NC GOP

The eminent domain faux-Libertarians don't want to talk about

When for-profit energy companies take your land:

Property owners in Henderson and Polk counties are learning about the limits on their rights to control the property they own and to control what happens to the hillside they view from their back porch.

When electric power lines and pipelines are needed for the public use and benefit, the state of North Carolina grants private companies the right to condemn the property necessary for their projects. So when Duke Energy provides a case that the increasing use of electricity in Western North Carolina justifies the installation of a new power line from South Carolina leading up to Asheville, they are granted the ability to condemn the property along a selected route for the transmission line.

While the issue of government exercising eminent domain to secure land for the general public's transportation and utility needs is complex, and not suited to across-the-board declarations of right or wrong, the hypocrisy of "property rights" advocates on the right is neither complex nor justifiable. If elected officials overreach they can be removed from office, but the general public has no recourse when corporations are granted the power to take property. And when those conquests result in profits, the perpetrators are usually rewarded, sometimes to the tune of millions in salary and stock options. True Libertarians would be horrified by that, but corporate puppets wearing a Libertarian mask? Crickets.

In defense of NC's wildly successful Solar tax credits

It's foolish to even consider stalling this engine:

The Tar Heel state ranked fourth nationally for total solar electric capacity and ninth per capita, according to a new report by the Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center. State House lawmakers used the report Thursday as a launch pad to talk about the potential freeze to North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and the hangup in the budget over extending renewable energy tax credits.

Rep. Pricey Harrison, a Greensboro Democrat, said clean energy is an “economic success story” for the state. “It’s not time to cut it off,” she said. Nearly 23,000 North Carolinians are employed in the clean energy industry, Harrison added. “These jobs, businesses, investments in new revenues are at stake right now as the House and the Senate debate budget provisions,” she said.

Ten years ago, we used to get excited about a couple of hundred kilowatts of Solar PV being added to the mix, but in 2015 North Carolina will bring online 76 megawatts of Solar power in the 2nd Quarter alone. It's no longer a boutique-level "novelty" for the well-to-do to show off to their friends, it's grown into a baseload-providing system powering hundreds of thousands of homes. It's not on the drawing board, folks. It's a reality. And the last thing we need to do is screw around with the formula.

Too little, too late: NC GOP's film incentives shell game

Happy talk won't put these pieces back together:

Ted Davis has declared North Carolina’s film industry “officially back open for business.” The state representative’s statement–made after lawmakers reached a $30 million compromise on the N.C. Film Grant Program–was preceded earlier this week by news that a TNT pilot is set to shoot in the Port City next month.

Senator Michael Lee would agree. “I am pleased that my Senate colleagues, after much negotiation, have agreed to increase the funding levels for this important program,” he said. “While there is still much more that can be done, today is a victory for both our region and our state.”

A victory? The only "victors" in this embarrassing series of blunders are the State of Georgia and the anti-government nut-jobs at the John Locke Foundation. We've sent a clear message to not only the film companies already engaged in North Carolina, but also those who might have considered shooting here, that we are simply not mature enough to maintain a stable environment for their business. Aside from slashing film incentives and chirping about what we "might be willing to spend," the fricking budget is two months late already, and negotiations are not promising. Two months of uncertainty in the film business, especially when you've got television schedules to consider, is a project-killing nightmare. And for Davis and Lee: The people in the Wilmington area know the Republican Party caused this nightmare. You might want to update your resumes.

Drunk-driving county commissioner indicted again

But it's okay if you're a Republican:

Rockingham County Commissioner Keith Mabe was indicted Tuesday on alcohol- and traffic-related charges from two separate incidents. This is the second time this year that a grand jury has indicted Mabe on alcohol-related charges.

In March, a grand jury returned indictments against Mabe on charges of driving while impaired, possession of Valium and possession of paregoric in connection with a 2014 accident.

There's nothing quite like a double-dose of opiates to mellow out that alcohol buzz. Sheesh. No wonder he drove through somebody's yard. If that's what he considers "being a public servant," I'd hate to see what he'd get up to if he really didn't care...

Art Pope's continuing attempts to manipulate UNC's curriculum

And he's not above deploying a trouble-making college student to get what he wants:

Alec Dent, an incoming freshman at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, made headlines recently for an article he wrote for the conservative website The College Fix in which he claimed the school was offering a seminar titled "The Literature of 9/11" that "sympathizes with terrorists" and "paints [the] U.S. as imperialistic." Dent apparently did not take the course or read the books but appears to have based his opinion on Amazon book descriptions for a limited selection of its readings.

The younger Dent penned a blog post for the Pope Center back in July titled "Freshman orientation: conform or be cast out" about an interactive theater experience that addressed diversity and inclusivity. He describes the skit's topics – racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism – as "cardinal sin(s) of the liberal perspective" and takes a potshot at affirmative action while portraying white men as victims.

Pope's obsession with steering more courses (and maybe even an entire school) to the admiration and perhaps glorification of Western Civilization is nothing more than White Supremacy, albeit with a scholarly and intellectual flavoring. The truth is, Western Europe was rather late to the civilization game, and its respect for the arts and sciences could never compete with its bloodlust and unquenchable thirst for hegemony. And it appears Pope and many of his GOP buddies are still stricken with the horrific lack of vision that plagued their medieval heroes.

McCrory's naive and costly "Branding" initiative

Tying a ribbon on a tyrannical, short-sighted, destructive, anti-social pig:

This Labor Day weekend, approximately 1.5 million North Carolina residents will travel our state highways and can see elements of the initiative, which include a new state logo and tagline, on more than 75 billboards across the state. It also is being used in a variety of print, broadcast and digital marketing materials, and on several state websites and social media. To view the new look, please visit www.nc.gov.

“In an increasingly competitive environment, it’s crucial for North Carolina to articulate at a glance all we have to offer,” said N.C. Governor Pat McCrory. “The new look and messaging are reflective of the people and the assets that make this state such an inspiring place to live, work and play. North Carolina has great momentum and will be even stronger with support of a brand that pulls everything together.”

We've already been engaged in branding since the GOP took over back in 2010. Here's a short list of "elements of the initiative" that have made national news: An aggressive war on women with an anti-abortion centerpiece, voter suppression efforts targeting minorities and college students, anti-LGBT steps that include amending the state Constitution, harsh measures taken against the poor and unemployed, the reversal of environmental protections that a flood of coal ash couldn't stop, mounting evidence that our Legislature is reliant on ALEC and the Koch Brothers to craft our laws for us, a teacher migration that's leaving our school systems scrambling to hire new teachers that don't exist, and a Governor that has so many unethical skeletons in his closet he could field a lacrosse team with them. Doubtless I've left out several embarrassing points that would also keep people and businesses from relocating or vacationing here, but suffice it to say some billboards and commercials aren't going to "fix" our image problem.

The disingenuous faux-Libertarian attack on renewables

Ripping up the astroturf:

The attack dogs in this war are funded by Koch Industries and include Americans for Prosperity, American Energy Alliance and the American Legislative Exchange Council. They frame their attacks as a defense of the free market and fiscal conservatism. Yet even a cursory examination of their positions reveals they’re not defending the free market but attempting to protect the fossil fuel industry from competition.

Not sure if this Conservative's opinion signals a movement growing or is simply an anomaly, but the fossil fuel industry's actions are blatantly obvious. Harnessing clean, renewable energy resources like Solar has been a wildly popular idea for decades, and now that we're finally seeing a massive surge in installations, any pushback on that is liable to carry a heavy political price. One can hope, anyway.

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