced-life-iraqi-shooting

State perks

To describe the NC GOP as “conservative” is to distort the word into oblivion, especially in the area of the environment. Nowhere is this more evident than in their rapacious stewardship of our state parks.

I am writing this post on a rainy day at the David Crockett State Park in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, one of nearly 59 magnificent state parks in Tennessee. Two days ago, we were in Fort Mountain State Park in Georgia, one of 65 in that state. The day before that, we were at Table Rock State Park in South Carolina, one of 47 state parks in that tiny state.

We had hoped to stay in North Carolina on our trip from Chapel Hill, but the pickings were very slim. Remarkably, our beautiful state has only 40 state parks, and once you get west of Asheville, there are none available for camping. This is a problem that’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Public hearings on Lee and Chatham coal ash dumps

The first is tonight and the second Thursday evening:

The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources will hold two public hearings this week on a plan to allow Duke Energy to move up to 20 million tons of coal ash to two landfills in Lee and Chatham counties. The projects require multiple environmental permits. The hearings will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with sign-up for speakers beginning at 5 p.m.

▪ Monday, Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center, 1801 Nash St., Sanford.

▪ Thursday, Chatham County Historic Courthouse, 9 Hillsboro St., Pittsboro.

It appears there is some conflict within the environmental community over this plan:

Daily dose: Burr's problem with female judges edition

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The Most Ridiculously Long Judicial Vacancies (Huffington Post) -- Here's a look at the worst Senate offenders when it comes to not filling long-vacant judgeships in their home states. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) There's a seat on U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina that's been empty for 3,387 days. That's more than nine years, and it has no nominee. Burr avoided questions from The Huffington Post last year about why he was blocking a previous nominee for the slot, Jennifer May-Parker. His obstruction of May-Parker was particularly puzzling, given that he previously recommended her to Obama.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/10/obama-judicial-nominees_n_7042996.html

Living and dying under Cherie Berry's watch

Sorry, but your death means nothing to us:

Goodson, an Orange County man who spent most of his life cutting and dragging massive logs off vast tracts of land, was missing from the 2013 tally. That March, Goodson died instantly when a log slipped from a machine his boss operated and struck him in the head. State inspectors quickly opened a case, but they stopped before getting very far.

Goodson’s arrangement with his boss, Danny Gentry of Gentry’s Logging, was informal, consisting of a handshake and a wad of cash paid irregularly. In the eyes of state investigators, Goodson wasn’t an employee. An investigator closed the case after determining that Goodson, as an independent contractor, wasn’t in the agency’s jurisdiction.

Just an aside: This type of employment is exactly what Civitas/JLF and other Libertarian groups think would be the best arrangement. No government oversight, no worker's compensation insurance, just a personal contract between worker and employer. And if you die on the job? That's just the free market providing a job opening for someone else. And filtering the reported deaths makes for some good (however fraudulent) PR:

Tarte and his merry band of vigilantes

Badges? We don't need no stinking badges:

“Politely, I take offense to that,” said Tarte, 58, a hunter who said he has gotten three concealed-carry permits in his lifetime. “That’s not the intent in any way shape or form. It’s not people going out looking to enforce law.”

Rather, Tarte said, it would be for people who find themselves in emergencies that law enforcement officers have yet to respond to. “We’ve got so much nonsense going on,” Tarte said. “We’ve got evil people. There’s no possible way police can respond to everything.”

You're right about the nonsense going on...

Daily dose: That's a lotta fancy shirts edition

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Ex-SEANC leader Dana Cope misspent $500K, audit finds (Raleigh News & Observer) -- Former state employees director Dana Cope repeatedly and willfully spent the organization’s money on personal expenses. SEANC says it will work to get the money back and that it has new controls on spending.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article18281918.html

The search for Art Pope

The search committee to find the successor to UNC President Tom Ross has been announced. What characteristics were the Board of Governors seeking in search committee members? Perhaps knowledge of the university system, experience in recruiting top-level academics or knowledge about a presidential search process?

“You like to think that ideologies don’t matter because we’re all trying to find the very best leader for the university system, but in reality you do need a viewpoint of different ideologies in that process,” [Board of Governors vice chair Lou] Bissette said.

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