NC GOP

Gun-toting pig-farmer arrested trying to enter Congressional office building

You're not in South Carolina anymore, Toto:

U.S. Capitol police arrested a 59-year-old Camden, S.C., man Wednesday as he tried to enter a congressional office building with a loaded 9mm Ruger handgun in his bag. Officers discovered the weapon as they stopped Ronald William Prestage at about 9:20 a.m. as part of a routine search of visitors at the Rotunda entrance of the Cannon building

He was charged with carrying a pistol without a license and taken to the Central Cell Block, a facility of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department. The State newspaper, a McClatchy publication in Columbia, S.C., reported that Prestage is a veterinarian, hog farmer, and president of Prestage Farms in Camden.

Well, that's one approach to lobbying reform. But it's kind of hard to write legislation when you've got a Ruger stuck in your ear. Prestage is also (big surprise) a deep-pocketed GOP donor, which earned him a seat on North Carolina State University's Board of Trustees:

Coal Ash Wednesday: about those fish...

Why leaving the vast majority of the coal ash in the Dan River is dangerously negligent:

Most species of aquatic insects live in the sediment, collecting, filtering, and grazing upon minute particles of food. Nothing goes to waste down there, not even the arsenic and selenium from coal ash. Heavy metals get lodged into the tissues of any insect that eats them. When minnows eat the insects, they consume the toxins. Larger fish get toxins from every minnow they eat. As you climb higher in the food chain, the amount of arsenic or selenium you find multiplies progressively. This process is called biomagnification and it has impacts on a food web from bottom to top.

NC's Department of Public Health has lifted its recreational advisory (they have yet to post the press release on their website, but I will link to it when they do), telling people it's okay to swim and fish in the River. But they're apparently still advising people to not eat the fish they say it's okay to catch. Which is a contradiction I'm still trying to wrap my mind around. Anyway, back to the science:

More skeletons crawl out of McCrory's dirty campaign money closet

From a federal grand jury indictment almost a year ago:

The 29-count indictment charges Boggs Paving Inc., Carl Andrew Boggs, III (a/k/a Drew Boggs), 49, of Waxhaw, North Carolina; Kevin Hicks, 42, of Monroe, North Carolina; Greg Miller, 59, of Matthews, North Carolina; Greg Tucker, 40, of Oakboro, North Carolina; John Cuthbertson (a/k/a Styx Cuthbertson), 68, of Monroe; and Styx Cuthbertson Trucking Company Inc., of Wingate, North Carolina; with conspiracy to defraud the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, money laundering conspiracy, money laundering, and wire fraud for a scheme that lasted more than 10 years and involved more than $87 million in government contracts. All the defendants except Greg Tucker are also charged with mail fraud.

And McCrory can't claim he doesn't know this particular crook, because it appears Drew Boggs actually hosted a reception for the soon-to-be Governor:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

We'll start today's entry with a complicated issue:

Quite possibly too complicated for our current leaders:

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.

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.

Racism by any other name

Minority voters are impacted the most by NC's voter suppression laws:

While there is no dispute that “the overt racism of the 1960s is largely a thing of the past,” it is also true that in far too many places affected by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision voiding a critical section of the Voting Rights Act, racial discrimination continues to flourish.

One of the indignities of discrimination is the insistence on simply reducing it to “feelings.” But it is a matter of fact, not perception, that all of North Carolina’s voting provisions disproportionately affect racial minorities. Whether local officials are “shocked” by allegations of racial motives is beside the point.

Exactly. It doesn't (or shouldn't) matter if the intent of the law was to marginalize minority voters, and it also shouldn't matter if that intent can be proved legally. The facts on the ground are what matters, and those facts are disenfranchising a segment of our voting population. And it shouldn't be a partisan debate. These are Constitutional rights we're talking about, no matter how much propaganda and twisting is being done by those who would limit those rights for others.

90% of coal ash remains in Dan River after Duke Energy "completes" cleanup

If this is what they call "success," one would hate to see them fail:

Since the operation began on May 6, approximately 2,500 tons of coal ash and river sediment have been removed from this location. Crews and equipment were staged at Abreu-Grogan Park in Danville for the past three months.

The company previously completed removal of ash and sediment from water treatment facilities in Danville and South Boston, as well as from locations in the river at the Dan River Steam Station and Town Creek, two miles downstream from the plant. More than 500 tons of coal ash and river sediment were removed from these areas.

Do the math. A low-end estimate on the spill had some 39,000 tons of ash released, and this combined 3,000 tons removed included an unknown quantity of non-ash sediment. What's left in the river could be closer to 95%. And the General Assembly wants to give Duke Energy "more flexibility" in the cleanup/relocation of all the other coal ash ponds?

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