Daily Dose

THE SPILL
Environmentalists Not Satisfied As Dan River Cleanup Ends (WFDD-FM) -- Duke Energy announced last week that it has completed its cleanup of the Dan River following a massive coal ash spill in February. The cleanup operation began May 6, and Duke Energy says that two-and-a-half tons of coal ash and river sediment were removed. The cleanup was monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but some environmental groups are unhappy with the result. Frank Holleman is senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. He says too much of what was dumped into the Dan River is still there.
http://wfdd.org/post/environmentalists-not-satisfied-dan-river-cleanup-ends

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Public meeting on the CTS-Asheville superfund site July 29th

If you can make it, please turn out to support the folks struggling with this man-made catastrophe:

Concerned citizens in south Asheville and the greater Buncombe County area are invited to attend an informational meeting about the contaminated CTS site on Tuesday, July 29th at the T.C. Roberson High School auditorium from 6:00 to 7:30 PM. This meeting, entitled “The Road to Cleanup,” will provide the latest technical information on the contamination at the CTS site, outline steps necessary for immediate cleanup action, and allow a forum for residents to ask questions of technical experts and the EPA. The meeting is hosted by POWER Action Group, an Asheville-based non-profit advocating for a comprehensive cleanup at the contaminated CTS of Asheville Superfund site.

One drawback to the focus of regional news outlets is people in the Triangle are often unaware of what's happening in the mountains, or vice-versa. One of our long-standing goals at BlueNC is to shorten the distance between regions, to bring our readers stories they might miss from their local paper. And this is a big one:

The puppet and his master doth protest too much

Denying the blatantly obvious:

“He drives the budgetary policy goals of the administration,” said one Republican lobbyist in town who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order not to anger either man. “The governor yields to Art. His real power, his influence in state government, is really having that turf all to himself.”

“My job, my role, my goal is not to influence and direct the governor,” Pope said emphatically. “My job is to analyze, to provide advice, facts, what the alternatives are. I present the information, and the governor decides.” McCrory said Pope defers to him, while often catching mistakes in the calculations made by state departments and legislative staffers. “We need more nerds like him in state government,” McCrory said.

The proper term is "wonk." Somebody who can explain how Senator Palpatine subverted the Republic's form of government is a nerd. But you know, Pope isn't just a wonk, either. A wonk usually writes or translates legislation for somebody else, without putting his or her influential twist on the language. That should be called "wanking." Making Art Pope a wanker.

Daily dose

A sad day, regardless of party affiliation:

Rep. Fulghum dies after ongoing cancer treatments (WRAL-TV) -- Rep. Jim Fulghum, R-Wake, has died, according to a statement from House Majority Leader Rep. Edgar Starnes.
http://www.wral.com/rep-fulghum-dies-after-ongoing-cancer-treatments/138...

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Tillisberger the defendants

Apparently the Tillisberger's jobs program consists of full employment for the lawyers defending the many lawsuits filed against the NC GOP's unconstitutional laws.

It's hard to keep track, but Tillisberger is being sued for at least:

  • School vouchers;
  • The voter suppression law (with plaintiffs including at least the US Department of Justice, ACLU, NAACP, League of Women Voters and college students and other individuals);
  • The marriage oppression law;
  • The unconstitutional legislative building rules; and
  • Teacher career status revocation.

Add to that list the possum torture lawsuit. PETA has filed suit again, this time over the new law that Tillisberger passed in response to the previous lawsuit.

Chronicling NC's great Republican tax shift

The only thing trickling down is the tax burden:

Adding salt to the wound is the state-imposed utility tax, which went from 3 percent to 7 percent as of July 1. The tax increase comes from Raleigh’s effort to protect a threatened minority (wealthy people and large corporations) and redistribute wealth (from the lower and middle classes to the wealthy).

Gov. Pat McCrory takes credit for that. He got a 2 percent cut in individual income tax and even larger cut in corporate state income tax, and said “other taxes have gone up to make up the difference. It was tax reform with a move to more of a consumption-based tax. You pay tax on a newspaper now, lawyers have to pay tax, there are a host of other new or increased consumption taxes and we closed up a lot of loopholes.”

Remember that the next time your Republican lawmakers say they cut your taxes.

Even if they do remember most of the Republicans' base is afflicted with the "Democrats did it too!" method of rationalization. And usually they're screaming that from under the bus their heroes have placed them.

Daily dose

Creative response to a created crisis:

“POETRY IS NOT AN EXPRESSION OF THE PARTY LINE.” – ALLEN GINSBERG
All the world's a poet: Laureate flap inspires more verse (Raleigh News & Observer) -- We asked readers to send poems responding to the uproar that ensued when Gov. Pat McCrory, who didn’t go through established channels, chose a relatively unknown poet from Fuquay-Varina as the state’s poet laureate. Valerie Macon has since stepped down. Here is a sampling of those poems: PAT IN THE HAT -- There once was a governor named Pat/ Who put on his own stupid hat/ When appointing a poet/ He didn’t quite know it/ The state has a system for that. WARM EMBRACE -- When art’s left to our politicians,/ It’s subject to noxious conditions./ The state’s warm embrace/ Can become a disgrace/ And displeasing to academicians.
http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/07/18/4015028/all-the-worlds-a-poet-no-...

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We are pleased to announce that Our Incorporation is complete

Greetings and salutations to one and all. The new day has arrived.

Only a few weeks after Our immaculate conception, we have been born anew, heralded and certified by the Secretary of State, with a host of rights and privileges Our human counterparts can only dream of enjoying.

We give you James Protzman, LLC, DBA James, Inc.

Be it hereby proclaimed, the date of July 11, 2014, will go down in Our history as a momentous and transformational beginning, the day We evolved to obtain those inalienable rights granted exclusively to Corporate Persons in the United States of America and in North Carolina.

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Yes, we do care that the Tillisberger wastes tax dollars

It costs an estimated $50,000 per day to keep the NC general assembly in session. Tillisberger is keeping the NCGA in session much longer than estimated, and much longer than necessary, as they argue about who should suffer pain so that teachers can get a pay raise. So far, the potential pain recipients they've considered include old people, blind people, kids, disabled people, teacher assistants, school nurses and the teachers themselves.

They have not considered slightly reducing the extreme comfort level of Art Pope and his wealthy friends.

As lawmakers continue to snarl at each other over the state budget in the July swelter, predictions that the state House and Senate would wrap up their summer session by the end of June look laughably optimistic in hindsight.

$50,000 per day. For every day of the NC GOP legislators' theatrics, ten teachers could get a $5,000 raise.

Say what?

From Our Esteemed Economist Laureate at NC State:

So how will North Carolina finish 2014? As with the nation, I predict some broad economic gains. Production and jobs will increase, and more companies will become confident about the future. The unemployment rate could dip below 5 percent in fast-growing areas like Asheville and the Triangle. Yet there will be plenty of economic gaps. Many of the jobs created will be low-paying, and most workers will see little or no gain in their hourly earnings. Many people will still have to accept part-time work even though they want to work full-time. And the economic improvement won’t be spread evenly across our state. Several areas will still have jobless rates of 7 percent or higher.

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