Saturday News: The blind leading the senseless


BURR: TRUMP HAS TO BE 'SHARP ON HIS MESSAGE' (Winston-Salem Journal) -- U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., spoke Friday on a number of hot-button issues, including this week’s presidential debate as well as a recent report highlighting his ties to energy companies and criticism from GOP circles in Washington about the apparent timing of his re-election campaign launch. Burr, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Democratic opponent Deborah Ross are nearly tied in recent polls.

Republican calls for deregulation should be ignored

Corporations are already out of control:

“You have regulations on top of regulations, and new companies cannot form and old companies are going out of business. And you (Hillary Clinton) want to increase the regulations and make them even worse. I’m going to cut regulations.” Even as Donald Trump’s words were echoing in the Hofstra University auditorium Monday night, outraged members of Congress – Democrats and Republicans -- had been grilling pharmaceutical and banking executives over bilking American consumers.

Friday News: Untrustworthy leadership

BAIT & SWITCH CONFESSION: MOORE SAYS HB2 ‘DEAL’ WASN’T FULL REPEAL (AP) -- The North Carolina House leader says a state law restricting LGBT anti-discrimination rules may not have been fully repealed even if Charlotte leaders had agreed this month to pull back their city ordinance that led to House Bill 2. Moore's comments raise questions about how realistic a proposed compromise was to end the months-long fallout over the law.

Will NC Republicans have to pay the piper in November?

Thomas Mills reads the tea leaves:

The business wing of the GOP keeps touting the modest economic gains North Carolina has seen while desperately trying to turn the conversation away from the damage the GOP has done to our national reputation. It’s not working so far. People aren’t feeling that much better about their economic circumstances, but they are aware that the rest of the country thinks something is wrong with our state—and that perception has been caused by Pat McCrory and the Republicans.

Yep, and no matter how vehemently Republican leaders try to blame Democrats (or the Liberal media, or activist corporations, or sports franchises), the responsibility inevitably is placed on those in charge. That's how politics works: When bad shit happens, incumbents better update their resumes.

Emerald Isle conflict and the Public Trust Doctrine

One man's freedom is another man's loss of freedom:

State Superior Court denied the claim in 2014 and granted a summary judgment for Emerald Isle. The Nieses also lost their appeal in November 2015. The state Court of Appeals, in unanimously affirming the judgment of the lower court, delivered a robust defense of the public trust doctrine.

Thursday News: Burr gets a lump of coal money

NC SENATOR WHO CHAMPIONS FOSSIL FUELS GOT THEIR MONEY (McClatchy Newspapers) -- With checkbooks in hand, executives from the embattled coal mining industry converged last year on the remote Olde Farm Golf Club near southwest Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Unlike in 2010, when golf legends Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player played the elite course in Bristol, Virginia, to raise money for homeless kids, the beneficiaries of the gathering on June 10, 2015, were two political allies of the coal industry: Republican Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania.

More research on habitat loss from wood pellet industry

Stronger regulation is desperately needed:

The region was recently designated a global biodiversity hot spot, and according to one of the papers, the use of biomass for energy hinges on its sustainability. Minimizing overall loss of forests and biodiversity and maximizing the area of habitat have been suggested as criteria for sustainable bio-energy production.

“Results from the scenarios we examined suggest that simultaneously achieving the best outcomes for these sustainability criteria under a single biomass production future may not be possible,” according to the report. However, there may be a middle ground. To avoid the negative effects on critical habitats, restrictions on biomass harvesting in longleaf pine and bottomland hardwoods will be necessary.

Bolding mine. As is very often the case with studies emerging from NCSU, the agriculture industry is given the benefit of the doubt on sustainability initiatives. In this case, researchers assume they're going to re-plant new forests wherever they harvest, so there won't be a "net loss" of forestland. I disagree, vehemently. There is little evidence of that, on a large-scale, anyway. With that understanding, those words "will be necessary" above carry even more weight. Enviva needs to leave those longleaf pines and bottomland hardwoods alone. But since they've already developed a taste for those precious trees, the only way to stop them is to make it illegal. And as for their claims of sustainable operations:

Wednesday News: Fletcher's fall from grace


STATE SEN. HARTSELL INDICTED ON CAMPAIGN-RELATED COUNTS (AP) -- A longtime North Carolina state senator was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges stemming from allegations he spent more than $200,000 in campaign funds over nine years for his personal benefit.

HARTSELL ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING, MAIL FRAUD AND WIRE FRAUD (Charlotte Observer) - The Concord Republican faces federal and state charges related to his campaign expenditures and reports.


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