NC GOP

Tillis stages a love-in for Goldman Sachs

Yeah, sure, just a bunch of little guys helping out:

"I feel like sometimes I'm living a reality TV version of Atlas Shrugged," Tillis quipped during the confirmation hearing for Jay Clayton, Trump’s nominee for chairing the Securities and Exchange Commission. "There are a lot of people in this Congress that want to beat down job creators and employers. People want to demonize Goldman Sachs. That’s an easy thing to do, right? Just beat up on a financial services institution. An institution that’s committed to, let me look at the general numbers here ― they have 36,500 employees. There’s probably a lot of little guys in there. They’ve contributed billions of dollars to nonprofits.”

In order to understand why Tillis would put on such a show, you need to understand the man himself. He didn't dream of becoming a powerful elected official, that's just one of the steps in his Plan B. He really wanted (and still wants) to become a high-roller in the investment, banking, and finance realm. When he tried it before he realized he just didn't have the money or fame to pull it off. You need one or the other to sucker people into giving you their accumulated wealth to play with, and Tillis is almost there right now. And I doubt he has the patience to wait another six years to cash in, so 2020 is the launch date. Take a look at the dude he's cheering on for SEC Chairman:

GOP leaders floating "religious freedom to discriminate" legislation

Alternate title: "Let the zealots take care of teh gay problem":

N.C. House Democratic Leader Darren Jackson says Republicans want to include “religious freedom” language – similar to a controversial Indiana law – in legislation repealing House Bill 2. Jackson posted several images of the proposed legislation on Twitter Wednesday. “Since the speaker wouldn’t share with his caucus, I figured I would share the bill they are discussing,” Jackson wrote.

The proposed legislation Jackson posted is labeled “Religious Liberty,” and says that anyone whose “Constitutional exercise of religious liberty and rights of conscience has been burdened ... by an action of the state” can sue the state or any state or local government agency involved.

"Rights of conscience has been burdened"? And they call us snowflakes? And for those reading this who don't think such lawsuits would ever materialize, that nobody would sue a municipality for passing a non-discrimination ordinance or other protections for LGBT folks, think again. And remember the conspiracy that had Republicans in half of NC's counties filing unsubstantiated complaints of voter fraud in an effort to de-legitimize the Gubernatorial Election. These idiots are just waiting for an opportunity like this, and such challenges would allow Republican leaders to dodge any consequences for their stances.

Vinroot uses faulty data when promoting diversity of charter schools

Masking the reality of state-sponsored segregation:

“I am very much concerned,” says state Rep. Rosa Gill, a Wake County Democrat and former high school math teacher who sits on the N.C. House of Representatives’ education committee. “I think when our legislators have false information, we come up with legislation that is not in the best interest of kids.”

To make his points, Vinroot relies on free or reduced lunch data in charters. By most estimations, that’s not a fair assessment, experts say, pointing out less than a third of the state’s charters participate in that program.

But I'm sure the public school haters in the General Assembly will eat it up with gusto.

About that whole "Let's reach out to Trump voters" thing...

The North Carolina Democratic Party is in the midst of a building season; organizing precincts, preparing for county conventions, settling in with a diverse new batch of state party leaders, etc. There are also several formal and informal groups putting their collective heads together to try to fashion new messages, reassess priorities, and check boxes we've previously ignored or only paid lip service to. There's a lot of brainstorming going on, and that's a good thing. But I think it's important we keep some things in perspective, and not allow ourselves to chase after people we really don't want to catch, because, as they say, you are what you eat. Follow me below the fold if you want to hear more, but leave the small children behind, because I'm taking the filter (what little there is) off for a few minutes:

Duke Energy to add more carcinogens to already impaired waters

I guess they're not worried about the EPA anymore:

As part of its 2015 criminal plea agreement, Duke Energy admitted that bromide discharged into rivers and lakes from its coal ash operations have caused carcinogens to form in downstream drinking water systems. Some of these carcinogens are so dangerous that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set their health protection goal at zero, meaning that people should not be exposed to any level of these pollutants.

Yet instead of taking responsible action to halt these bromide discharges, Duke Energy is proposing to add even more bromides to its coal ash basins, through changes to its coal plant operations. Duke Energy claims that the additional bromides will reduce emissions of mercury from its smokestacks. The utility is choosing this bromide production despite the fact that other modern, widely-used technologies—such as baghouses—are available to control mercury emissions without causing carcinogens downstream.

It's actually no comfort in realizing this is probably happening all over the United States, in the wake of the Trump admin's systematic destruction of the EPA. Hopefully our new DEQ will be able to bring some relief from the inevitable deterioration of our environment, but they've been cut to the bone also.

Trump's foreign "policy" is both clumsy and dangerous

The Tweeter-In-Chief needs a time-out in the corner:

Trump’s public appearances with Merkel betrayed an awkwardness between the two leaders, including during two widely remarked upon appearances in the White House. In one, the leaders failed to stage a handshake for cameras in the Oval Office, and in another Merkel looked baffled by comments made by Trump during a joint press conference. Before the visit Trump had repeatedly called Merkel’s policies “insane” and a “disaster” for Germany.

Trump’s second tweet accused Germany directly of not paying enough to the security alliance. In a joint press conference on Friday, Trump expressed “strong support” for Nato but reiterated his belief that member nations do not contribute a “fair share”. “Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States,” he said. “These nations must pay what they owe.”

Welp, this is apparently what a whole lot of Americans wanted, a "leader" who speaks his mind, even if what he says has little roots in the truth and will very likely drag us into multiple military conflicts before his next State of the Union address. What Trump doesn't understand could fill a supertanker, but one of those things is this: The effectiveness of NATO as a deterrent has always been the unflinching support of the United States for its treaty partners. If that support is called into question, especially by the US President, the deterrent itself evaporates:

Avangrid takes first step in Kitty Hawk offshore wind farm project

Where there's wind blowing, there's clean power to be had:

Avangrid Renewables won the bid Thursday to lease 122,405 acres off the Outer Banks coast for a wind farm. The company competed against three others before offering the winning amount of $9.1 million, according to a release from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Avangrid Renewables also built a land-based wind farm of about 22,000 acres near Elizabeth City.

Avangrid will have to set up testing towers and other equipment to assess the site before submitting a construction plan over the next approximately five years, including how many wind towers to build and how far apart to build them. The federal government will review the project and hold public hearings before construction can begin.

I am a little concerned that much of the permitting will be overseen by the Trump administration, and no doubt the puppets of the fossil fuel industry will be seeking creative ways to disrupt the process. But we'll be keeping an eye on that stuff, so they better pack more than just a lunch. Here's more about the company and its dedication to environmental stewardship:

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