Under the dome

This movie has been banned in China. Sort of like the words "climate change" have been banned in Florida. Sort of like "science" has been banned in North Carolina. Ah well. All the banning in the world won't stop the disastrous impacts humans are having on our planet.

McCrory's ethical troubles continue

If you're following the ethical trials and tribulations of our hapless governor, you already know that he's not smart enough to fill out a disclosure form that thousands of others have managed to complete just fine. But "not smart enough" is just a red herring. The truth is, McCrory has been trying to cover up his ties to special interests (most notably, Duke Energy) throughout his career. What most people don't seem to understand is that Duke Energy simply paid Pat McCrory to run for governor for more than a decade. His only job was glad-handing and ass-kissing.

WHAT: Progress NC Action files second ethics complaint against Gov. McCrory
WHEN: Monday, March 9 at 10:30am
WHERE: State Ethics Commission, 424 North Blount St., Raleigh

From Progress NC's press release:

RALEIGH -- Progress NC Action will file a second formal ethics complaint with the State Ethics Commission on Monday morning, further outlining Gov. Pat McCrory’s pattern of deceptive omissions of clear conflicts of interest from his ethics forms. As the complaint shows, Gov. McCrory has failed to properly disclose a number of luxury hotel stays at partisan political conventions which were paid for by the Republican Governors Association. These summits were held behind closed doors at some of the country’s most luxurious and expensive hotels, with unknown corporate donors. Despite Gov. McCrory’s repeated claims that he filled out his Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) forms correctly, the governor now admits that he should have disclosed the trips as gifts.

McCrory’s admission that he should have disclosed the gift of luxury hotel stays comes after he failed to report ownership of Duke Energy stock after the Dan River coal ash spill, and his failure to report over $185,000 in income from Tree.com during his first year as governor in 2013. McCrory made more money from Tree.com in 2013 than he did as governor.

Progress NC Action will file the second complaint around 10:30am Monday at the State Ethics Commission in Raleigh. The group will also deliver more than 11,000 petition signatures asking Gov. McCrory to allow the Ethics Commission to make its investigation public.

Daily dose: Tata data version

Where’s Tony? (Keep up to date with A.J.) -- Will there be a Tour T-shirt? Here’s where N.C. Transportation Secretary Tony Tata’s been, and where he’s going to promote his new novel: Chicago, IL – Pritzker Military Library, Feb. 24; Quantico, VA – Quantico base exchange, Feb.27; Arlington, VA – Henderson Hall base exchange, Feb. 28; Fayetteville, NC – Airborne and Special Operations Museum, March 7; Fayetteville, NC – Barnes & Noble, March 7; Raleigh, NC – Quail Ridge Books & Music, March 8; Raleigh, NC – John Locke Foundation, March 9; Jacksonville, NC – Camp LeJeune base exchange, March 13; Havelock, NC – Cherry Point base exchange, March 14; Virginia Beach, VA-Barnes & Noble, March 21.

Editor's note: At first I thought this was a joke, but it's a real promo thing. And a joke, though he doesn't know it.

Pay to play Pat

Even with the leading "Deputy Assistant", the title "Governor" is wholly inappropriate for Pat McCrory. He doesn't govern; all he does is perpetually campaign.

There's the daily stream of spin, lies and propaganda, but perhaps the most disgusting of Pat's behaviors is his near constant fundraising. He knows the people with the cash, and he'll do most anything to get them to give a lot of that cash to him.

Creating a budget for the state of North Carolina is one of the most important acts of governing.

Senior citizens suffering under GOP tax shift

Picking the shallow pockets of the elderly:

Murry Bubar was shocked this year when he did the taxes for his ex-wife, as he always does, and found that she owed $104 under the new system.

His ex-wife, Barbara Bubar, is 79, blind and lives in the Alzheimer’s unit of an assisted-living facility. Bubar’s income from Social Security amounted to $9,300 last year. “This is the first time in years she has had to pay any state taxes,” Bubar said. “Her medical bills are more than her income.”

By all rights, this shameless exploitation of older North Carolinians should prove to be the undoing of the GOP, since this demographic votes in numbers and usually a high percentage choose Republican candidates. But old habits are hard to break, especially for the Fox News viewers who have a fresh anti-Obama scandal shoved down their throats daily. Speaking of somebody who needs something shoved down his throat:

Daily dose: Marching backwards edition

On the Selma Anniversary, These North Carolina Activists Will March Backwards (Mother Jones) -- Activists, politicians, and luminaries from across the nation will flock to Selma, Alabama, this weekend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the nonviolent voting-rights march that was undermined by police-sanctioned attacks, presaging the passage, six months later, of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But this year's events, which include a reenactment of the fateful march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, are shaping up to have a more activist edge than past commemorations. Some black leaders, such as North Carolina NAACP president Rev. Doctor William Barber II, will use the day to highlight the assault on black voting rights in the wake of a 2013 Supreme Court decision that rolled back a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. Rather than make it across the bridge, Barber and his delegation plan to turn around and march back toward Selma.


It was a strange coincidence, but when the N&O changed servers, my letter-to-the-editor disappeared. It's back with a new URL.

Paula A. Wolf: Dollar takes low road in ripping Nichol

03/03/2015 1:01 PM 03/05/2015 5:40 PM

I was deeply troubled by Rep. Nelson Dollar’s March 3 letter “Nothing to show.” It was shockingly rude and inappropriate.

GOP cherry-picking data to block wind energy projects

Skvarla's replacement carrying the banner for the fossil fuel industry:

North Carolina’s environment secretary has urged a federal agency not to sell wind energy leases within 24 miles of the state’s coast, a limit that advocates say would largely block wind farms.

Van der Vaart’s letter said the two zones near tourist-heavy Wilmington deserve similar protection. He said studies commissioned by New Jersey found significant declines in tourism when energy projects can be seen from shore.

Here is the study itself, with the relevant impacts to tourism data beginning on page 29. As you can see, their perusal of available literature on wind farms worldwide show minimal negative impacts to tourism, and some areas claiming a massive increase due to the visibility of wind farms. Additional specific (NJ) site polling and projections show a net gain in tourism dollars, but you have to actually finish reading the tourism section before you get to that conclusion. If this is the study to which Van der Vaart is referring, his comment and position reflect either a serious lack of scholarly capabilities, or an intentional desire to misuse data. Or maybe both. But no matter how you look at it, his qualifications as head of DENR are in question.

Daily dose: Cause and effect edition

McCrory administration proposes permits to let Duke pollution to continue (AP) — Duke Energy could legally leak pollutants from some of its coal ash dumps under new wastewater permits proposed Friday by North Carolina regulators.

Next N.C. governor's race looks close (Charlotte Business Journal) -- Attorney General Roy Cooper, the presumed Democratic nominee, is, in the early going, proving to be a close contender against incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory. Even so, McCrory, a Republican and a former Charlotte mayor, enjoys a strong base and name recognition.

Tax cuts hurt education

"Duh!", you say...of course tax cuts hurt education. Not according to the NC GOP, of course, and they're doing their best to make sure that everyone hears their propaganda. But one voice recently spoke truth to power.

John Tate of Charlotte ended his 12 years on the State Board of Education on Thursday with a speech criticizing state tax cuts he said hurt public education.



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